2022 was a risky year for films
This fall, to celebrate the newest addition to the Harley-Davidson Sport category, I was invited to test ride the 2022 Nightster motorcycle. I’ve been looking forward to follow the next chapter of the Sportster story and for a chance to renew my love of Harleys after test riding the Sportster S last year, so the Nightster was the perfect opportunity to hop back on the road. What I found riding this bike around Chicagoland was more than just my passion for motorcycles: the Nightster served as a vehicle for discovery and expression.
My journey began at the Harley-Davidson Headquarters in Milwaukee, where I met with Paul James, PR Manager at Harley-Davidson, who gave me a walkthrough of the Nightster. Immediately, I was struck by how elegant this bike was. In lush Redline Red (also available in Vivid Black and Gunship Grey—for me, red can’t be beat), the 2022 Nightster takes the quintessential profile of the iconic Sportster model and updates it for a new generation.
The first thing I noticed was the Revolution Max 975T powertrain, with its snaking exhaust headers and Metallic Charcoal finish. The powertrain is complemented by exposed rear shock absorbers that highlight each other to make a sleek profile with obvious might, striking that perfect balance between refinement and strength. When the Sportster was first introduced in 1957, it was positioned as an alternative to heavy cruisers, and the 2022 Nightster continues this legacy, built in the enduring Sportster silhouette. After plenty of time admiring the Nightster with Paul, I hopped on. In just a few minutes, I was immediately comfortable with the bike. The forward riding position, mid-mount foot controls, TFT display, and safety enhancements remind you that you’re riding a piece of cutting-edge technology. Equipped with signature Harley-Davidson gear including a limited-edition H-D x Jason Momoa Ka Pō jacket, insulated leather gloves, and BOOM! Bluetooth helmet, I was in good hands and ecstatic for the ride back home.
I picked up the bike in the middle of October, when autumn was just starting to come into full effect. Everyone talks about the changing colors of the coast lines on the East Coast, but you can’t beat the picturesque landscape of the Midwest in the fall. On the ride back to Chicago, half the trees still clung to their green leaves, the other half erupting in deep oranges, yellows, and reds. It had rained just a few days before, and even through my helmet, I could smell the aroma of wet earth along the road as I drove through miles of vibrant trail and fields down the I-94. The Nightster immediately rejuvenated me, alleviating the burnout and tedium of my busy lifestyle.
The Ride Modes beautifully complement the safety technology like ABS (Anti-lock Braking System), TCS (Traction Control System), and DCSC (Drag-Torque Slip Control System) intervention. Each mode uses a carefully calibrated combination of safety settings, translating to an incredible amount of flexibility and confidence on the road. No matter the adventure, and even with the maximum amount of intervention in Rain Mode, I always felt like I was the one riding the bike—and not the other way around.
After I’d made it back to my home in Lincoln Park, it was time to give the Nightster a test in the city, I was curious to see how this motorcycle would handle Chicago’s busy traffic, crazed drivers, and bicyclists. As a city dweller and motorcycle enthusiast, it can be hard to find the right bike for the crowded, chaotic conditions of city riding. Unsurprisingly, the Nightster delivered the same great performance on the highway as it did on the streets of Chicago.
My first destination was downtown, to meet some friends in Fulton Market for dinner and drinks. I love Fulton Market—the rows of delicious restaurants and innovative bars remind me of my days in LA, lounging with friends and family at open air malls like the Grove. The close-packed buildings, broad streets, and gorgeous industrial architecture remind me of my favorite parts of Brooklyn, too. As much fun as it is to be in Fulton Market, getting there is another story. The streets are congested, parking is a chore, and there are always tons of pedestrians. Usually, I’ll just grab a bus or a train, but I took this as a good opportunity to test the Nightster.
The Nightster’s low seat height at 27.8 inches and light weight (481 pounds, wet) make it a quick and nimble machine that’s extremely pleasurable to ride through downtown Chicago. In addition to its razor-sharp handling, the fuel tank transposed under the seat shifts the center of gravity lower on the motorcycle, making it even easier to maneuver with confidence. As with all motorcycles, parking was a breeze on the Nightster. Getting to Fulton Market is such a pain that I made sure to leave well in advance. Between the agility of the Nightster and the ready parking I found on a motorcycle, I got to my location 30 minutes before my friends—enough time to get some shots of this beautiful bike.
