t was on the screen all of 10 seconds, but in memory, it’s eternal: a hunter-killer robot from our war-torn future rides a Harley Fat Boy to the end of a retaining wall, careens off the end, and soars through the air and down for what seems like forever (again, it’s not even 10 seconds, but that’s your rational mind talking, and you’re not really watching this movie with your rational mind, which checked out somewhere between buying a ticket to Terminator 2 and the theater going dark). Eventually, majestically, the bike slams to Earth a hundred yards and four stories down from where it launched. Sparks fly off the undercarriage, but the sheer force of the Terminator’s implacable inhuman will holds the bike together, apparently, and as it thunders off, the viewer has gotten the message: This robot from the future cannot be stopped by man nor physics. It is well and truly on. The T2 jump landed in motorcycling’s hindbrain almost three decades ago, in the brief era after digital effects became good enough to use on mainstream movies but before DVD extras and specialized subreddits let us behind the scenes of pretty much everything in pop culture. Because that spectacle was born in exactly the era it was, a small but surprisingly deep mythology was able to grow up around that single stunt; an amazing sight like that dropped into the pop-culture consciousness of millions of young bikers generated a pretty decent set of legends. We talked to Gary Davis, the stunt coordinator and second unit director on T2, and camera-bike driver Cotton Mather about the jump, and while we were at it, decided to see how some of our favorite myths lined up with what they had to say. LEGEND: The jump was done straight up, with no wires. Arnold Schwarzenegger did his own stunts. FACT: Er… Really? In any case, nope. Cotton Mather: You know, of course, it wasn’t a jump, right? That it was on cables? Gary Davis: It wasn’t a jump at all. We flew it in. We put a big crane at each end of this run, and the cranes were, I’m gonna say, about 150 yards apart, and then a cable ran between them pulled tight. Think of it as a curtain rod. Then we hung the Harley with two cables in the rear up to that curtain rod, then two cables in the front. So it just swung in the air. Then there was a third element, a fifth cable, attached to the Harley, and we would pull it along the top cable.