They say that every day you have a chance to change your life. And I’ve found that sometimes the smallest, most innocuous moments have the power to completely reroute the direction of your future.

For example, one idle Tuesday afternoon back in 2015 a good friend mentioned to me, “I’ve got a book I think you’d enjoy reading as a writer and editor yourself.”

It was a book about motorcycles… Malcolm! The Autobiography. Now I didn’t know a dang thing about motorcycles at the time and I’d never heard the name Malcolm Smith, but I loved to read, so I said, ‘Send it!”

It’s a darn good read, written by Malcolm Smith with Thunder Press Editor-at-Large, Mitch Boehm. As a writer, I appreciated the storytelling and found myself fascinated reading about a man who’d built his life around motorcycles.

Then I read Chapter 6, which is titled simply “On Any Sunday.”

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“As strange as it sounds,” the chapter begins, “I actually came very close to not being involved in On Any Sunday.” I read those words and my immediate question was, ‘What’s On Any Sunday?’

On Any Sunday Malcolm Smith Autobiography

I asked this question of a friend who’d been riding longer than I’d been alive, and I’m pretty sure the question made his brain explode. The answer, “Look it up and watch it now!”

And so I did…and everything changed!

The opening scenes of the movie with men and women, little kids and grandparents, racers and weekend warriors twisting the throttle and having a good time drew me in immediately.

“A motorcycle is whatever you want to make it,” Bruce Brown narrates. “Turn it on and you can give yourself a real thrill.” Not even two minutes in and I was hooked.  

I was captivated by every moment in the film. For an hour and twenty-eight minutes I was transported to a place where everyday people could jump on a motorcycle and leave their cares behind. That appealed to me!

The freedom I saw, especially in the cowtrailing and ending beach scenes with Malcolm Smith, Steve McQueen, and Mert Lawwill, took my breath away because I wanted that…I had to do that! I needed to feel that freedom for myself.

And so I did…and everything changed!

“Brake, clutch, shift, throttle,” says Bruce Brown in the beginning of the film, “just simple coordination.” All that was running through my head the first time I tried two-wheels for myself, although luckily my first ride wasn’t nearly as dramatic as the scene in the film, ha! But it was life-changing!

Without On Any Sunday I’d have never fallen in love with motorcycles, never learned to ride, never made the drastic career change to write about motorcycles and the people who ride them. And I’d have missed out on some of the best friendships.

Pretty crazy to think that it’s been 50 years since On Any Sunday came out – long before I was even born – and yet it’s continued to influence people like me through the decades. At this point, I’ve watched it many times, but it never gets old and I always get goosebumps.

Ever wanted to know all the stories behind-the-scenes of the greatest motorcycle movie of all time? For January our sister publication Thunder Press put out a 27-page feature story celebrating 50 years of On Any Sunday, telling fascinating stories you’ve likely never heard. I’ve loved reading it, and you won’t want to miss it!

Click the photo below to read the full 27-page story on 50 Years of On Any Sunday in the latest Thunder Press issue.

On Any Sunday Thunder Press magazine

Have you watched On Any Sunday? How did it change your life? I’d love to hear about it. Feel free to email me with your best thoughts and stories about the movie at JBurgess@epgmediallc.com.

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