The month I had it, the Nightster was my “yes man,” always encouraging me to say “yes” to adventure. The bike gave me an open invitation to be more curious, and to be as excited to take the ride to my destination as I was to be there. This is what I love most about riding a Harley in Chicago: it gives you a reason to explore the city and experience the incredible variety of living here, like feeling the warm breeze of the lake or discovering a local restaurant tucked in the city’s remote corners.
On National Motorcycle Ride Day (October 15th), I took another opportunity to say “yes” and test the Nightster’s long-distance capabilities and ride modes.
Right after I jumped on the highway, I immediately grew a hunger for more torque and acceleration. As soon as I flipped on Sport Mode, the engine roared to life. For the past two weeks, the Nightster had been my nimble sidekick, taking me through city streets with tactility. Little did I know the understated power of this machine. The liquid cooled Revolution Max engine is insanely smooth—switching gears was effortless, with none of the jitters common to older bikes.
Before arriving in Naperville, I saw some off-the-beaten-path signs to the Green Valley Forest Preserve and Whalon Lake. Still in a mood to say “yes,” I decided to make a detour. I let myself be taken in by the incredible autumnal beauty of this part of Illinois while the Nightster handled the rural roads with ease. When you need it to, the bike seamlessly blends into the background, making it an intuitive ride. Again, I felt invigorated and rejuvenated cruising through autumn trees and endless fields.
When I arrived back home, a Triumph Scrambler parked in my usual spot caught my attention. Hearing my motorcycle engine, the owner of the Scrambler, Christian, opened his window to introduce himself and we immediately hit it off. Having a motorcycle is a great way to meet people and I was pleasantly surprised by instantaneous connection between bikers and the love of riding. Noticing Christian also had a Harley-Davidson Bluetooth Helmet, we instinctively decided to pair up and explore the city.
Over the next few days, Christian and I strapped on our helmets and set off for adventure. With Bluetooth connected, we had crystal clear conversations as we roared down highways, discussing movies, bikes, and everything in between. Mostly, I’ve used my helmet for navigation and music, but this was the first time I’d used the microphone to talk in real-time on the road. Riding with Christian while having a fluent conversation became a unique and special way to grow our friendship.
Kettle Moraine and Baháʼí Temple
As my time with the Nightster was coming to an end, I wanted to finish with a scenic ride through Wisconsin and cruise through the nature preserved roads of the historic Kettle Moraine.
I flipped on Rain Mode to tackle the rain-slick roads, and I immediately noticed an increase in traction. I could feel the throttle response change to the inclement conditions almost instantaneously. That kind of tactility is so important on a motorcycle as powerful as the Nightster; even on a wet highway, the Nightster in Rain Mode gave me reassurance. The nimble 19-inch front and 16-inch rear tires also made carving down winding roads effortless. I’m not the most confident backroad rider, but my apprehensions faded on the Nightster.
Even this late into fall, there were still plenty of green leaves on the trees, mixed in with the more traditional fall palette. Being immersed in nature grounds me, a juxtaposition with hectic city life. Taking those winding roads in Wisconsin, the Nightster gently purring underneath me, and the rich, crisp air all around… I felt a calming sensation of serenity I’ve never experienced before.
On my way back, I stopped by the Baháʼí Temple in Evanston. Since coming to Chicago, I’ve always wanted to see it. The Baháʼí Temple is one of twelve standing temples of worship for the Baháʼí faith in the world. I’m not a particularly religious person, but its famed architecture convinced me to see it in person. A superstructure in ornate concrete and quartz cladding, the central dome of the building, surrounded by nine pillars each adorned with symbols from world religions, stands tall among immaculately curated gardens. Nothing in the area looks like it, and when you’re standing within its Foundation Hall, looking up at the intricate details, you are transported someplace else.
