From Silence the Word

Uniquely Jeff Emig

Words by Andy Taylor | Photos courtesy Taylor Creative


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Everyone who watched Jeff Emig race a motorcycle in the early ’80s could see he had the flow—a natural control. Head up. Eyes forward. Back straight. He was poetry in motion when he was on a motocross track, touted from his early teen years as something special. He had “it.”

Though it didn’t necessarily come easy. Emig’s ability on the bike was more the result of being able to summon a singular focus. Champions have a unique power to quiet the outside world at the moment everything is on the line. Like his motorcycle, when Emig rode, he screamed: “Race me.” “Push me.” “Tell me I can’t.” On the bike, everything made sense. His world was simple, and he the master of it.

 

Off the bike, Emig struggled with expressing himself. The idea of speaking in front of a stranger was daunting, a terrifying endeavor. Imagine being a natural-born champion, yet privately fighting something most of society takes as everyday routine.

 

Today, Jeff Emig can be seen in broadcasts every weekend throughout the winter as the voice of supercross. Thirty-five years ago, he was a simple Kansas City kid who hauled ass on a dirtbike, but who also secretly struggled with the demons of a speech impediment. Staring down at the gate was nothing compared to the logistics of a basic conversation. Emig had a stuttering problem. He couldn’t get the words out, while on the inside his frustrated mind was always going as fast as his Supermini. In his youth, it was easier for Emig to choose silence rather than face the snowballing humiliation of tripping over his words again and again.

 

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Imagine lining up for a supercross main event as a top contender. Fifty thousand fans are on their feet, shouting waves of electric energy. Blazing pyrotechnics cut through the damp night sky. Heart rates accelerate. Your entire life has been pointed toward this moment—toward this race. And all that fills your mind is the dread of that approaching microphone.

In Emig’s days as a professional, the trackside commentator would walk down the line and have each rider introduce himself to the crowd. The closer the microphone got, the more Emig’s spirit sank. There he was, trying to do his job and race a motorcycle, with a black hole growing in his stomach at the idea of speaking into a microphone. He had a secret disdain for the announcer holding the mic and coming ever closer to his spot on the line. Emig always made it through just fine, but shifting his mind back to the business at hand wasn’t easy, and it took its toll.

For years, it was difficult for Emig to comprehend how this distraction affected his racing. For him, there was speaking and there was racing; the two did not intersect. But, over time, he realized confidence was being ripped from him—and on the stage where he needed it most. Professional motocross is a level of top-tier competition, a mental battlefield, and Emig often started his bike on the gate with his confidence at a devastating low, all because of his relentless struggle with that microphone.

As Emig entered the peak of his career, he made a decision: It was time to face this thing down. On the motorcycle, he was a champion. He learned to gain strength from failure, and understood the force and wherewithal it took to reach a transcendent moment. It was time to use unstoppable will to find his words.

 

If you would have walked up to someone at the Loretta Lynn’s Amateur National in the mid-’80s and told them Jeff Emig would be the voice of our sport in the future, they would have laugh-spewed sweet tea in your face. But it’s only because most people don’t have the thing in them, the thing that would rather die than quit, nor do they understand it.

Emig reached for the same determination he used to beat the world’s best motocross racers. He attacked the problem as a competitor. Toiling through countless hours of grinding therapy sessions and exercises, he fought through his obstacles. Every champion is born with the power to tirelessly chase a goal until it is in their grip. Jeff Emig had reached the pinnacle of racing and now had a new rabbit to chase.

The days following retirement can be brutal for a professional athlete. Remolding a career after a lifetime of relentlessly pursuing one goal—motocross glory—requires dipping a toe back into the motivation well. For Emig, it was more than finding something he enjoyed and the drive to do it. He had to overcome a lifelong obstacle more perplexing than the gnarliest of rhythm sections. The beauty of being on the motorcycle was living in his own secluded domain. Now Emig felt thrown into the lion’s den. Speaking had always been a nagging part of his job—an afterthought, more than anything. But now he would need to do a lot more of it.

