I just wanted to thank you for the wonderful 500th issue. I found myself in a time warp though. The ads on pages 56 and 57 (“Blasts From Rider’s Past”) took me back to my childhood when I rode my XR 75 and later my RM 100 dirt bikes, in the hills of Orange County and the Indian Dunes off-road park…ah, life was so simple. Fast forward to the present, where my next bike might just be one of the bikes you profiled under “Six Guns” beginning on Page 30. I am a longtime subscriber and also buy an annual subscription for two of my friends. I am more impressed than ever with your magazine and am definitely saving this issue on my bookshelf as well. I do have one problem though: you guys are making me run out of bookshelf space!
Ken Frick’s excellent article in the April 2018 issue (“The Backbone of America: US 50 West”) accomplished two purposes for me. First, it placed Highway 50 on my bucket list of long motorcycle rides. And second, it put me in mind of another article of Ken’s that appeared in the October 2014 issue (“Chuck’s Race”). In that article, he wrote of his brother Chuck’s lifelong love of motorcycling, of his struggle with muscular dystrophy and of his hope to ride to Farmington, Missouri, for 2017’s total eclipse. I’ve wondered many times whether Chuck was actually able to make that trip. Could you provide an update?
Advance, North Carolina
Hi Jack, thanks for your thoughtful question. Ken says that while Chuck still rides his Spyder nearly every day, he had to watch the eclipse from home. Apparently from where he lives it was still at 75 percent though, so not bad! –EIC
Great job on the 500th issue, it brought back memories. Especially enjoyed “The Monkey Butt 500.” A good portion of the route was the same one we rode for the Summer 1974 issue’s cover story entitled “Highway 1, You Ultimate One.” Never thought I’d feel homesick for California, but Greg’s prose and Kurt’s photography did the trick. Keep up the great work. Best wishes for another 500!
Those old ads in the 500th issue (“Blasts From Rider’s Past”) brought back memories of reading about motorcycles I couldn’t have. Growing up, I was the English nerd who snuck rides on friends’ motorbikes because my parents wouldn’t let me have one of my own. After college, I started my career as a writer and soon after bought my first motorcycle. I subscribed to several moto magazines, but Rider spoke to me. Then came the epiphany: “Bones, you’re a writer and a rider…why aren’t you writing for Rider?” So I looked up the Editorial Guidelines and pitched a guy named Mark Tuttle with my story idea on touring western North Carolina in search of BBQ ribs and twisty roads. Fifteen years later, Rider is still the moto magazine that speaks to me. It’s my privilege to contribute stories that, in some measure, speak to my fellow riders. Congratulations on 500 issues and counting.
Scott “Bones” Williams
I just wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed and appreciated the May issue. It has a little bit of all the reasons I love Rider. Even that nice old cover shot of model Tuttle! Several competing magazines have gone to a bi-monthly or quarterly schedule and poor artsy-fartsy design with big photos, lots of white space and coffee table appropriate covers. Blech! The cover of your May issue screams “touring excitement” and that’s what I look forward to seeing every month in my mailbox.
Keep up the good work.
Congratulations on your 500th issue! It’s amazing to see what has changed in “Blasts From Rider’s Past.” The ad you printed on the Slipstreamer windscreen, that you noted generated hostile letters even back then, would no doubt now generate self-righteous emails from an increasingly neo-puritanical American public. I am not one of them. I remember when a person’s heart rate could be raised at the sight of a beautiful woman or nearly anything Italian. Now, sadly, Rider feels the need to apologize. Maybe declining motorcycle sales are not a symptom of expensive gas, global warming or crowded roads, all of which are made better on two wheels, but rather the passion, the joie de vivre, is being sucked out of society by the PC police. I wonder if, after the American Cultural Revolution, we’ll be able to buy sexless Mao uniforms with Kevlar?
