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It’s Better in the Wind – Short Film

Posted on October 31, 2011 by Scott in Video. 36 comments

In February we posted a teaser of Scott Toepfer’s short film ‘Better in the Wind’. After a year of filming a stack of road trips, 50 hours of editing, a shit load of memory cards and enough Super-8 film to safely tie up a particularly large and angry bear, the film has finally been finished. To say this has been a labor of love is an understatement. Scott funded the film by selling his ‘Better in the Wind’ book online, which literally made it possible to keep his bike on the road and keep filming. “I’ve been selling my little paperback via Blurb for the past 8 months or so, which has helped me keep my XS650 running enough to make it through the trips” says Scott. “Blown head gasket, broken mufflers, tail lights, headlights, bars, chains… that damn XS is my baby but without the support of those people who have picked up a copy of the book, I wouldn’t have been able to ride/shoot and pay the bills at home”.

You won’t find any special effects in the film. No Hollywood actors. No unbelievable ending. “Just a group of guys planning road trips, me trying to record it the best I could, becoming good friends in the process, and trying to get it out there on a positive note,” says Scott. “There are tons of opinions on what is what, who is who, and where the motorcycle culture should go… but really at the base of the argument is that we all take the sport/recreation of riding personally (hence we all hold it to our chests), and it means something to us in a positive way… so why not try and reflect the simple joy of it. We as motorcyclists can bitch all we want, and while most of us are strangers, we’re still most likely buds when crossing paths on the road”. Here here.

[Scott would like to give a special thanks to Brandon Schrichten, Jason at Dime City Cycles, musician Chuck Ragan and everyone that bought his book. And we’d like to thank Scott for letting us have the honor of being the first site to show the final product. Hats off to you, sir!]

  • NYCGuy

    lovely video!! Thanks to Pb for this!!

  • Stephen Kellie

    very very good watch, buy the book see the movie, wait for the upcoming cbs special

  • fuxxing awesome

  • Paul

    Pipeburn should definitely do a feature on the bikes seen in the project.

    I'd be interested in any long distance bikes. They usually have all kinds of neat do-dads that have been added or modified as a result of many hours in the seat to figure things out.

  • Vitor

    very nice footage and music… what I can`t understand is why it has to have that 1-dollar philosofy (“find ourselves”, bla bla bla) and why not just say: “We f* love to ride our motorcycles with our friends!”. 

    • Do you think you can really separate the two?

    • Scott Toepfer

      @387f0ffca819560f52c4f9fdcec1b534:disqus  when I started taking photos for this, I’ll tell you that I really was a bit lost, stuck in a rut…whatever you want to call it.  New city, no work, no money, shitty VW.  Sold everything, bought a bike hoping to make some great photos and reconnect with some old friends through motorcycles.  I was definitely looking for something at first, and found it in all of this.  Now…I just f* love to ride my bike, anywhere and everywhere, solo or surrounded by the best of friends.  $1 philosophy is where we all end up at some point. Just depends on how conscious of it we allow ourselves to be.  

      • Vitor

        Now it makes sense, why not put that in the video then? I think this would add some dollars (hehehe) to your philosofy. I said that because I really think a bike movie does not need anything but the bikes and its owners. If to that is added some good history, much better! My criticism is because the video above doesn’t let the viewer notice that there is a history behind what I called the 1-dollar philosofy, so it seemed pointless to me. Please do not take that as a complaining from those guys in internet that only like to criticize. As I said before, I think the work you’ve done is magnificent and unparalelled (at least in the diversification of location and the care to sound and image quality put to it), specially regarding the circumstances narrated above. Hope to watch others in the future!

        • Scott Toepfer

          I definitely know where you are coming from, and appreciate the sentiment.  I spent a lot of time debating voice over vs. just music and imagery. The film needed some context, hence the sparse spoken parts. On the other hand, I felt that if I spent most of the time telling my story, people would less time to just watch and let the scenes remind them of certain aspects of their own rides. Everybody has their own story, and in a large part they don’t have tons of imagery to relate the vibe back to their friends at home missing the adventure. I hoped this balance would provide a little of both ends.  Bike films are tricky, and very often about the bikes, and I did my best to make the bikes more tools of fun rather than show pieces.  As a photographer primarily, and a motorcyclist second, I wanted to make sure that those who don’t ride could still partake in the sentiment of the film as a whole.  Vitor I do appreciate your commentary, it is constructive and well received. Thanks for adding to the conversation.

          • Thanks again Scott for taking the time to discuss yr thoughts AND for letting us have first bite of the cherry on this one. We’re blessed. What’s next for you?

          • Scott Toepfer

            What’s next? Who knows…I’m always looking for a story to tell I guess.  I’ve been pretty into flat track racing lately (my XS650 is starting to look/ride the part), and there is a track near my home… so hopefully I’ll be able to put together something fun, and different to go with our usual road trip antics.  I’ve put a lot of time into this leg of the project, and am not sure where it will go from here, I guess I haven’t made any hard and fast decisions.

