If you haven’t met him, you will surely recognize him anyhow; the lanky, top hat-wearing “Mayor of Fun” who goes by the handle of Bean’re. His larger-than-life personality is profiled in this latest offering, along with a sampling of his travels that illustrate what life without a permanent address is like. Ironically, you will probably be enjoying this from the comfort of your permanent address.
Let’s start with the cover. It’s a David Uhl original featuring our hero, Bean’re, astride an early-model Indian motorcycle being chased by three men on horseback with guns drawn. They may be chasing him for the cash blowing out of the leather satchel slung over his shoulder, as he fires a double-barreled shotgun at them. I have the impression that he is not a victim in this image, as he outruns a locomotive with the Devil’s Tower in the background. If you’re in a David Uhl painting, you’ve been around more than a little bit. Sometimes you can judge a book by its cover, after all.
For those who have known this legend from a distance, the book answers questions you may have had about Bean’re’s origins. At least some of his childhood was spent in Kentucky riding bicycles and minibikes, followed by partying, contemplating college, some time in the Marine Corps and home ownership.
These events are fascinating and give you a better understanding of the man, and some of the benchmarks that helped shape his future. Additionally, accidents, sobriety and the life and times of a small businessman all played a role in shaping Bean’re. When you meet someone like Bean’re, you can’t help but wonder how a person such as he ends up so firmly entrenched on the road less travelled, even though he always seems to be where the crowd is. The early chapters help answer that question.
A chapter titled simply “Friends” reads like a who’s who of the motorcycling world. Michael Lichter, David Uhl, Kevin “Teach” Baas, Jay Allan, Billy Lane and others all provide personal commentary on Bean’re. Many remember the exact moment they met him, while others only vaguely so.
When the crowd quits looking, Bean’re hits the road and those are some of the book’s best chapters. Chapter nine, Tour of Europe And Morocco by Nerisse Trombetta, recalls the pair’s whirlwind tour of Europe in 2001. There are mountains, missed trains, snow, open-air markets and smoking motors. The narrative was so compelling that I never saw the unexpected ending to the chapter coming.
The very next chapter was also among my favorites. Australian Tour gives us an idea of the obstacles you might face when you travel out of the country. Shipping a bike is a unique skill, and getting it out of customs is another. Bean’re covers the land down under as we would imagine—going to the hospital, camping, meeting up with friends to ride and hanging out at the beach. He also worked in a dentist appointment. What did you expect?
The book has an unusual mix of color photos, ranging from professional images by Michael Lichter and Jack Mcintyre to snapshots—unusual, but representative of Bean’re, the wide range of people he knows and places he’s been.
The only trouble with this book is that by the time you’ve finished reading it, Bean’re will have had more adventures of his own and you will have added a book to your list that Oprah isn’t likely to feature any time soon. But that’s the difference between you and Bean’re, isn’t it?
By Timothy Remus
Wolfgang Publications, $18.95