I had an amazing time riding the 2022 Nightster. This bike is a marvel of engineering, delivering a smooth, comfortable experience that doesn’t sacrifice an ounce of power. It’s a stunning design, sleek and modern while echoing the best features of the classic Sportster. With the Nightster, I got to experience more of myself and the Midwest: heading downtown for drinks, riding with Christian, and taking day trips up to Wisconsin to highlight a few. The Nightster handled the transition from city to country seamlessly, allowing me to express my curiosity and passion for adventure—which is the underlying theme of my relationship with the Nightster: expression. Expressive in its design and expressive in the way it makes you feel.
When I think back to my (too-short) time with the Nightster, I’ll remember the incredible experiences that this machine gave me. The way it encouraged me to say “yes.” From its ease of use and comfort to its incredible power, the Nightster is a proud entry in the legendary history of Harley-Davidson’s design and legacy and a beautiful homage to the beloved Sportster.
The 2022 Harley-Davidson Nightster motorcycle is now available at Harley-Davidson dealers starting at $13,499.
This October, we traveled to Southwest Utah with Red Bull to experience the world’s premiere mountain biking competition, celebrating its 21st year since inception.
Red Bull Rampage is the world’s premier big-mountain freeride competition, this year bringing together 18 of the world’s most skilled mountain bikers to Virgin, Utah to compete in a battle that balances skill and mental preparation that define the extreme sport of freeriding. Athletes carve through slopes and narrow lines of sandstone ridges with the help of their two-person build crews. The broadcasted competition showcases the best jaw-dropping and mind-blowing tricks where athletes complete a run from the top of the mountain demonstrating precision, skill, and balance along the way.
The free ride movement began as a spinoff of the ski and snowboard scene. The genesis of Red Bull Rampage is the brainchild of Todd Barber, a certified legend in the mountain biking scene, who saw an opportunity to apply the free ride movement of the ski and snowboard scene to the world of mountain biking.
Naturally, teaming up with Red Bull in the early days with limited infrastructure and production proved to be challenging: there was no audience on TV, and no carved slopes and trails. However, as the slopestyle movement of mountain biking gained traction (with jumps, stunts, and tricks), it transitioned into Rampage which introduced polished takeoffs and landings (like digging up bushes and chipping rocks) for the extreme stunts of today.
We embarked into the exhilarating world of Red Bull and the culture surrounding professional mountain biking with an inclusive experience on everything Red Bull Rampage – from adventure in the mountain to meeting the athletes and players who made the competition a reality.
As a bi-coastal cosmopolitan living between the east and west coast, transportation on this journey wasn’t your average Metro ride; arriving at each location utilized a variety of transportation methods, including UTV, helicopter, and hiking.
Descending into St. George, Utah, the porthole view was filled with a horizon of mountain, brush, and sand as we landed into a quaint airport seemingly in the middle of the desert. Greeted by our Red Bull hosts and joined with two other writers, our media team of five were immediately whisked away on the first leg of our adventure for a UTV tour rolling over 50,000 acres of the Red Sand Dunes and Sand Trails of the Sand Hollow Mountains.
The Red Bull group rode through a vista of sand, terrain, and rock for over four hours, and by the end of the ride I was contemplating whether I wanted more or to never do it again. The only comparable experience that reminds me of this is watching Mad Max: Fury Road. Our group departed looking like sand-battered veterans – a great teaser and entry to the mountain culture.
Preparation before the competition
The following day before the main event, we were invited to a preview of the course, by way of a spirited UTV ride into Virgin, Utah where Red Bull set up a Rampage city of tents, preparing for the fandom and excitement, starting from the top of the mountain, leading into the slopes, and trailing down to the finish line.
Guided by members of the Red Bull team and previous Rampage contestants, we discovered the intense and manual preparation of Red Bull Rampage and its origin from an ideation to now a worldwide phenomenon.
Time is of the essence in preparing for Rampage. While we hiked up the course, we saw a digger preparing a line before the competition the day ahead with limited resources: shovels, rakes and water. With diggers working morning until night, it’s not uncommon for their arms to fall asleep every day due to the intense labor.
Beginning on the scouting day, athletes and teams walk through the mountain as a blank canvas and see what they want to do and where they want to go. Teams are given just four days to dig to build their lines, followed by a mandatory rest day on Sunday. During this time, they’re not allowed to touch their bikes or practice. Then the following week, there’s four more days of building and riding from Monday to Thursday leading up the big event on Friday.
