Month: June 2021

My Soul Said Go

This is for you, mister random Yosemite Valley stranger who spun on your heels and approached me while I dismounted my bike that sweltering July day, who stopped your walk along God’s Country to ridicule my exhausted frame as I peeled sweaty gear off my back, who halted gazing at El Capitan so you could critique me.  You pulled your focus from where it should have been to where it had no business being, aiming your spiteful arrows at me to offer a cutting remark to this travel weary vagabond.
“Is it worth it?” you inquired rather sarcastically.  Then before I could respond, you turned and walked away.

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The Road by T.E. Lawrence

After we published our story on “Lawrence of Arabia and the Motorcycle Helmet”, a reader sent us the link to a chapter out of Lawrence’s book, “The Mint”, recounting his years of service as an enlisted cadet and airman in the RAF following the First World War. Lawrence entered service under the alias T.E. Ross, due to his world fame, and went to work in the daily grind of the military in post-war England. Yet he developed a love for all things fast and dangerous- namely, airplanes and motorcycles. He became a skilled mechanical engineer, but continued writing, keeping memoirs of his time in the service in his tome entitled “The Mint.” While most of this work is dry journaling, the chapter called “The Road” is stunning, a vivid account of a motorcycle ride at dusk that is both exhilarating and harrowing. It’s one of the most incredible descriptions of the feeling of riding a motorcycle, and the raw sensation of open air speed, that I’ve ever read. The descending dark, the rough roads, the throbbing beast beneath him, no helmet, no eye protection, no armored riding gear, poor suspension, lousy brakes, a side-mounted hand shifter, a near tank-slapper at speed, and an RAF Bristol fighter overhead- see if you don’t visualize and feel the ride yourself as you read Lawrence’s account.

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Gagne Takes Command

Fresh N’ Lean Attack Performance Yamaha’s Gagne won his fifth consecutive HONOS Superbike race Sunday at the famous Road America circuit, the Californian sweeping the two races in Wisconsin after doing the same a few weeks ago at VIRginia International Raceway. To say he is on a roll (pun intended) would be a gross understatement.

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The Zombie Ninja, Pt. 2

Joining our squad of swift, veteran riders was my 16-year old son Matt, who earned his driver’s license and motorcycle endorsement simultaneously little more than a month before.  A motorcycle I nicknamed the Zombie Ninja was his mount, a Kawasaki Ninja 500R that absorbed parts and money like a giant, sucking black hole of bottomless misery until it roared to life just days before departure.  Before us lay the 30 miles of Canada’s 31A, technical tarmac where beauty reigns, crashes are frequent and speed is a punishable commodity.

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The Zombie Ninja, Pt. 1

Motorcycle parked in my driveway, I walked up the stairs to my front door as a dead man walking, dead man walking, I was a dead man walking. A 3-day, 900-mile tour of Canada complete, I was returning home without my 16 year old son. I had no idea where he was. Inside waited my wife whose blissful world was about to be ripped apart by the news, and I would deliver the blow that would drop her to her knees.

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The Bad Editor by Peter Jones

Jones recounts the first time he ever landed a job writing for a major motorcycle publication, and moved to L.A.- “I walked into my first day at a full-time gig as a motojournalist like an excited purse dog, wagging my tail rapidly and nearly leaving a trail of pee on the carpet. I had been hired due to the chance vacancy of the entire editorial staff of a popular motorcycle magazine in the late 1990s.”

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Lawrence of Arabia and the Motorcycle Helmet

I recently ran across a fascinating story of a legendary hero, whose tragic death paved the way for the development of the motorcycle helmet. Being a bit of a history buff, I just had to share this bit of motorcycling trivia that led to the not-so-trivial safety gear we all (hopefully) utilize every time we throw a leg over and throttle out on two wheels.

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