The May issue might well be the best read I’ve had since subscribing to Rider in 1983. Though there may be a slump in motorcycle sales as stated in Clement’s “The Numbers Game” article, I have no doubt that people will continue to purchase motorcycles due simply to the awe and wonder of riding a motorcycle across the countryside. Clem, I too purchased my first motorcycle at the age of 16. Riding that 125cc J&B (which cost $360 new) allowed me to see the country around our rural home in central North Dakota like I had never seen it before. It was the feel of the wind in my face along with my total exposure to the elements that made riding a motorcycle so totally fascinating. In his “Stayin Safe” column, Eric wrote about how much he learned from reading the safety articles in Rider magazine. If it were not for these same articles I would not have learned the countersteering and cornering skills that saved me from destruction when the radius of an unfamiliar corner suddenly decreased or I found myself entering a corner faster than I should. Thank you, Rider magazine. My wife and I (she on her bike and me on mine) have safely ridden this great country from border to border and sea to shining sea. Rider has been our constant companion and essential tool, as I’m sure it will be for the next hundred thousand miles.
Tom and Lea Clement
Hazen, North Dakota
Alright. The pressure is on. I just received my latest copy of Cycle World. I used to subscribe to five motorcycle magazines. I’m now down to three and when my subscriptions to Cycle World and Motorcyclist expire I’ll be down to one. Don’t blow it.
Congratulations on reaching 500 issues. Though you’re not the oldest title, it appears you will be the last one standing if you keep doing what you are doing, as Bonnier seems determined to kill off their competing titles by turning them into occasional coffee table books of little interest to real riders. After 28 bikes and more than 50 years of commuting, touring, sport and dual sport riding, Rider is my last best link to the moto world. Keep on putting out a great magazine. I especially appreciate Response, Salvadori and Trow.
In Jenny Smith’s enjoyable “Blast From Rider’s Past” article, taking me back to my early riding and reading Rider days, 1972 and 1974 or ‘75 respectively, the un-faired 1976 Honda GL-1000 is credited as the bike which founded the modern touring motorcycle, today represented by the new Gold Wing and BMW’s K 1600 GTL. I would argue the genesis is more properly the 1976 BMW R100RS, the first integrated, fully-faired, wind-tunnel designed sport touring bike, followed shortly after by the R100RT. Respectfully, although we’re both Hoosiers, I was there and Jenny was not! Regards to her, and to Bill Stermer, with whom I rode while he was writing his inaugural Rider Blue Ridge Parkway article.
Your 500th issue arrived in my mailbox yesterday and I’ve been reading it front to back since. I learned the “50 Miles Before Breakfast Rule” ten years ago when I began making solo trips to Colorado. I like seeing my shadow stretched out from the early morning sun. I was pleased to see how much of the “Monkey Butt 500” I have ridden over the years on my trips to L.A. and back. And the “Southwest Express” article pointed out spots that my buddy and I should take in on our upcoming trip to Southeastern Arizona. But what prompted me to write was Eric Trow’s article “Crowning Achievement” (Tips, Tricks & Answers). I respect Eric a lot and am hesitant to disagree with him, but I believe that he is wrong about the left-side wear on tires being caused by the road crown. I believe the answer is simpler: it’s just distance. The left sides of our tires travel farther than the right sides of our tires. This difference in distance is most easily seen when you consider turning right at an intersection vs. turning left. Again, congratulations on your 500th issue. Please accept my wish for 500 more.
Palo Alto, California
After reading Clem’s “Organizational Gene” (Road Tales, April 2018), I couldn’t help but notice some similarities within myself. Most rides I plan for our club are long weekends, but I’m in the midst of organizing a Route 66 trip for this summer for several members of the “Slider’s Riders.” This ride is a big one: three weeks, riding from Chicago to L.A. to Sturgis and then back home. Do I have the “Organizational Gene” and am compelled to do the planning because I enjoy the experience and detail, or am I just the guy that the planning falls to since I’m the one who will do it? Either way, helping your friends and fellow riders or club members stay safe and enjoy the ride is well worth the effort!
Steven “Slider” Christensen
Blue Springs, Missouri
Fantastic article about the Gold Wing vs. the K 1600 GTL (Six Guns, May 2018). I believe the last paragraph sums them up nicely, and all of the words leading up to that last paragraph were very well-written and informative. One thing I would like to see is a comparison in maintenance costs for bikes. Often times this is an overlooked part of ownership. I’m not sure about the Honda Gold Wing maintenance costs, but being a BMW owner I can honestly say that they are almost prohibitive at the dealership where I purchased my R1200RT. Maintenance will be a consideration of mine for future purchases.