Each team gets 75 pounds of sand to work with. Diggers fill up sandbags, stack them, and then layer dirt on top to shape the slope. If teams want to do a feature, they can combine their sandbags and efforts to work together to make a certain drop. The collaboration could be a complete feature or a trail that joins for one point and then separates.
On site, due to projected wind, we learned that the new start time of Rampage got pushed back to 10:30AM, a delay that would hint the outcome of the competition to follow. Spectators hiked into the mountains early morning, eager to find the best viewpoints to watch the show, while the event began streaming live exclusively on ESPN+ in the U.S., and on Red Bull TV in all other countries. Media and photographers followed the course along the mountain and soon enough athletes began flying down from the top of the course accompanied with drones, helicopters, and cameras all focusing on the riders’ lines trailing to the finish line.
Every year the top five finishers of Rampage are automatically invited to the next year’s competition, then a panel of judges vote for the rest of the riders. This year, Red Bull Rampage invited 18 riders from around the world to compete for the grand prize.
The athlete to watch was Brandon Semenuk, a four-time Red Bull Rampage champion and Rally racer, who made the last-minute decision the past weekend to compete in Rampage and Rally this year, exemplifying quite an athletic and mental feat. Semenuk prepared both for races this month, flew between Utah and Michigan, took home the championship for the Rally on Saturday, and had eyes to win again for Rampage within the same week.
Athletes are judged not only on insane tricks but also the embodiment of the sport spirit, characterized by the early slopestyle movements with steep, extreme stunts. For example, hitting the Canyon Gap, a legendary feature made 74-feet from takeoff to landing, would score significant points. Canada’s Brett Rheeder did just that with his balance of complex tricks and steep jumps, earning him first place with a score of 90.66 and taking the most coveted title in mountain bike freeriding, and now a three-time champion of the Rampage games.
“I was pretty unsure what was going to happen this year. I had a lot of changes I went through as a person, and I didn’t know if I’d ever get back to this level of riding. So, I didn’t come out to win, to be honest. I just want to make sure whatever I do is for me. Only for me. Not for any sponsors, not for my competitors, not for any ego. I want to make sure it’s for guiding the sport in the right direction and having a good time while doing it,” said Rheeder
We were also looking forward to Reed Boggs, who we spoke to just days earlier on his quest for the prize. Boggs almost secured his place in third until Brandon Semenuk took the last run down a knife-edge ridgeline, completing a 15-feet-deep jump right from start line along with a tail whip, back flip, and 360 spin knack garnering him the Best Trick award, rocketing him into third place.
Watch Reed Bogg’s insane POV as he nails his run (sound on!):
After the first run, several riders opted to go in for a second attempt to boost their scores, however, the wind proved to be too strong to continue another successful run cementing the first run as the final scores. Following the announcement of the results, crowds rushed to the finish line to celebrate the winners of the 2022 Red Bull Rampage with champagne and trophies.
Find all things Red Bull Rampage here and lookout for tickets to attend the event next year in-person.
ONE Music Fest shut down the city once again and this year’s show may be their biggest one yet.
With Atlanta being the cultural intersection of music, food and fashion, it was no surprise that this year’s event brought out more than 50,000 festival goers. Dozens of food trucks offering various cuisine across multiple cultures, a mini skating rink sponsored by BET and unique cocktail experiences provided by brands like Bacardi and Tito’s Vodka were spread throughout Central Park in downtown Atlanta.
Colder days are quickly descending on the peach state but that didn’t stop attendees from sporting some of their best festival looks; from fringed crop tops and maxi skirts to sweaters and bell bottom jeans.
The only thing more eye-catching than everyone’s fall fashion was the eclectic artist lineup.
R&B icon Lauryn Hill made a rare yet spellbinding appearance as she closed out Saturday night with a soulful live set. Her son Zion, famously referenced in the song “To Zion” from the singer’s 1998 debut album The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, along with her grandsons joined her as they sang along to her some of her timeless classics.