            I’ll tell you that over the last few months, a couple of our friends have moved away (Denver), a couple have gone down and wrecked bikes…so there is an huge itch for us all to get back together and ride.

            Thank you Andrew and Scott for giving this video a forum to be shared on, as well as room for people to ask and discuss.  Many many thanks! Thanks to everybody for the support and the fun.

      • GuitarSlinger


        Brilliant video . Said the same on the HFL site as well 

        Do us a favor and consider making your books available from retailers or at least by Snail Mail /Phone Order ( here in the US ) I’d like to have one or both in my collection and throw a bit of support your way . 

        Tell your composer/performer Brilliant as well . His stuff fit the scenes to a Tee 

        • Scott Toepfer

          @562f90b7126b9527e53e8ffca8bf9430:disqus The 2nd printing of ‘It’s Better in the Wind’ is available inexpensively via Blurb (  My second book ‘Chasing Horizons’ which covers a bit of ‘wind’ stuff as well as some other recent travel oriented projects/work is available at my online store (  All the support is very appreciated, and helps keep things (my XS) moving along.

          Chuck will appreciate all of the support on the soundtrack. The guy is a legend (frontman for Hot Water Music) and someone I’m always learning from when we get to talk.

  • Opa from Finland

    Awesome, but there’s something wrong because my computer shuts itself everytime when I try watch it. Somewhere in the middle part of the video.

    • I’m guessing yr computer can’t handle the extreme bitchin’ness of the video. Best upgrade to a cooler machine, methinks.

    • GuitarSlinger


      If you have an older Mac it might be the system Andrew used , if he used Adobe Flash ( did you Andrew ? ) I noticed even  on my new MacBook Pro a case of ” The Bouncing Beach Ball of Death ” syndrome  happening towards the end of it

      What can I say . Jobs knew best , but the options are cheaper to use . 

      • Yeah – sorry. What a smart arse I am. It’s a flash embed – just like every other video on Pipeburn, and most other places on the interwebs, too. Unless you’ve never managed to watch any video online before, I’d say it’s just a quirk with yr set-up. Maybe try watching it straight off of Vimeo instead?

  • revdub

    Great video. Definitely worth the wait. Makes me want to ride. I hope there will be more to come!

  • Moderator please delete this accidental comment.

  • If you are ever in Utah, look me up (@Clancycoop:disqus) I will show you some good roads. Great video.

  • talkingbird

    cb400f!!!!! score

    • Scott Toepfer

      Ya, Samson got that thing up to 105 on the lake bed…unreal.  It’s a stock beauty.

  • Great lead-up to the weekends’ ride to the Slab City Riot in SoCal… Good job, Scott!

  • Paul Heller

    I don’t know what happened to my previous comment, but here goes:

    Scott, have you or would you consider a “bike and rider” photo set? There were some pretty cool rides in this video, but I only caught a glimpse of them. 

  • toni.sword

    kool vid & sound track…xcelent…

  • Systemstec

    Sweet!….makes me want to get on my Bonneville and ride!  No dry lake beds on the East Coast but the Blue Ridge and local back roads are cool.

  • Jak

    great video, i have been looking forward to it.  your timing is terrible! it’s cold and snowy here in colorado now and we cant ride! (i believe brandon s lives here too?) and this makes me want to ride, bad.  i have to live on the memories of the last canyon ride with the dropping river and the turning leaves, just three weeks ago, for the rest of the winter.  thanks for the video to keep the dreams alive through the cold. 

  • Brandon Schrichten

    @Jak yeah I live in Colorado! And after sitting in the ridiculous traffic that is no different than LA traffic, I am wanting to get on my moto whip and ride no matter how cold it may be. I call back home and here that it is 80 degrees right now and makes me miss that part of California. But I still think Colorado is way better! This video made me miss my friends more than miss the riding season. I don’t ride as much now that I am without my friends. Just not as motivating, but hoping to get one of them to get over here finally so we can pop wheelie burn outs all day! haha

  • Phil

    sorry, bit boring, not great editing as well…

  • dude

    Seems like a neat home video of bro’s. Nothing here for anyone other than the people who made or were in the video.

    Someone who isn’t into bikes or this kind of music or these dudes wouldn’t really care for/about this vid.

    Just an opinion, not trying to be a dick. I’m seriously just saying that maybe for the next video try to do something that is less of a tribute to yourselves and more of a tribute to the sport. (Ie. On Any Sunday)

    Then again, where are my videos?

    • I can only speak for myself, but I didn’t make or star in the video and it gave me a real kick. It’s tapped into that is at the very heart of what it means to ride a motorbike.

      As for people who aren’t into bikes – well of course they wouldn’t care. It’s a video full of bikes!

  • Brandon Schrichten

    Andrew, you make me laugh! Love what you got to say!

  • Rubbersoul1991

    I loved it – brought a smile to my face.  thanks for the film Scott. It was real pleasure

  • Chase Harber

    Did Chuck record those songs specifically for this video? I knew it was him but didn’t recognize any of it. Thats rad if he did. super cool guy. super cool video. good job. 

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