Cave Creek, Arizona
This letter is to applaud the recent article by Jenny Smith on the 3,600-mile Spyder trip (“Southwest Express,” May 2018). To be brief, I am in my ‘70s with a lot of riding experience from mopeds to racing motocross/enduro, to sport touring, to now, mainly GS and KTM ADV stuff. Now I have some medical issues involving strength issues (primarily shifting) that will not be resolved for a while. The result is the scary thought of not being able to ride for 9 to 12 months. Then along came Jenny and this trip with Kurt, who also has some shifting challenges. What a gift of open-mindedness and insight. The Spyder is a real option for me and for others who have similar issues. I have shared this article with friends with a lot of positive feedback. Thank you again Rider and Jenny.
Fort Collins, Colorado
I just received my copy of one of the three publications to which I subscribe. Again, one more has gone to a “contemporary” format. I have nothing against change but the new format seems to emphasize form over function. I really enjoy Rider’s straightforward format giving me the easy-to-find, relevant information that I’m looking for. Sure, I’ll continue to subscribe to these publications but Rider remains my favorite. Some change can be good but please continue to print the quality publication in the format that you currently have.
To: Mark Tuttle. Mark, I thought you might be interested in the message below I recently sent to Cycle World on the occasion of their abandoning their monthly magazine subscribers in favor (I guess) of their online facility. As you know, they follow Motorcyclist into the general motorcyclist readership dustbin of history. But this is really a slightly left-handed kudo to you and yours for consistently producing an absolutely outstanding monthly magazine product that bears comparison with the very best of the automobile monthlies such as the revamped Motor Trend and the U.K.’s CAR.
I marvel at every issue of Rider for the uniform excellence of the writing, the numerous, informative photos and generous helping of product and accessory news. All the best to you and the staff and you can be sure I am in for the long haul.
Best regards, Tom Sullivan
To: Cycle World Editor-in-Chief Mark Hoyer
Dear Mark: As a dedicated and reasonably astute subscriber of many years, I must have missed your announcement that CW was going the way of Motorcyclist, Auto Week, Road and Track, and others in putting the proverbial wood to those gullible enough to have committed to paying good money to read the mags.
I am 75 years old and have been riding bikes and reading magazines about them for 55 of those years. As that old Harley guy, Ralph Waldo Emerson, once observed, “The years teach us much that the days never knew.” I have learned many lessons in those years, the most germane, and now recurring, for the present purposes is that when you receive one of your heretofore favorite magazines and it is bound rather than stapled, you should relax, take a soothing breath, and picture being kissed by a beautiful woman…because you are about to be screwed. CW is the latest, and to my mind most regrettable, in this procession of bait-and-up yours publishing.
I do give you some credit for the enthusiasm you feigned in your “New World” comments, what with the “heavy-duty, high-quality quarterly CW, the kind of beautiful, library-worthy print piece you’ll want to keep forever” (emphasis mine) malarkey. A “woke” reader will instantly react to this hyphen-heavy bull with the rhetorical thought, “What the f—, is Marko telling me I will henceforth be getting four issues for the price of twelve? If that’s the case, these b——ds better be prepared to extend my subscription accordingly.”
Ah, but the wily publisher has anticipated this gambit and enlisted its legal advisor to come up with the teensy-tiny-type “disclaimer” on the bottom left of the editorial staff page, “The number of issues in an annual term is subject to change at any time, but the amount of time remaining on your subscription will not be altered.” Got it. So if Bonnier decides to publish CW once a year, the subscriber will be getting the enviable one-for-the-price-of-twelve deal. Even the United States Post Office Stamp Division wouldn’t attempt this crap.
