'Easy Rider' replica chopper thrill of lifetime for British firefighter who shows it off at Daytona biker rally

The Sunday Conversation / Headline Surfer®
Headline Surfer® video and photos /
Rick Buxton is shown on Main Street during opening night of the three-day weekend Biketoberfest Oct. 24-26, in Daytona Beach, Florida. As many as 75,000 motorcyclists were expected to ride into Daytona, home of the 'World's Most Famous Beach®' and Daytona International Speedway, the latter with myriad attractions catering to the biker crowd. Biketoberfet is actually the smaller of two annual biker tourism events centered in and around Daytona Beach. The 10-day 'Bike Week' in March draws upwards of half a million bikers, making it the largest tourism event here, with Speedweeks culminating in February's Daytona 500 a distant second with 100,000 visitors.
 

Rick Buxton, 58, on his replica 'Easy Rider' chopper at Biketoberfest in Daytona Beach, Fla. / Headline Surfer®DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Bikers have come to Daytona Beach for decades hoping to see someone riding in on that one-of-a-kind motorcycle truly stands out in the crowd.

The head turner.

And there's no better representation than that of the red, white & blue: The Captain America chopper from the 1969 counter-culture hippie biker movie, "Easy Rider," starring Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper and Jack Nicholson.

Rick Buxton, a retired British firefighter has the next big thing -- a replica of the red, white & blue with the fender-less raked-front end as well as the peanut tank and vintage fish-tail exhaust pipes.

The cost? A cool $40,000.

And just like the original, Buxton's replica chopper has a helmet with the stars and stripes affixed to the sissy bar that perfectly matches the flag paint scheme gas tank. About the only real difference between Buxton's replica and the original bike in the movie were rounded handle-bar grips and, of course, a front brake, the latter required by law for safety.

Like countless other, the 58-year-old Buxton said he was  determined to have the replica of the Captain America chopper built after watching the movie at a drive-in back in London when he was a budding teenager.

Buxton, retired after 20 years as a firefighter, has split his time in recent years -- between his homeland across the Atlantic in the summers and winters here in Port Orange and Edgewater.

Easy Rider / Headline Surfer®Photo for Headlin Surfer® /
Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper take a cross country trek across America in search of freedom in the 1969  movie, 'Eay Rider.' What they discovered was far different.
 

And while the movie centers on the counter-culture scene of the late 1960s, with emphasis on hippie communes, dropping out and even "dropping acid" and smoking "grass," which Peter Fonda's character explains to the Jack Nicholson character as marijuana, Buxton said that' not that is not what he's about -- certainly not at this stage of his life.

There are really only two constants from Easy Rider that Buxton sees as reflective of his life -- the bike and the music from the movie soundtrack the movie that are apart of his personal existence to this day. There's the chopper and fondness of the music from the movie soundtrack, like Steppenwolf's "Born to Be Wild," the anthem at Daytona biker rallies.

"It's great to hear those classic songs in the bars here while enjoying a cold beer, but I'm not into the drug scene," he emphasized. 

And with Buxton, a rather shy and stoic man sitting on his thunder machine parked on the curb along an endless cavalcade of bikes of different styles, paint schemes and varying degrees of chrome, he was enjoying the camaraderie of biker enthusiasts with video cameras in hand and their collective delights of seeing is believing.

After all, there was no debate among revelers as to who had the coolest motorcycle in Daytona during the three-day rally that drew upwards of 75,000 bikers to the usual spots -- here on Main Street, across the bridge on Beach Street a ell a the main attract in Ormond -- the Ironhorse saloon and Bruce Rossmeyer's Destination Daytona -- and several smaller and scattered locales in Port Orange, New Smyrna Beach, Edgewater, Osteen and DeLand. 

And sitting on that signature chopper, parked parallel to the sidewalk curb on Main Street, Buxton, with grey hair and glasses, was the spitting' image of Peter Fonda, who has shown up a couple of times in the past at the larger 10-day Bike Week in March that draws upwards of half a million bikers. Still, he takes it all in stride, recognizing appearances can be deceiving. 

"I may have a chopper like the one that Capt. America rode in Easy Rider, but there' only one Peter Fonda and I'm not him," he aid with a wry smile. 

Rick Bufton / Headline urfer®Peter Fonda in Eay Rider / Headline Surfer®Rick Buxton, oner of a replica Captain America chopper likr the original in the 1969 movie 'Easy Rider,' resembles the actor in the lead role, Peter Fonda, shown here in the inset.

And sitting on that signature chopper, parked parallel to the sidewalk curb on Main Street, Buxton, with grey hair and glasses, was the spitting' image of Peter Fonda, who has shown up a couple of times in the past at the larger 10-day Bike Week in March that draws upwards of half a million bikers. Still, He takes it all in stride, recognizing appearances can be deceiving. 

"I may have a chopper like the one that Capt. America rode in Easy Rider, but there' only one Peter Fonda and I'm not him," he aid with a wry smile. 

 

Headline Surfer® videos /
These to video clip illutrate the acky, bizarre and unexpected that come with biker rallie in Daytona.

Bonus feature: Easy Rider multi-generational

Easy Rider movie poster / Headline Surfer®
Did You Know?
Easy Rider has been decribed as the landmark counterculture film and a "touchstone for a generation" that "captured the national imagination."
It explores the societal landscape, issues, and tensions in the United States during the 1960s, such as the rise & fall of the hippie movement, drug use, and communal lifestyle.
In the movie, starring Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper and Jack Nicholson, real drugs were used in scenes showing the use of marijuana and other substances.
Easy Rider’s visual style — the jump cuts, time shifts, flash forwards, flashbacks, jerky hand-held cameras, fractured narrative and improvised acting — can be seen as a cinematic translation of the psychedelic experience.
Peter Biskind, author of "Easy Riders, Raging Bulls" wrote: "LSD did create a frame of mind that fractured experience and that LSD experience had an effect on films like Easy Rider"
FAST FACTS: 
• Easy Rider is ranked No. 88 on the American Film Institute's list of 100 Years, 100 Movies;
• In 1998, Easy Rider was added to the US National Film Registry, having been deemed "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant."
Source: Wikipedia

As a special treat to those notalgic 'Easy Rider' fans and those perhaps too young to have seen the movie in its original run, here are some video clips downloaded from YouTube. 
 
Bike Week / Headline Surfer®Sampling Past Biker Coverage:
 
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Short Bio

Henry Frederick is publisher of Headline Surfer®, the award-winning 24/7 internet news outlet covering the Daytona Beach-Sanford-Orlando metro area via HeadlineSurfer.com for a decade now. A longtime cops & courts reporter focused on breaking news & investigative reporting, Frederick is among the Sunshine State's most prolific daily news reporters, having amassed dozens of journalism-industry awards in print anddigital platforms. Frederick is enrolled at Full Sail University in Winter Garden, FL, where he's three-fourths through the online Master of Arts program in New Media Journalism. His graduation is in August.