Rider Magazine, September 2020

Letter of the Month
The editorials that Tuttle and Salvadori penned for July 2020 hit so close to home that they threw a pen into this old rider’s hands. Mark began by telling of his toolkits and requirements over the years. My first homemade toolkits from the 1980s were for a 1979 Sportster and a ’77 Electra Glide. The kits weighed in at about 10 pounds each. The Sportster toolkit actually removed, rebuilt and replaced the transmission one year on a ride to Niagara Falls, New York, from North Carolina. So, I can tell you a thing or two about toolkits. Today’s kit for my BMW GT takes up the same space yet contains a small air compressor, tire repair kit and tools I will never use.

Clement made me smile when he spoke of the disparaging looks that he received from the innkeeper in Skopje, North Macedonia. I know that look! I once had to park below a mom-and-pop motel in Pennsylvania, hiding the bike, in 1991 while on yet another trip to New York. This trip was on the old Electra Glide. I remember removing my jacket and putting on a shirt over my black tee as I went in to inquire about overnight lodgings.

Fast-forward 29 years and you will find me staying at four-star motels while parking my BMW K 1200 GT right there under the office awning. I get the best rates with my AARP discount.

I love reading the editorials each month! They take me back home and back to the bikes that brought me here. I miss those bikes and those rides but I would not want to ride those miles again…unless of course you asked me to, LOL. Keep it between the lines and the pages my friends. I will keep reading!

Tony Phillips
Carolina Beach, North Carolina

Tony, we’re overjoyed that the editorials in Rider take you back to spending time on two wheels, whether it’s roadside maintenance or memories of great rides in the past and the bikes you did them on. Motorcycling is often seen as an individual sport or activity, but what I find interesting is that off-hand riding tales can resonate so deeply with fellow riders. Your response struck a chord with us here at Rider, and our friends at Michelin. As our Letter of the Month winner, you’ll be receiving a Michelin branded beverage bottle and Nelson-Rigg tank bag, to help keep you on the road and collecting those stories for many years to come. – NdS

Familiar Turns
I enjoyed June’s Western New England ride (“Ride Along The Riverside”) by Scott A. Williams. Having lived there in my younger days I can confirm how beautiful an area it is and I sometimes regret not being able to take a ride on those roads. How surprised I was to see last month’s ride review in Central Pennsylvania (“The Pennsylvania Wilds”) where I’ve lived for the past 30 years. I can once again confirm that the rides in this area are worth every mile you can put on your odometer. I rarely ride simply to get to a destination, and it’s easy to take for granted the area you live in. Most often I ride just to spend a few hours on the backroads and enjoy the scenery and fresh air such an area affords. Alas, next month I’ll read the ride review done in an area I’ll likely never get to experience and wonder what it would be like, but I will always enjoy the rides I experience in Central Pennsylvania. Keep up the good work.

Jeremy Santos
Huntingdon, Pennsylvania

The Bright Side
Excellent editorial (One-Track Mind, August 2020). You expressed what a lot of people are probably feeling. In these difficult times I do believe that hope is of critical importance. Like most people, the last few months have been some of the most emotional of my life. I vacillate between bouts of sadness over what this pandemic has taken away from us, to anger that the virus even exists, to hopelessness that things will ever get back to normal. But motorcycles have been my steady, emotional “rock” to keep me grounded.

I’ve finally confronted my fear of carburetors and successfully cleaned not just one, but five of them (four motorcycles and one lawnmower!). I’m using all the free time to ride our dirt bikes with my son more than we ever have. I’ve also taken a few long day rides with my daughter, and have ordered and am reading all the motorcycle related books I’ve said I would read “someday.” I’ve dived head first into all things motorcycle and it has created a giant distraction from the current situation we’re all trying to live through.

It is easy to forget about the pandemic for a short time while riding, and it feels great. It somehow does instill new hope that yes, eventually things will get back to normal.

Trevor Denis
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Moving Pictures
I am enjoying the online version of your magazine, especially the videos you include. It’s fun to hear Mark speak, though his voice is a lot deeper than I imagined. Please have Clem do some videos; I would love to hear my favorite Rider columnist speak. I’m looking forward to getting back to normal and holding a real Rider magazine in my hands.

Jim Conner
Sigourney, Iowa

Jim, you can hear Clem not only speak but thoroughly regale our regular podcast audience with tales from his motorcycling life and the road in Episode #3 of the Rider Magazine Insider podcast, now available on our website ridermagazine.com and SoundCloud, Stitcher and iTunes. – EIC

In for the Long Haul
I have been a subscriber to Rider since I started riding in 1990. Throughout the years that have flown by every Rider issue seems to get better than the last. I feel like you and the folks at Rider have been my companions along for this great ride. In every issue there seems to be an article or two where I say, “Yes! They get it.” It’s been a great ride and I’m hoping there are many more miles of smiles ahead. Over the years I was able to attend the Rider Rallies and even got to mingle with you, Clem and Alan Paulsen at the Honda Hoot and Americade. You and your great publication continue to hit all the right buttons. I recently came across this T-shirt and it made me smile and miss those great events. Heck I even got a photo with Mr. Salvadori sans his beret (Honda Hoot 2007!) Keep on doing what you do and I will continue to be along for the journey!

Ed Apelian
Charlotte, North Carolina

I’ve been riding 40 years up and down the highway, and I’ve seen a lot of junk strewn about the road. A 6-foot ladder smashed and run over by multiple vehicles was one of the most shocking!

I was driving home from up north, Memorial Day weekend, on I-69 east of Lansing, Michigan, with my wife and Great Dane in the minivan (dorky yes, but practical). We were flying along at 75 mph, in front of the wolf pack in the right lane, when we came upon an RV lumbering along at 56 mph. I couldn’t get over, so I was stuck with no view ahead of the huge RV, and after braking, was just a shade too close.

I broke a cardinal rule and knew it.

Two seconds later, the RV ran over a roughly 3-foot piece of shredded truck tire. They call those “gators.” It flew up and hit my vehicle in the air dam under the bumper. It ripped that half off and bounced off the Stow-n-Go sub floor in the middle and back of the van. Three big bangs — yikes!

I pulled off at the next exit with a sinking feeling. The damage was minimal, but what if I had been on my motorcycle? Things happen so fast at speed and that moment of H.U.A.D. (Head Up A_s Disease) could be life changing. That piece of tire probably weighed anywhere from 10 to 20 pounds.

Don’t tailgate, even for a second, for a dozen different reasons.

Kevin H. Kent
New Baltimore, Michigan

Things do happen quickly when you’re out on the road and letters like this always serve as a perfect reminder. As riders, we need to keep our wits about us and try to make sure that we mitigate the risks as much as we can. Many of those risks are out of our control, so it’s best to always try to put yourself in a position where you have a chance of dealing with them. – NdS 


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