Friday, January 27, 2012

#89 Shipper's Remorse (July 2009)

As I write this, the incredible event that will be the Smoke Out Ten is mere days away. We sent out a boatload of stuff this morning ahead of us, such as the trophies for the bike shows, camera equipment and last, but not least, the bikes.
Sure we’d rather be riding them west ride now, but the time constraints are overwhelming, I have to get this issue ready to go by Wednesday night and I have a lot of spaces to fill. The last thing I want to do is rush through and have a sloppy(er) magazine on the shelves, especially at a time like this when the whole industry looks shaky. As I write this I just read that Source Interlink, the publisher of titles such as Hot Bike and Baggers had filed bankruptcy. Luckily for us, the readers of The Horse aren’t followers of bike fashion and trends, the hard core riders and readers are still with us and our rack sales continue to be healthy.
Fab Kevin and Steve Broyles II are riding west in a day or so. They will be headed out on a chilly Michigan morning. Hopefully it won’t be raining here when they leave, but damn I wish I were going with them. Too late now anyway, my bike is likely already out of the state.
Looking around the message boards I’m constantly amazed at how many people won’t even consider the Long Road, or worse, tell people they are going to go, only to weenie out at the last minute. This is a phenomenon I frequently see, people make arrangements to go on an epic ride, attend a big event or whatever, but then as the day approaches, they drop out one by one until there is just you left. But let’s face it, riding alone is the best way to go anyway. Sure, there’s safety in numbers, the guy on the Ironhead Sportster is likely carrying a boatload of tools with him (come on, you know that’s true), the guy on the garbage glide can whip out his SatPhone and call in a napalm strike four clicks north of the river, but in the end, it’s good to be able to set your own pace.
On the Stampede, you’re on your own, sure there’s all kinds of camaraderie before the start, but once on the road all that is out of the window, if you break down, you deal with it. On The Long Road it will be different, it’s not a race, no one cares who gets in first. But does that mean we will all have to stop when someone’s 1970’s XL gives up the ghost on the road? OK, I know it sounds like I’m picking on Ironhead owners a little here, but I’m sure if someone was crazy enough to attempt this run on a 60’s or 70’s Triumph the results would be equally annoying on the side of the freeway. This year, the pro chop-off builders have to run the Long Road, one of those bikes is based on an Ironhead Sportster and one has an old Norton engine powering it across. I’m looking forward to all the Chop Off bikes making it to Rockingham, and by the time you read this, we will all know. The old cliche goes “The world is run by those who show up” so don’t be one of those who don’t. Say what you mean and mean what you say, if you tell people you are going to be somewhere, then be there. Yeah, shit happens sometimes, the bike gets hit by a meteor, the dog ate my mapquest printout and such. To be sure, real things happen too, family emergencies, the Boss being a dick and not giving you time off from work, the deadline for the next magazine etc., but except for real, unavoidable circumstances, there’s no excuse for just weenying out of a long ride because you’re frightened your ass may hurt after a while, deal with it!

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