By Andrew Travers, The Aspen Times
Like most people who saw “Dumb and Dumber” when they were kids, Zach Courts and Ari Henning have re-watched it countless times and can rattle off quotes and whole scenes of dialogue.
Unlike most people, these grown men and professional motorheads now have a YouTube channel and a budget for a long-in-the-works “Dumb and Dumber” dream: to build a replica of Lloyd and Harry’s mini-bike from the film and actually ride it from the plains of Nebraska to a little place called … well, you know.
The result is “The Dumb and Dumber Mini Bike Road Trip,” a 30-minute episode of Courts and Henning’s “Common Tread XP” series on Revzilla’s YouTube channel. It comically chronicles the pair’s cold and clunky journey to Aspen in April 2021.
Opening with a shot-for-shot, full-costume remake of the first mini-bike scene from the 1994 comedy classic, with Henning doing his best Lloyd Christmas and Courts doing a credible Harry, Revzilla released the episode last weekend. It logged more than 350,000 views in its first five days online.
“We were hoping that this would reach wider and would resonate with people that aren’t necessarily into motorcycles and it seems like it has,” Coruts said in a Zoom interview this week from California.
In the Jim Carrey-Jeff Daniels movie, it’s three minutes from the time the pair fire up the pull-start mini bike “hog” until the oft-quoted snot-nosed “We’re there” arrival in Aspen. In reality, it was a 400-mile trip with some 15,000 feet of elevation gain that the “Common Tread” duo estimated would take several days and knew would be a hellish experience.
They picked up a line from Mary Swanson’s aunt in the movie about the end of ski season that indicated it was set in April, so that’s when they did it. The result is a cold ride, beginning on a 29-degree day on the Nebraska plains.
“We wanted it to be cold, we wanted there to be snow and we wanted it to be aligned with when the movie suggests they actually did the trip,” said Courts, who first saw “Dumb and Dumber” at age 10 but had never been to Aspen before.
The novelty wears off pretty quickly for he and Henning, who are freezing cold, beaten up by the shaking bike and dizzied by its fumes. Vibration dislodges their fuel tank and deteriorates their drive train while they burn through several tires on rough roads.
But, yes, they make it and they’re a good comic pairing (though, in Henning’s words they’re “vibration-inebriated and carbon monoxide poisoned” along the way).
It ends up being about a 400-mile ride, with the hog topping out at 35 mph. Avoiding I-70 and other major highways, they spend much time on rocky dirt roads, including dicey summits over Cameron Pass and Cottonwood Pass.
They burn more gas than expected on the trip (Lloyd’s claim of 70 miles per gallon in the film is an overstatement, turns out).
For director Spencer Robert, the mini-bike trip has been a pet project for about a decade, he said, growing out of a magazine pitch using an off-the-rack bike into this most epic cinematic statement complete with full costumes, props (yes, they carried a briefcase on the mini-bike for the whole ride) and an exact replica bike.
“We built this replica from scratch and tried to make it as close and as authentic to what the fictional characters would have experienced as we could,” Robert explained.
To start with, they blew up a picture of the bike from the movie, measured the dimensions of all the parts, ordered them and built it to scale in their shop and matched the paint job. In all it took about three days of mechanical work and soldering.
Living out the trip — following Courts and Henning as part of a two-man production crew — was surreal for a kid who knew the film by heart.
“My brother and I probably watched it 50, 100 times, much to my parents’ chagrin,” Spenser recalled.
Finally nearing Aspen on Highway 82, under a drizzle of freezing rain, a Pitkin County Sheriff’s deputy cruiser trails the pair upvalley for a while and they expect to get pulled over. But the cop doesn’t bother.
When they eventually roll down Main Street into downtown and dismount at Paradise Corner under a snowy Aspen Mountain, the pair hug and Henning announces, “No movie magic here, folks. We actually rode this here all the way to Aspen.”
They did it, perhaps, so others don’t have to. As Henning put it with another film-quote flourish: “It wasn’t a fun trip, but if you’ve always wondered if it could be done, we’re telling you there’s a chance!”