 

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But there’s a common theme in the life of Jeff Emig: He sets his mind to it, and it happens. From racer to announcer, Emig applies the power of will to all of his challenges. But perhaps Emig’s most important quality is his humility and willingness to be just as open about his struggles as he is his victories. For Emig, his early failures were a learning experience, building blocks on his journey to becoming an icon of the sport on and off the motorcycle.

 

Along with his goals in business and sport, Emig still has places he wants to go in life, and goals to achieve on the way. He genuinely loves helping people find the drive to realize their dreams. He doesn’t unmask his life struggles for enjoyment; he does it because he understands the importance of lifting people up, of helping them reach new levels of potential. His desire to break boundaries brought him to the summit of motocross success as a multi-time champion, one of the greatest professionals the ’90s ever produced, and the same hunger continues to drive him forward off the track. He hopes in the future to communicate such a desire to anyone who will let him. The innate ability to catch sight of a goal and unyieldingly chase it is what makes a champion, a champion. For Jeff Emig, there is no other way to go about living.


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Read the story in Volume 005

Carey Hart

The Marketing Maven

Words by Brett Smith | Photos by Aaron Brimhall


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Carey Hart has a fear of being broke. Yes, one of the most recognizable motorcyclists in the world—who transcended freestyle motocross more than a decade ago, who still collects a paycheck for riding, who owns a chain of high-end tattoo shops, runs a clothing line, and co-owns a team that wins Monster Energy Supercross and Lucas Oil Pro Motocross races—is scared of going belly up. It’s an esoteric thing for him to say, yet it’s the first comment given when asked where his energy comes from, why his brain spews an unlimited supply of ideas. The fear of an empty bank account is partially what motivates him to finish a 10,000-meter SkiErg workout by 5:30 a.m. and answer emails and messages before the sun rises. There are businesses and deals to keep an eye on—a lot of them. Hart isn’t delicate with his words; he’s pointed, honest, and quick-witted. Sitting on a metal workbench in his 4,000-square-foot garage filled with motorcycles, bicycles, tools, half-built hotrods, guns, skateboards, and a lofted fitness center (yes, a fitness center), Hart needs no prodding. He’s happy to explain how a tattooed scumbag from Las Vegas became way more successful in business than he ever did as a rider and how he’s now winning races in a sport that, two decades ago, didn’t want anything to do with him. 

 

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Hart’s actions, however, betray his fears; judging from his history, he seems unafraid to fail, and there’s one action that helped launch Hart’s name well beyond the motorcycle microcosm and proved that he would take big risks in life: the first backflip attempt, at the 2000 Gravity Games in Providence, Rhode Island. He didn’t know if he could do it, no other riders were making the effort to try, and many thought Hart was nuts for even thinking about it. While Hart estimates he spun 600 practice flips on a bicycle under the guidance of friend, roommate, and BMX professional TJ Lavin, nobody was able to truly teach him the physics of inverting a 220-pound Honda CR250 and bringing it back to the rubber. Beyond that, nobody at that point knew the geometry of a proper takeoff ramp. It was all one giant experiment. Hart’s father, Tom, took a loader and carved into the face of one of the freestyle landings, cutting a 12- to 13-foot wall that Hart remembers looking to be 2 degrees away from completely vertical. With a shovel, Hart spent two hours digging and shaping and throwing his hands in the air in animated visualization of what he was soon to attempt. 

 

When Hart dropped in on what was supposed to be a 75-second-long freestyle run, the standing-room-only crowd already knew what was going on. In an unintentional marketing maneuver, he didn’t try to keep his backflip plan a secret.

