Stories

Enginethusiast: Reviving the Long Ignored Black Motorcyclist

A Story By

Artilect Studio and CultureLines
45.5202471 N • -122.6741949 W

Enginethusiast is rewriting the narrative of modern motorist culture and reviving the long-ignored Black Motorcyclist.

Motorcyclist-aficionados stretch the breadth of the globe and represent a variety of identities, cultures, and lived experiences. And, between them there is a shared love of throttle grips, ignition switches, foot pegs, and the indescribable vantage point of driving from the cockpit of a cycle.

Vehicles (of the automobile and motorcycle persuasion) and the engines that power them can move us in a literal and figurative sense. They embody the adventure and free spirit that define modern mobility. But, who, by society’s standards, are the flesh-and-blood stewards of that freedom of mobility?

Technological innovation has gifted us the machines to travel with great speed and in impressive style. However, left in the dust of these innovations is the reality that not all Americans have, historically, been perceived as equal participants in the phenomenon of leisurely travel.

In the days of The Negro Motorist Green Book—first pubished in 1936 and last published in 1967—safe passage was afforded to African-American roadtrippers via a portable index of restaurants, barber shops, hotels, and more, where they wouldn’t encounter discrimination (or worse). Armed with this guidebook, their whits, and luck, they set out to traverse their own country.

Fast forward 55 years. We have made strides in rewriting this story, though the arch of equality has much farther to bend. The unfinished narrative of social justice hasn’t stopped Black men and women (as if it ever would) from inserting themselves into the bloodstream of motorist culture. With bold intention, they are making their mark and honoring those who came before them.

And, Enginethusiast is one the brands leading the way in helping to shatter the representation mold. They are reviving the long ignored Black Motorcyclist by putting them front-and-center, in a very authentic way, as their focal ambassadors. The message: Motorcyclist-aficionados stretch the breadth of the globe and represent a variety of identities, cultures, and lived experiences. And, between them there is a shared love of throttle grips, ignition switches, footpegs, and the indescribable vantage point of driving from the cockpit of a cycle.

Motorcyclists, of all creeds, are taken with the violence that only two wheels, metal, and bad intentions can inflict on concrete (or dirt). The sentiment invites us to feel as Fiat Chrysler’s head of design, Ralph Gilles, feels when he describes the emotion of driving, “The street melts away and you’re dancing with the car.” 

Enginethusiast drives home this sentiment of camaraderie (via its magazine, journal, and social media) with flair through stunning visuals, glorious storytelling, and a closely curated online shop of attractive gear and accessories replete with earthy tones. 

Whether they are covering the story of The Desert Race in California, profiling iconic flatrack photography, taking the trip of a vintage car lover’s dreams to Havana, Cuba, tracing the history of funk music (pioneered by greats like George Clinton), or following a travel enthusiast through New York, it all returns to a sense of belonging, in the most intimate sense. It is an invitation, as much as it’s a brand, to widen our aperture to see Black Motorcyclists for who they are: badass bikers, “coolness” personified, and Enginethusiasts.