But let’s take a look at what we’re getting in this “New World.” Like Motorcyclist (and where is Bob Greene now that we really need him?), the obvious gambit is to print on heavier paper with a larger typeface to suggest more and better content when the result is exactly the opposite (though you get credit for not expanding the size of the pages and then using wider margins, a la Motorcyclist, as part of this feckless endeavor). Next, like Road and Track and Motorcyclist, include fewer, less informative, less sharp, but larger format pictures to suggest the artsy abstractions that all motorcyclists crave, a la “The Art of the Motorcycle.” Then, like Auto Week, cut the publishing frequency as much as you dare and hope that readers will tag along. (What is the proper term for Auto Week now, Auto Semi-Annual?)
Finally, instead of including new bike and accessory product news, conduct as few road tests as possible to continue to arguably qualify as an enthusiast mag, while rounding up “lifestyle” (aka, navel-gazing) articles on innovative subjects like “surviving” Baja or Death Valley. Your one road test is of a Ducati that, what, one of a thousand riders could afford, assuming they enjoy a back-breaking riding position, and your “survival” articles are so shopworn they could have been lifted out of scores of previous pieces on the exact same subjects published with distressing regularity in biker mags over the years. And don’t rely on Kevin Cameron or Peter Egan to save you with their invariably wonderful writings; the inclusion of their articles will only highlight the vapidity of the rest of the mag.
Finally, finally, there is no “Letters to the Editor” space, I can only presume because you’d rather not conjure up sentiments like these explaining in excruciating detail what you can do with your “library-ready” masterpiece.
I have already cancelled Motorcyclist and Auto Week, and Road and Track is barely hanging on to my subscription dollars. But I never thought I’d see the day when CW went the same, inevitably fatal route as these erstwhile stalwarts. I guess you guys all believe that your websites will be your salvation. I’m sure you realize that in making that commitment, you are forsaking many of the very people who engendered your success in the first place and who still look forward every month to receiving their favorite “oily” mags.
You have relinquished the general motorcycle reading public to Rider magazine and, fortunately, they appear more than up to the task of fulfilling their readers’ interests. They seem to get better every month, an objective you apparently felt you couldn’t achieve, more’s the pity.
I won’t cancel my subscription right away, assuming I could and get a refund in any case. I want to see where this goes. I predict CW will last another three years, at most, and probably not that long. In the meantime, I can assure you that I won’t be husbanding issues for my library, but continue tossing them into the old recycle bin, but this time with more than a little regret.
I wish you well personally and suggest, if you’ve not already done so, that you check out the Rider hiring waters to see if they are hospitable.
Congratulations on 500 issues! Please don’t go all coffee table on us.
Congratulations on this major milestone! I was thrilled to read Rider’s 500th issue from cover to cover which was packed full of current, interesting and downright entertaining information, like a proper motorcycle rag should be.
After a couple days of mourning, it’s pure coincidence that I just cancelled both my Motorcyclist and Cycle World subscriptions after Cycle World followed suit and replaced real content with heavy stock photos and utter irrelevance like Motorcyclist did last year. Very sad to see these once fine publications turn into coffee table fluff—a four-page article on spark plugs?? I am not sure what audiences they are targeting but the good news is the field is wide open for Rider to take up the gap. Take the challenge and go ahead and make Rider even bigger and better. Charge us a couple more bucks if you need to to become THE source for all of us that hover around the mailbox during our cold Nor’ Easters.
Millstone, New Jersey
First and foremost, I wish to thank you for sticking with the traditional motorcycle magazine which is for motorcycle riders and not some rag to lay on the coffee table for people to glance at. Your competition has found it necessary to go from a motorcycle riders’ magazine to one that is for the coffee table and not to be read and enjoyed. I have been riding motorcycles for over 60 years and am still at it. I appreciate your magazine and look forward to receiving it each month. Please continue to publish Rider each month, and if you need to increase the subscription rate to continue, I will gladly pay the extra. I realize that times are tough for publishers of magazines, but please do not forget the rider. One of your competitors has gone to a quarterly magazine, even though we subscribed for twelve issues. I will not be renewing my subscription for their magazine. Your magazine is the best on the market, please don’t change it….
