Last year, it was just for fun. This year, it was more about business. But either way, I once again found myself obsessively checking weather forecast updates every few hours to see if my plan for a motorcycle road trip in February was going to happen.
Once again, the weather waited until the last minute to cooperate. But with temperatures solidly in the 40s and sunny skies above, I headed east from my home office in Ohio to the headquarters of RevZilla in the Navy Yard in Philadelphia. Plans are for me to do quite a bit of work for RevZilla this year, so this is the first of what I hope and expect to be several such trips. Continue reading Another road trip in February →
The American Motorcyclist Association has experienced a steady decline since 2007, losing 28 percent of its membership and losing nearly $4 million in the last three years alone. Despite these losses in members and money, AMA President and CEO Rob Dingman has been given pay raises and bonuses and record levels of compensation for the position.
How and why has this happened?
It made the news nearly four years ago when a young man in Puerto Rico was posed on his Repsol replica Honda by a funeral home after he was shot to death.
Now, the same thing has happened on even a grander scale here in Ohio.
When the same thing happens in my former home and current home, two very different places, and covers both an 82-year-old man and his 1967 Harley-Davidson Electra Glide and a 22-year-old man with his CBR Honda, I’d say it shows the universality of the obsession some of us have with our motorcycles.
But I still think I’ll just be cremated.
Here in the United States, we often vary between thinking we are the center of the world or acting as if we are the world, a way of thinking that spawned that old joke, “So, I see you Americans won the World Series again this year.”
To anyone paying attention, it has been clear the United States hasn’t been the center of the motorcycle world for a long time. Yamaha is unveiling the M1 for the 2014 MotoGP season, an activity of no real importance but full of symbolism. So where are Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo flying to for this event? No, not some European capital. No place in the United States was considered, I’m confident. Instead, they’re flying to Jakarta. That’s Indonesia, for the geographically challenged.
Wonder why? Consider this your stat of the day: More new motorcycles are sold in Indonesia in one month than in an entire year in the United States.
The worst thing about the 2014 AMA Superbike schedule, which I wrote about last week, is obvious: five race weekends are not enough exposure (especially without television coverage) to bring sponsors on board to support the teams. But the second worst thing is not new. The gap between Daytona in March and the next race at Road America in late May/early June, is too long and nobody likes it. In the unlikely event the increasingly irrelevant Daytona show does build any momentum, it’s long forgotten by June.
Roadracing World magazine publisher and team owner John Ulrich is trying to do something to address both problems. Say what you want about Ulrich. I have. He can be a polarizing figure, inspiring both admiration and ire, sometimes both within minutes.
But you can’t deny he’s at least trying to do something. Read his idea here and consider just how bad the DMG folks are going to look if he can put together half as many races in a month as they have in a year. I hope he succeeds.
We have secured the future of professional motorcycle racing in America. We have secured the legacy of the AMA name in professional racing for years to come. ~Rob Dingman, AMA president, announcing the sale of the AMA Superbike series to Daytona Motorsports Group in 2008
Remember how Rob Dingman called it a key part of his “new vision for the AMA”? Remember how great it was going to be when those geniuses down in Daytona Beach took over Superbike racing, with all that NASCAR expertise and all that France family money?
Nobody bows toward Daytona in awe much any more. Mostly, anyone who has anything resembling a life boat abandons this ship as fast as possible. Continue reading The “savior” of Superbike racing is now officially a sorry joke →
The weather forecast for the first day of 2014 in my area called for a high near 40 degrees with a few scraps of sun, followed later by a snowstorm, and followed later yet by the coldest days yet seen this winter, by far. It was clear that if I was going to ride a motorcycle in the early days of the new year, it was going to be on New Year’s Day or not at all.
I scanned the local motorcycle forum to see if anyone was planning a Polar Bear Ride, but came up empty. Polar Bear Rides seem to be a local phenomenon, with lots of participation in certain areas, and utter non-existence in others. If you happen to live in the latter, and wonder what I’m talking about, a Polar Bear ride is a group ride on New Year’s Day in latitudes where such a thing is no sure thing. It’s more about the camaraderie and shared idiosyncrasy than the ride itself. Some say it’s good luck to ride on New Year’s Day, but deep down we all know that’s just a convenient excuse to do something for which there are already many reasons not to.
Since nobody was planning a Polar Bear Ride, I decided I’d have to create a personal one of my own. Fortunately, an excuse presented itself. Continue reading Polar Bear ride, 2014 →