 

“Ninety-nine percent of the people in the stadium thought a backflip was impossible,”

 

he says today. But he certainly had the attention of 100 percent of the audience. Hart didn’t come to Providence to win a medal. He hit no other jumps, did no other tricks; it was backflip or bust. After two passes to feel out the makeshift takeoff, he clicked into second gear, repeatedly blipped the throttle on approach, then grabbed a handful through the transition. He shot 30 to 35 feet in the air from the flat bottom, spun slightly more than a complete rotation, brought both tires back to dirt, and crashed; technically, he failed, yet he simultaneously succeeded. Even today he admits everything he did on the jump was wrong, from the ramp angle to the amount of speed he carried into the approach, but he was the first person to prove it was possible. While he didn’t actually land a backflip, he landed himself and the sport into unprecedented media territories; everyone was talking about Carey Hart.

 

 

“Someone was going to attempt it,” he says. “It was a matter of time. I wanted it to be me.” 

 

The backflip as a business-strategy model has been used over and over by Hart for 15 years; he’s not afraid to be the first one in, but he’s smart enough to know when something isn’t working well.

Now 40, Hart can still remember the feeling of being broke. Broke was cold showers as a child because the gas service had been cut off. It was the nights when homework was finished with a flashlight because there was no power in the Las Vegas home where he lived with his dad. These periods were some of the happiest in his life because he always had motorcycles to ride, always raced on the weekends, and developed a passion that eventually turned into a career. The Harts were not in poverty, but they often prioritized motorcycles over paying bills. Hart was born in Seal Beach, California, but his parents split soon after, and when he was 4, he and his father moved to Las Vegas. They bonded over bikes. A construction worker, Tom Hart would “borrow” heavy equipment from the job sites of his employer on the weekends to build tracks for Carey on undeveloped land outside of town. During the week, Carey rode on the gas tank of Tom’s clapped-out Suzuki RM250 for the 6-mile fire-road commute to school. In the afternoons, Tom would be waiting at the curb to take him home. Everything they did together revolved around motorcycles.

 

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Hart, himself now a father, doesn’t want to have to choose between paying utilities and buying new tires, but he’s thankful for the unconventional sacrifices his dad made. But there were lessons in work ethic, too, and Hart got a taste of manual labor working with his father and uncles. Being 12 years old and shoveling asphalt or pouring concrete under the full force of the southern Nevada sun in August isn’t something a kid forgets. Ever. For many summers, that was how Hart made extra money to buy himself a new pair of riding boots or a helmet. During the school year, his job was to maintain grades at the A/B level or the bikes were  parked—“And there was a couple of times that my bikes were parked,” he says—but if he was going to predict the direction his life was heading in, swinging a shovel, toting a wheelbarrow, and choking on drywall dust wasn’t it. Hart knew what he didn’t want to do for the rest of his life. 

Hart has been blessed—or cursed, depending on how you see it—with what he calls “Hart Luck,” and the play on words (“hard luck”) has become not only a tattooed reminder on his knuckles, but part of his brand. 

 

“I’ve always said I had ‘Hart Luck’ because sometimes it’s really great and a good chunk of times it’s really, really bad,” 

 

he says. Hart is a glass-half-full type of person and would say the good luck is winning. For all the right timing, relationships, investments, and well-calculated risks, Hart’s life has been filled with tragedies that he has been able to turn into opportunities to create something better, bigger. 

 

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He’s broken close to 80 bones and is still trying to repair all the damage from his horrendous collisions with the earth. In February 2014, two vertebrae in his lower spine were fused to alleviate back pain. He already knows he needs a hip replacement, and he’s currently nursing a torn right rotator cuff. He’s had two riding crashes that should have killed him—one in 1991 as an amateur racer and another in October 2003 at the Tacoma, Washington, stop of Tony Hawk’s Boom Boom Huck Jam. In Tacoma, he broke bones in every limb and spent four weeks in intensive care because blood clots breaking free in his body threatened to take his life. The 2003 crash effectively ended his freestyle motocross career. During recovery, he focused his energy on the Hart and Huntington Tattoo Company, which opened its first store less than four months after the crash. Preparing to become a proprietor was sort of like learning to flip.

