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Part of my rigorous curriculum at Motorcycle University is catching up on all that happened before I rejoined the game after a decade or so's absence. This includes watching and reviewing Charge, the movie about electric motorcycles racing at the Isle of Mann TT epic.
Watching Charge was out of of duty
(Two hours later) I fucking love Charge, I love electric bikes and desperately want one. Hell, I was practically crying by the end, the drama was so thick.
I'm not really sure what to rave about more, the movie itself, or the fact that extremely fast electric motorcycles with hairline-retracting extremes of torque, that are purpose-built to draw girls, hold their charge for hundreds of miles, and be recharged thousands of times, are about to make our roads, trails and lives a lot more interesting.
Charge is the handiwork of velocity-fixated Mark Neale of Faster and its sequel Fastest
It follows a handful of teams that show up at the Isle of Man to race their electric bikes in the TTXGP, the Isle's first-ever electric bike challenge. The teams are run by a combo of nutters, dreamers and backyard engineers. Their commitment is extreme.
They work for days on end. They are crushed by failures but fast recover. They shovel fortunes. They fight to stay in it when all goes up in electron smoke. They risk the lot to just complete a lap or two, as much as win. They get laughed at and abused, and themselves laugh along with it, which earns them slow, but ever-growing respect from the Manx petro-guardians.
Narrator Ewan MgGregor starts us off with Michael Czysz and his Portland OR team who are round the clocking it to pull their E1pc race bike together in time for race day.
Then we move to inventor Cedric Lynch, a mostly shoeless Brit who runs engineering for Anglo-Indian Team Agni, and inhabits a universe of eccentric all his own. Mission Motors and Best Buy's Brammo team are also throwing all they've got into the event.
There are so many brilliant moments in Charge
You can actually smell and feel the textures of genius in your soul. The action and fascination factor were so brisk I was constantly rewinding. It was big-history stuff, and you're left with a sense that real innovation has nothing to do with degrees or plush labs or peer review. That it's more an epic ignorance of the possibilities of failure, never giving into common sense and prevailing wisdoms plus no sleep, sex or nice restaurants.
The film also delivers fabulous insights into the kind of people that race the Isle of Man, which has to be about the most delightful way to put your balls on the chopping block since wing-suit BASE-jumping.
See the flick and write me what you think - of it and electric biking as a new force in transport, racing and thinking. We will be sticking hard to this newborn chapter in moto-history as it unrolls.
Behold the trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rogV80QfLYQ
Get some more: http://EatSleepRIDE.com/rider/champers