Robert Taylor had a life-long affair with things that go fast. Cars, bikes, roller coasters and eventually airplanes satisfied his need for speed. He and Clark Gable shared a love for motorcycles and according to Jane Ellen Wayne in “Stanwyck” pages 105-106:
Nothing was too fast for the two of them (Taylor and Gable). If Barbara (Stanwyck) wanted Bob on the ground, he’d stay there–on a motorcycle with Clark cycling at top speed beside him. Keenan Wynn and Gary Cooper were usually not far behind.
Louis B. Mayer was furious. They were too reckless, he said,taking out their frustrations by tearing up the roads and everything else in the way.
……..In her efforts, when she could find the time, Barbara nagged Taylor, pleading with him to “behave himself.” Wasn’t it rather childish risking his life on the roads and in the air? What was the purpose? Defying life is a childish game, she tried to convince him. Was he running to or from something? But why? If Cooper was frustrated over his love life and Gable was devastated because of Lombard’s death, what was Bob’s reason for trying to destroy himself? Her protests went unheeded.
MGM finally stepped in and demanded Gable sell his motorcycle.
Barbara was torn between having her husband in danger away from home or in danger near home. He had calmed down on his motorcycle since MGM gave him warning so Barbara, in motherly fashion, bought him a more expensive one.
The pictures show Taylor and Stanwyck in a photo op. She didn’t ride but she liked the idea of pretending she shared Taylor’s outdoor interests.
The second Taylor family each had their own motorcycles, carefully chosen for size, and did ride them on their 113 acre ranch in Mandeville Canyon.