 

“I didn’t know a fucking thing about running a business,”  

 

he says bluntly. But Hart, who had been drawing on his own skin since elementary school and received his first permanent tattoo on his 18th birthday—some flames, skulls, and #111 on his left pec—knew the tattoo business could benefit from an image upgrade. He wanted to move it away from a niche, gritty, edgy, feels-like-you’re-doing-something-almost-illegal environment to an upscale, service-oriented, glossier establishment. He convinced George Maloof, Jr., then the majority owner of the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas and the NBA’s Sacramento Kings, to gamble on allowing him to open a tattoo parlor amongst the boutique shops and day spas. Hart said no other casino in Las Vegas had tried having a tattoo shop as part of its retail lineup. Again, Hart wanted to be the first.

 

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The tattoo parlor led to a TV show on A&E, which led to a marketable brand, more store locations, a book, a nightclub, late-night TV interviews, and a cast-member role on season five of VH1’s “The Surreal Life,” where Hart taught Jose Canseco how to ride a motorcycle.

While most top American motorcycle athletes go unrecognized outside the two-wheeled world, Hart became so famous that he remembers encountering people who were surprised to learn he also rode dirt bikes. His notoriety was spread amongst several buckets: motorcycles, business, television, and as the boyfriend of musician P!nk (Alecia Moore), whom he married in June 2006. While he was growing businesses, walking red carpets at the Grammys and other galas, and producing reality TV, Hart still wanted to be an athlete. After spending two years recovering from the Boom Boom crash, he knew his days of trying to win freestyle contests were over. He started a supermoto racing team instead, and in 2006 they contested the AMA series. In the summer of 2007, the “Hart Luck” reared when the entire Hart and Huntington race rig turned into a roadside barbecue on I-15 during a drive to Salt Lake City. The team lost everything—the vehicles, bikes, tools, and parts—and Hart learned the valuable lesson about insuring the contents of a trailer as well as the trailer itself. With just a few weeks until X Games, an event that would provide more exposure for his sponsors than all the other races combined, Hart scratched out a $500,000 check to buy a Concept Hauler, eight new motorcycles, parts, and more, and then called an emergency meeting with his team manger. 

 

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“Me and Kenny Watson sat at the Spearmint Rhino in Vegas with a napkin and started writing out ideas to do a [supercross] team,” 

 

Hart says. With that much money laid out, he knew he wouldn’t get the desired return from competing in supermoto, and he couldn’t afford to hire freestyle riders, who, at the time, were fetching $100,000 a year from clothing sponsors. The end goal was to promote the Hart and Huntington brand at the races. “Sell tattoos and T-shirts,” he says. “A supercross team that goes out and does 17 supercrosses is a lot cheaper than sponsoring five freestyle riders. That was kind of the business model that I built, or the justification for doing my supercross team.”

The year 2008 was possibly the worst to start anything. Financial troubles consumed the country and the catchphrase “You know, with the economy the way it is and all” was becoming part of the American lexicon. In October, the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) authorized nearly $500 billion in expenditures to bail out U.S. banks and auto manufacturers. The motorcycle makers started a sales decline that lasted for half a decade, and Carey Hart decided it was time to go racing. His agent, Wasserman Media Group’s Steven Astephen, jokingly told him he was an idiot. 

 

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“I have always cared about him personally,” Astephen says. “It’s a hard, hard gig, and it wasn’t the right time to be doing it when he did it. He put a lot at risk.” 

Hart wasn’t deterred, and he said his total out-of-pocket investment was close to $1 million in the first three to four years. “I just looked at it as an investment into the brand,” he explains. “I love the sport of motocross; I love going to the races. Nowadays, it’s tricky; this thing has grown into a monster. We now deal with Fortune 500 companies.” 

