There are many celebrity motorcyclists, but few who, at one time or another, had strong ties with motorcycle companies, charities, or even their own museum. Here are a few who are serious about the lifestyle.
Mark Wahlberg is an actor and former singer who has starred in many movies including “Ted,” “Ted 2,” “Patriots Day” and “Daddy’s Home.” In 2015 he served as Indian Scout motorcycle brand ambassador for Indian Motorcycle, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Polaris Industries Inc. That year, Indian Motorcycle also launched a limited-edition apparel line called The Mark Wahlberg Collection of T-shirts and tank tops for men and women that, Indian said, “celebrates Americana and incorporates vintage styling and iconic Indian Motorcycle logos.”
Wahlberg, and Indian, have been supporters of the Veterans Charity Ride, a nonprofit organization that uses motorcycle therapy and other programs to provide healing experiences for wounded, severely injured and amputee veterans from all branches of service. (veteranscharityride.org) Indian Motorcycle has also donated to the Mark Wahlberg Youth Foundation, a non-profit organization committed to improving the lives of inner city youth in Boston.
While Indian teamed up with Wahlberg in the past, the Harley-Davidson Motorcycle Company joined forces with Detroit rocker Kid Rock. In 2013, Harley-Davidson’s 110th anniversary year, the company provided exclusive access at Kid Rock tour stops and co-branded merchandise.
Harley-Davidson offered one drawing winner at every one of the 60 planned Kid Rock tour stop sthe chance to join Kid Rock’s band and rock on stage for one song during that night’s performance. Harley-Davidson also developed an exclusive line of limited-edition, co-branded merchandise featuring a line coined by Kid Rock: “I can’t hear you over the rumble of my freedom.”
Another rocker, lead singer Steven Tyler of Aerosmith, launched his own custom motorcycle company in 2007. Called Red Wing Motorcycle, later named Dirico Custom Motorcycles, the company principals were Tyler, his cousin Stephen Talarico and custom bike designer Mark Dirico. The bikes were custom Harley-Davidson’s that Tyler’s company said: “With a 35 percent increase in horsepower to the rear wheel compared to a stock Harley-Davidson, and every inch handcrafted and tailor engineered, they are as hot to (ride) as they are to look at.”
A side note: Aerosmith helped support AMA Motorcycle Hall of Famer Jeff Ward’s 2001 Indianapolis 500 racing effort. The race car of the champion-MXer-turned-race-car-driver was painted in the colors of Aerosmith’s album “Just Push Play.”
Actor Keanu Reeves, known for starring in “The Matrix” series of movies, “The Day the Earth Stood Still” and “Speed” is a longtime motorcyclist who turned his passion into a company. Reeves co-founded ARCH Motorcycle, which makes high-end custom motorcycles to order that start with a price tag of $78,000. The company began after Reeves decided in 2007 that he wanted to customize his own motorcycle. He enlisted the help of motorcycle builder and customizer Gard Hollinger. Once the work was done, the two formed ARCH Motorcycle and offered their first custom machine to the public in 2014. (archmotorcycle.com).
Comedian Jay Leno is famous in the motorcycling world for his extensive motorcycle collection. While singer Billy Joel’s collection of 75-plus bikes can’t rival Leno’s collection, Joel’s can be seen by the public. Joel owns 20th Century Cycles in Oyster Bay on Long Island, N.Y.. 20th Century Cycles doesn’t sell bikes, parts or accessories. It is like a museum, sharing Joel’s collection with the public. (20thcenturycycles.com)
Dee Snider was the lead singer for the heavy metal band Twisted Sister, whose songs include “We’re Not Gonna Take It,” “I Wanna Rock,” “Born to Live, Live to Ride” and “You Can’t Stop Rock and Roll.” For more than 15 years he has put on “Dee Snider’s Ride” to help those in need. The Long Island, N.Y., ride has raised money to fight cancer, to feed the needy and to help prevent birth defects. The ride has averaged about 800 bikes and 1,300 participants each year over the years. He was on “Celebrity Apprentice” and won $325,000 for the March of Dimes. (deesnidersride.com)