"Experiencing the complete thrill, of riding down a beautifully stretched mountain road with an engine rumbling beneath you. The feeling of gliding through every twist and turn, totally free and exposed to the forested hills rolling by. Slowly sinking into a trance-like state, completely focused on the line of attack navigating into a banked corner, hugging the inside and then rolling on the throttle, and feeling the bike pull upright as you accelerate out of the turn.
The sensation of screaming down a freeway in the middle of the desert with 110 degree wind pounding your leather jacket, as your concentration is only broken by the solitary move over the yellow line, as you pass an air-conditioned, metal and safety glass box, full with a family of 6 - and then smiling back as a child waves goodbye. There is nothing on this earth like motorcycling."
We are "modern day" motorcyclists in an automobilist’s world. Motorcyclists in the U.S. make up less than 2% of total vehicles on the road. As members of a very small minority, we have noticed a surge in the popularity of this superior form of travel in recent years. However, in response to the "fad" we have also noticed a complete misrepresentation of motorcyclists in general. More often than not, we’ve seen TV shows and articles about "Outlaw Bikers" or the "Hell’s Angels", while we would never dispute the notion that there are some dangerous people who ride bikes, it is far too often overlooked that the majority of motorcyclists don’t belong to either one of those two categories. Doctors, lawyers, teachers, mothers, fathers, filmmakers, and anybody else who likes viewing the world from two wheels instead of through a windshield can be called a "biker".
We are making a film that is a road trip back through the history of this superior sport, to a forgotten engineer and adventurer, Giuseppe Guzzi, brother to the founder of Moto Guzzi motorcycles. We are currently looking for finishing funds for our film, The Search for Giuseppe. We are looking for people who want to invest money, time or services. We can complete the shooting in Italy (September/October) for $35,000. Because the factory is going to move from it’s birthplace in Mandello del Lario, it is essential for us to get there this year. This letter is to explain our project in more detail.
Giuseppe was the brother of Carlo Guzzi one of the founders of Moto Guzzi motorcycles (founded in 1921). As the older brother, Giuseppe was always eager to help Carlo with designing and improving the early Guzzi motorcycles.
In 1927/28(?) while out on a ride with his brother Carlo, Giuseppe’s back tire plummeted into a big hole throwing him off the bike. After dusting himself off he noticed the frame near the rear tire had snapped apart. Using a piece of old innertube to tie the pieces back, he repaired the bike enough to ride it home. On the way home, Giuseppe was impressed by the response of the motorcycle and this sparked the design for his revolutionary rear suspension system.
In 1928, rear suspension on a motorcycle was considered to be unfeasible, unsafe and more importantly on the racing circuit (were bikes are proven and accepted by the public), unpredictable. Inventors and designers, since the beginning of motorcycling in the 1880’s had dreamed of the benefits of a full suspension bike, not only for the riders comfort, but more importantly for better traction and to cushion the engine and mechanical parts from the less than smooth roads of the time. The tools weren’t available for designing a shock absorber (used today) that would be rigged enough for good handling, without side to side movement. Giuseppe’s frame design was 10 years ahead of it’s time, and is still being used on a few motorcycles today.
Above all else, Giuseppe was a motorcyclist who wanted to be out on the road, experiencing new lands and meeting new people. It was a childhood dream of Giuseppe’s to travel to the north cape, the northern most tip of Europe in the Norwegian tundra. The north cape was a popular destination for European adventurers, because of its remote location and absence of any tarmac or cement roads. It still is a challenging journey even today.
We've separated our film, The Search for Giuseppe, into three parts, not consecutive in layout, but woven together, like a winding road. The first part is our recreation of Giuseppe Guzzi's famous "Norge ride" to test out his prototype. We will be using Giuseppe’s diary to film many dramatic, tense, funny, and adventurous scenes throughout the European Continent and at the beginning and end points of his ride in Mandello del Lario, Italy.