Yucca Valley, California
I wanted to thank Eric for his insights and advice as relates to how to respond to drivers that purposely cut off motorcyclists and the need to keep things in perspective (Riding Well, May 2018). On more than one occasion I have been on the receiving side of dangerous maneuvers by drivers, most recently when a large pickup truck closed the distance quickly behind me. Seeing him approach, I was able to anticipate and provide myself an out if needed by leaving extra room ahead of me. Thank goodness I did, as the moment his rear bumper passed me he swerved back into my lane, narrowly missing my front tire. After the near miss I watched as he made a right turn into the driveway of a donut shop—he was obviously very hungry. I thought back to all of the articles Eric has authored in Rider about not only the need to anticipate what others will do and have a plan, but to keep emotion in check and keep our cool (even though it’s not always easy).
Edward James Masannat
I wanted to second the sentiment in Rodger Duncan’s letter to the editor from the April 2018 issue. The topic of the current moto magazine climate came up among a group of riding friends recently. We were unanimous in not liking the recent reboot of some of the well-established motomags. My younger sportbike/trackday buddy lamented the passing of Sport Rider magazine. None of us liked the new formats, and we also all agreed that we felt ripped off by the change from 12 to 6 and 4 magazines per year.
Rider is the only one of the three mainstream bike mags to keep the 12 issue, bike review, comparison, gear testing format we all enjoy. I was fortunate enough to meet Jenny Smith at the AIME show last year and told her I appreciate the format and writing in Rider.
My friends and I agreed that one of the big reasons for subscribing to a motomag is to read and feel what it is like to ride all these bikes, because we probably won’t get to ride them in real life. Please continue to give us the feeling and sense of what it like to ride the bikes. If you have to raise the price of a subscription then do it but please continue to put the reader in the seat of the bike, and review as many models and as many different types as you can.
Too bad some publishing groups didn’t think that their income problem could be solved by asking for a fair increase in subscription price. Instead they cut issues and are aiming at an audience that very well may not exist.
Keep up the good work.
West Warwick, Rhode Island
Congratulations on the milestone! That’s quite an accomplishment in today’s print world. I have to admit I was surprised when the new format Cycle World showed up in the mailbox. I’ve subscribed to CW as long as I have Rider. While the new quarterly is top quality, I’m not sure it fulfills the main reason I read the magazine: new bike tests. I guess we’ll have to see how it pans out for them. In any case, keep up the good work at Rider. Here’s to another 500!
In the Favorite Ride article of the March issue, Tim Kessel included a map of western Colorado. Don’t know where he got the map, but there is no town of Vernal between Montrose and Ridgway on U.S. Route 550. Vernal is in northeastern Utah! Good article though and a fabulous ride, I guarantee you.
You’re partly right, Thomas, there is a Vernal in Utah, but there is also a Vernal in Colorado, between Montrose and Ridgway. Check Google Maps–it ain’t big, but it’s there! –EIC
Some few years back, I learned the hard way how crowned roads can be dangerous even to a stopped motorcycle. I parked on a crowned road parallel to traffic, and put the bike on its center stand. When I got back on to take off, the bike was leaning (due to the road crown), and when I came off the center stand it was already falling sideways. It came down on my right foot, breaking four bones. An expensive lesson.
I have been a subscriber for several years, and enjoy Rider magazine a lot. I have been riding a Harley Ultra Classic for the past ten years. Besides riding locally, I like to travel on my bike, many times with my wife on board. I am considering getting a new “bagger,” and my wife mentioned that I should consider a trike, due to age, knees….well, just old age!
I also thought we might like a sidecar instead of a trike. Rider has helped me narrow my manufacturer down to a Honda or BMW, but I haven’t decided between a trike or sidecar yet. I would like to request some articles on bike/sidecar units and trikes. I realize some people may feel they are not as glamorous as a two-wheeler. However, one thing to keep in mind is that there are a lot of us older riders out there. It would be a great benefit if somehow you could offer us old farts good information so we can continue to enjoy riding. Thank you for a great magazine.
