Chrome and Black and Dusty: Robert Pirsig’s Motorcycle Heritage

Paul F. Johnston

Many people know Robert Maynard Pirsig (1928-2017) as author of the iconic 1974 volume Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry into Values (William Morrow, NY). Dedicated reader-riders may even remember that he rode a motorcycle across the Midwest to California and back with his son back in the 1960s. But virtually no one outside of his immediate family members know … Continue reading

The Unbearable Lightness of Crashing to make international debut in Italy

James J. Butler & Charles Austin Muir

James J. Butler and Charles Austin Muir grew up watching stuntman Evel Knievel. Years passed, and they forgot what it was like to follow Knievel’s death-defying motorcycle jumps on television. Then James dusted off his 1990s replica of the 1973 Evel Knievel toy stunt cycle and had Charles capture one of the toy jumps on video. Watching the initial footage, they found something so joyous and ridiculously suspenseful … Continue reading

The Second Life of the Big British Twin? Some Conflicting Signals from the Current Market

James J. Ward

It has been a half century since the death of the large-displacement British parallel twin was proclaimed by a not entirely sympathetic motorcycling press, as one venerable factory after another closed its gates and the industry ceded the future to the seemingly all-conquering multiples coming from the East. Like many obituaries, this one was somewhat inaccurate and somewhat premature … Continue reading

IJMS: A History

Steven Alford & Suzanne Ferriss

In 2000, a PhD candidate in Borderland studies at the University of Texas at El Paso had an idea. Gary Kieffner created the Motorcycling Myth and Culture area for the regional Southwest/Texas branch of the American Culture/Popular Culture conference and posted a call for papers for their 2001 meeting in Albuquerque, New Mexico. A handful of motorcycling scholars … Continue reading

On the eve of the 10th anniversary of the IJMS, the Voice inside my helmet remembers …

Lisa Garber

“You should have known,” mumbles the Voice. It was a fair comment. Sitting in the simmering San Antonio heat, waiting for the shuttle to take me to my hotel, I thought of the man who had referred me to this place and this conference. The smooth talking Texan was my dissertation chair: a professor, poet, Jungian psychologist and a motorcycle rider. I guess I should have known … Continue reading

Conference Cancellation Notice / 5-10-15 Special Summer Anniversary Issue

In response to the COVID-19 crisis, the International Journal of Motorcycle Studies board has decided to cancel the 2020 IJMS Conference and put our efforts into a Special Summer Anniversary Issue of the journal and begin the planning for the 2021 conference. A detailed CFP for the Special Summer Anniversary Issue will be announced in the next month… Continue reading

The Gendered Motorcycle: Representation in Society, Media and Popular Culture

Book Review By David Walton

During the last few years I have had the good fortune of reading (and, in some cases, reviewing) some excellent books on a range of motorcycle cultures. We have seen Randy McBee’s excellent Born to be Wild: The Rise of the American Motorcyclist (2017) which chronicles the subject matter with marvelous scholarly acumen in such a way that it will, I am sure, become a classic in the genre … Continue reading

Rider Self-Reports on the Beneficial Effects of Motorcycle Riding

H. Paul LeBlanc III

Motorcyclists choose to engage in an activity known to themselves, their loved ones and the general public to be risky to health and life. The question for many is why? As a motorcyclist, and a scholar, I am keenly aware of the seeming contradiction between the drive for survival and the engagement in an activity that can result in serious injury or death … Continue reading

An Autoethnographic Exploration of Social Identity and Leadership within a Motorcycle Club

Todd C. Wiggen

Autoethnography is a form of qualitative research in which the researcher utilizes self-reflection to examine their experiences in the context of a greater cultural and social environment. This autoethnographic study provides an in-depth examination of the development and maintenance of social identities within a voluntary association – a military motorcycle club … Continue reading