Our documentary is about modern day motorcycling Being on the road, exploring new lands, exposed to the elements, it is what Giuseppe represents to both Karen and myself. The second part of our film involves interviews with many European and American motorcyclists explaining why they love motorcycling today. In Europe, motorcycling is considered much more a sport and is well respected, contrasted with the perception it has in America. We want to change this perception that we're outlaws, or loud, or Hell's Angels, with no regard for the rules of the road.
We have been able to show people what it is like to experience riding on a motorcycle through our work. Filming from our 1971 Moto Guzzi, Ambassador, and hearing it’s engine purring under the roaring wind, puts the viewer right into the saddle, as we travel along Giuseppe’s route looking for clues about this reclusive pioneer.
The third part and bridge between the past and the present is the dramatic situation at the Moto Guzzi factory currently. It's the sad thought that nothing good lasts forever, or a company can only get so big before it loses it’s identity. However, we don't plan on focusing on the changes at Moto Guzzi as anyone’s fault. It's more about the fact that in today’s world economy if you want to survive and thrive you have to change. It's sad but maybe true. We will be talking with the old engineers and racers, some of whom still work at Moto Guzzi today. People who have been though a lot of the ups and many downs that has been Guzzi's rich history. We will also film some of the engineers who worked beside Giuseppe where we will hear first hand, what kind of person he was.
Our film, The Search for Giuseppe focuses on being a motorcyclist out on the open road, traveling to new and uncharted views and locations, and meeting people from all walks of life. Giuseppe is a man who represents what we find thrilling, romantic, and possibly religious about motorcycling. Our film is about Karen and I traveling on Italian motorcycles (1971 Moto Guzzi, Ambassador, 1978 Moto Morini Strada) from San Francisco to Northern Italy, the birthplace of Moto Guzzi, to relive some of it’s rich history, and find out about it’s unsure future. It’s about our love of motorcycling and our desire to find out about Giuseppe Guzzi, one of the early pioneers of motorcycling. Who not only wanted to improve the sport, but also and above all else, to be out on the road, meeting new people and seeing new places.
We mentioned at the beginning of this letter, we are looking for money to finish this film. We feel this is a film motorcyclists will want to see, and a film necessary to be finished as soon as possible. We will be flying to Italy with our camera man, Skot Kuiper(1968 Moto Guzzi V700, 1978 Moto Guzzi Lemans), the end of August. Our filming will consist of 50 hours of digital video for interviews and footage shot around town, 6 hours of 16mm film that will be shot from a special mount for the Ambassador, to give the viewer the feeling of riding on two wheels, and another 6 hours of 35mm for the filming of Giuseppe’s world in 1928-29. Our budget is $100,000. We are looking for $35,000 immediately.
Up until now we have spent roughly $40,000 in goods and services on our own filming preliminary interviews, Giuseppe’s prototype, Mandello del Lario and the Factory. We also have film footage of some of the roads Giuseppe traveled on. Last January, we recreated a scene with Giuseppe, designing the frame in his office in 1928. We have a tape that shows what we’ve been able to accomplish so far, which we’d be happy to send to you.
Any kind of enthusiastic involvement is welcomed as we need a variety of things to aid in the production. This could be plane tickets, accommodation arrangements, loaned motorcycles, period costumes, film, video tape, cameras, etc., for an intensive month of shooting in Europe. We will also be shooting a few scenes in Mandello del Lario in mid September to hopefully coincide with the classic bike Raduno, so if anyone wants to be filmed please contact us We know that it is a lot of money, but at the same time, is literally next to nothing for a film like this. We are looking for people who will invest in this documentary (no amount is too little). With our skills and passion on this subject, we are excited about this upcoming shoot and the opportunity to work with a wide variety of talented individuals. You can contact us any time, to hear our plans for the completed film’s distribution or details of exactly what ground we’d like to cover in the upcoming weeks.