At the 1992 World Mini Grand Prix, Kenny Watson was helping out a friend who was racing. Parked next to them was a 16-year-old 125 intermediate rider named Carey Hart and his dad. Watson didn’t speak to them, but remembered the bond the father and son shared over being at the races. Four years later, at a supercross race, Watson—wrenching for Scott Sheak—was parked next to Hart again. They met, and Watson remembers the teenager having an edge to him—“Not cocky, but grounded,” Watson remembers. He was most impressed with how the kid was doing it on his own and living in a van, sleeping on couches, sometimes staying at KOA campgrounds, being resourceful. “He was business savvy, budget oriented, and knew how much money he needed to keep going,” Watson says. “I respected him for that.”

 

In the world of freestyle motocross and tattoos, talking about mathematics is not an image-building topic, but Hart says he has always loved numbers, and he graduated from Green Valley High in Henderson, Nevada, with honors in 1993. He thought he might someday become an accountant if he didn’t become a supercross champion first. By 1998 Hart had appeared in several freeride videos, already had sleeve tattoos running up his arms, and rode for Fleshgear, a baggy-riding-gear company—his first paying sponsor. Greg Schnell was a friend and practice partner. Hart remembers sitting in a pickup truck together laughing over the language of a contract Schnell had signed: no visible tattoos, no colored hair, no piercings. Motocross was attempting to protect its image and distance itself from the burgeoning freeriding and freestyle culture.

But Hart was still racing in the late ’90s. In 1998, he traveled the entire AMA Supercross series, competing in the premier class. He made two main events in the 16-round tour, Daytona and Minneapolis, and he finished dead last in both. In the Cycle News coverage from Daytona, the text from the last-chance qualifier recap read, “Bauder always had to keep an eye on Kawasaki rider Cory [sic] Hart.” After the supercross finale in Las Vegas on May 2, Hart’s phone didn’t ring, even though he felt he was a top privateer with promise. “Nobody wanted to help me,” he says. “I’m like, ‘Fuck it. I’m over it. This is it. I’m done.’” 

 

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He enrolled in the Community College of Southern Nevada for the fall semester of 1998. He was getting an education to become an accountant. That summer, he got the opportunity to spend nine weeks jumping in the Warped Tour for $1,000 a week plus per diem. He still went to school that fall, finished the first semester, and had plans to transfer to UNLV, but 4 Leaf Entertainment had started a freestyle motocross series that Hart squeezed in on weekends. The series expanded in 1999 and Hart took a semester off school to focus on building his trick list. Seventeen years later, life hasn’t slowed down.

“The little chemistry project that I did with my tattoo shops and TV shows and promotions, it was a college education,” he says. “It was also a whole lot more expensive than a college education.”

 

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Somewhere in the two decades of Hart’s career as a professional racer/rider and entrepreneur, he learned the value of ROI (return on investment) and how to under-promise and over-deliver. Even as a young freestyle rider, Hart knew his sponsors expected something in return for the money they were paying him. When he and Watson went supercross racing full time in 2008, Troy Adams and Cole Siebler were the riders—hardly a lineup expected to win races. Hart knew the return to his sponsors wasn’t going to come from the racetrack—at least not right away. But he had also not forgotten the feeling from the late ’90s when he couldn’t find enough support to keep his own racing career alive. That chip on his shoulder still has sharp edges.

 

“I wanted to come back and prove everyone wrong, prove that some tattooed scumbag can run a business and be successful and eventually, hopefully, win races,” he says.

 

 

But first he had to show commitment and growth, and that meant doing something better than Honda and Kawasaki and Yamaha and the other teams. Instead of keeping their team area shrouded in secrecy and erecting barriers to keep out the fans, Hart decided he had to win off the track. They called it “activation.” “We embrace the fans, we embrace the people,” he says. “We bring them into our truck. We want to establish that touch and feel of what racing is now. Now you look through the pits and everybody is doing it, which is great. I feel like we’ve helped change the sport of supercross from an experience standpoint.”