Wow! Has it been that long? “Time flies when you’re having fun.” I’ve been riding since 1966, and bought my first bike in 1968, a Bridgestone 250 2-stroke. Traded it for a new 1969 Bonneville ($1200.00). I don’t remember exactly when I got started with Rider but it had to be soon after Denis begin publishing and I’ve been a faithful subscriber for years. I’m now 72, and after dozens of bikes I’m riding a Gold Wing (thought that would never happen). In the time since the early ’70s, I now have two grown sons that ride and also are fans of your magazine. Although the content has changed over the past few years, you guys are still the best out there. Like all riders in my age range, we enjoy Clem and always turn to his column first. Had the chance to meet him at a Honda Hoot in Asheville several years ago. Found him to be the great guy that comes across in his columns. All the faithful readers hope you are around for at least another 500 issues. I’ll keep reading until I ride off to meet Jesus. Keep up the great work.
Daytona Beach, Florida
Congratulations on 500! Doesn’t surprise me one bit. I’ve been with you almost the whole time. Denis Rouse, Clement Salvadori, Jamie (sorry, her last name escapes me), some other ladies as well, all great reading. The Dunlop hand drawn ad, worth framing. The Slipstreamer girl, right up there with the Norton girl! (Who’d complain?) Always amazing travel stories. Great to see a Q&A back. The three wheelers? Belong in a car magazine, not Rider.
Hey Mark: a voice from the past. We rode together on an Ayres Adventures ride in Alaska. I used to be at the L.A. Times. I wanted to drop you a line to let you know how much I love Rider. Your book is clearly the class leader after what Bonnier did to Motorcyclist and Cycle World. I can’t imagine what they’re thinking. I truly hope you can capitalize on their huge mistakes.
Rider has by far the best bike reviews, trip reports, gear stuff and columnists. I’m an avid digital subscriber and a big believer in digital publishing. I’m willing to pay what it takes to support high quality mags like yours.
I was very disappointed in the article “Blasts from Rider’s Past” by Jenny Smith. Being a rider for 47 years and a subscriber for some time, I was looking forward to some nostalgic looks back. Instead she begins by telling us of some of the chauvinistic attitudes of the times and comments on one of the ads showing a girl actually being a girl, calling it shocking and would never see the light of day today. We are talking motorcycling in the ’70s and ’80s right? Believe it or not, girls were sweet and innocent at one time. She ruined what could have been a very enjoyable article.
I started riding in ’71. After a few years a buddy said I should check out this new magazine called Rider. If I remember at first you came out twice a year, then went to six. Very soon to twelve. So I think I have received in the high 490s. I may have missed one or two. I’m sorry. Love the magazine and everything in it. Thank you for the 490-plus and I look forward to the next 500.
PS: I have a 5-inch loose-leaf binder full of the Retrospective pages.
Westchester, New York
While the following may not be considered 100-percent motorcycle relevant, I felt I still had to write as the issue is a very sad commentary on today’s state of affairs.
I was very amused at the comment made in your 500th Anniversary issue (May 2018), on page 58, referencing bike ads of the ’70s that “would never see the light of day” in today’s (the following omitted in the article) over-the-top politically correct world! The comment was directed at what was and still today should be considered a warm, affectionate, ad…it showing a guy with his hand on his girlfriend’s (wife’s) bum!
Such actions are not and never were intended to be “sexual harassment” as has become de rigeur in today’s world! A few years back I was talked into returning to coaching 8- to 10-year-olds at the local Boy’s Club. It had just gone co-ed and girls were being included in all of our basketball programs. While making a substitution, and as a sign of encouragement to the substitute (a young boy, thankfully as I was to find out) I patted him on the behind. When the game was concluded I was told I was wanted in the Director’s Office immediately for a meeting…wherein I was informed that my little act (patting a little boy, or girl, especially a little girl on their “bum”) would not, ever again, be tolerated!
Cumberland, Rhode Island
Leaving aside your bum-patting story, we should point out that the “never see the light of day” comment was actually directed at the implication of the ad’s tagline: “You don’t have to baby this baby…she’s built to take it!” combined with the submissive woman and the man with his hand on her rear. Times have changed, and if you’re female they’ve changed for the better. –JS
I have been reading Rider since the ’70s. The best cover was June ’82. Background: red Fokker triplane replica, with iron cross on its tail. Foreground: red BMW R65, with roundel on its tank. Between them, dashing pilot, with scarf hanging down to the end of his jacket.