City Girls put on for them hometown of Miami right before the duo brought out Usher for a surprise performance of their recent feel-good collaboration “Good Love.” Chlöe gave a show stopping performance with a sexy cover of Adina Howard’s “Freak Like Me,” and Jeezy resurfaced his popular snowman alter-ego rapping to “I Luv It” while Democratic Georgia Governor nominee Stacey Abrams cheered him on from just a few feet away.
Ashanti & Ja Rule, Juvenile and Tweet put on the 99’s and 2000’s and effortlessly transported the crowd back to 2002, performing songs from their early catalogs and hyping up the crowd as they didn’t miss a beat and recited every word.
Lil Baby set off an explosive performance (literally). Fans watched on as the stage dramatically lit up with sparklers as the Atlanta native rapped along to some of his biggest hits like “We Paid” and “Drip Too Hard.”
ONE Music Fest has successfully provided epic experiences for the Atlanta community for more than a decade and continues to push the needle in entertainment with the help of Toyota, Live Nation, Pandora and more, while promoting cultural innovation and social change.
Check out some of the most memorable moments from One Music Fest 2022 below.
PHOTO CREDIT: ONE Music Fest
The 2022 Beloved Benefit returned for their annual event in Atlanta on Thursday night and it included show stopping performances by Usher and Maroon 5.
The Beloved Benefit raises money yearly to aid in the advancement of Atlanta’s many communities. The organization is big on unity and bringing people together, and donates the money raised to nonprofit organizations throughout the city.
The night took place Downtown inside Mercedes Benz stadium with hundreds of local community leaders in attendance, all working together to help improve the city.
Guests wined and dined while listening to speeches by some of the city’s biggest playmakers, including the mayor of Atlanta Andre Dickens, Comedian Jeff Foxworthy and Chick-fil-A and Beloved Benefit exec Rodney Bullard.
Other notable attendees included Kandi Burruss, Donnell Jones, Ernie Johnson Jr., and legendary news anchor Monica Kaufman Pearson. NBC sportscaster Marie Taylor hosted the night and kept the guests entertained while bringing awareness to the important issues confronting the city like gentrification, poverty and crime.
“Only 4% of people who are born into poverty will ever make it out”, was an upsetting statistic repeated by many throughout the night. In 2019, The Beloved Benefit raised more than $5 million in funds for Atlanta’s Westside neighborhoods.
Maroon 5 performed songs from their extensive catalogue, showering the crowd in nostalgia with “This Love”, hyping them up with songs like “Moves Like Jagger” and their #2 Billboard hit “Sugar”, then slowed it down with their 2018 collaboration with Cardi B, “Girls Like You”.
Between performances, heartfelt speeches and an emotional tribute to the late U.S. Congressman John Lewis who died in 2020, a QR code lit up the stadium, allowing guest a chance to donate to the cause right on their phones.
By the end of the night, $6.3 million was raised for 8 non-profit organizations fighting to strengthen the neighborhoods of Atlanta. Atlanta CareerRise, Center for Employment Opportunities, The Goodr Foundation, Goodwill of North Georgia Career Training Center, Latin American Association, Quest Community Development Organization, The Village Market and Westside Future Fund were all praised through night for their selfless efforts to positively impact the city.
Usher closed out the night donning a white oversized jacket and baggy Rick Owens pants, occupying every inch of the stage with his hypnotizing dance moves. “Caught Up”, “Nice & Slow” and “U Don’t Have to Call” are just a few of the lucky songs that made it on his setlist.
We asked the emcee to describe her favorite thing about her hometown, despite the drastic changes its experienced within the past few years.
“The most beautiful thing about the city is that I truly believe it is a melting pot of ideas and cultures, and it’s also aspirational. People can come to Atlanta and decide they want to be movie star and there’s opportunities to do that. People move and start a business and it’s possible. It’s not economically out of reach like it may be in other cities. And maybe for them, the aspiration is owning a home that’s a nice, 3-bedroom home and that’s possible in this city. It’s aspirational, it’s inspirational, but I also believe it brings people together from all walks of life with that southern culture that you can’t find in any other city,” Taylor said.
You can learn more about Beloved Benefit here.