Loyalty is important, and Watson said he noticed it as far back as 2006, when they were a truck/trailer supermoto team.

“I always noticed how many people loved [Hart] and wanted to be around him,” Watson says. “He wasn’t winning. He was a top-10 guy, but he had so many people around his truck.” Hart has at least one fan so loyal that she tattooed his autograph onto her body. The four bars of the Hart and Huntington logo is a tattoo he’s seen on the arms, legs, and bodies of many fans. He is flattered by the gesture. At the races, Hart makes sure the fans feel like they’re part of something, and the team tracks these experiences and takes extra effort to make sure the engagement goes beyond the races.

 

“We work extremely close with the sponsors and we figure out what their mechanism is. You want to sell hotels? You want to sell vehicles, you want people to see your logo, you want feet in the door? We really focus on that and try to give a return on that,” Hart says. By 2012, however, they knew they had hit a ceiling. The show in the pits was working, but the on-track performance had improved as much as it could without better equipment and the technical knowledge to attract top talent. Team Hart and Huntington was still writing checks to Pro Circuit for performance work, and the bikes, while not stock, could have been built by any rider. Hart wanted more, and in February 2012 he leaked a hint on the “PulpMX” radio show. 

“I don’t want to just be a dog-and-pony show in the pits,” Hart told host Steve Matthes. “I want to go, eventually, still be a dog-and-pony show, but win races. I want the best of both worlds. That’s what we’re working on for 2013.”

 

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In October 2012, Hart and 15-time AMA Supercross/Motocross champion Ricky Carmichael announced a partnership that would have seemed like an April Fool’s joke 10 years prior. The team’s name was changing to RCH Racing and Carmichael was bringing Suzuki factory equipment and support and his own technical knowledge that he used to win 150 career races. Watson was friends with Carmichael long before becoming co-workers and remembers the idea first being floated in the summer of 2011. At that point, Watson says, Carmichael was contemplating starting his own race team. Instead, Carmichael asked Watson to set up a meeting with Hart at the Anaheim Supercross opener in 2012. Nine months later, they announced the partnership. “The marketing power that Carey has is second to none, and I needed to join a team that I could bring something to,” Carmichael said at the announcement that year.

On Jan. 3, 2015, RCH won its first Monster Energy Supercross race, and the 55-pound trophy, signed by rider/winner Ken Roczen, is on display in Hart’s garage. Hart remembers the emotions being surreal, and he was so elated about the win that he posted four different photos of the trophy to his Instagram feed that night. He also remembers the overwhelming feeling the next day of both satisfaction and the urge to do it again and chase the next milestone: a championship. 

 

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On a warm December morning, that’s exactly what Hart is doing in his garage as he conducts business over the phone while preparing his own riding gear. Or maybe he’s working on his new 10-year deal with the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, of which he was the grand marshall in 2015. Or maybe he’s working on the upcoming opening of the new tattoo-shop location: Nashville. Or maybe he’s setting up a riding tour with Fox, whose roster he’s still on as a rider. Maybe he’s negotiating a deal for a new television show. It could be anything; Hart is always grinding, looking for the next best way to get exposure for those who believe in and invest in his brand. 

Now living on a 220-acre vineyard in California with his wife and 4 1/2-year-old daughter, Willow, Hart’s life is drastically different from the humble desert-rat upbringing of rural Nevada. As big as Hart’s businesses, image, and list of assets have become, he’s never developed an ego. While his personal stock has grown, “He is the same person no matter what room he is in or who is in the room,” said his wife, in September 2012 during an appearance on “The View.” Hart nods in agreement when asked about the statement.

 

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“I’m just a straight shooter. I have no time for bullshit and I don’t want to be around people that have to act certain ways in different circles. I’m me, love me or hate me. Rarely is there anything in between.”

 

After all the questions and shutter clicks—through which Hart was immensely patient—he drops everything to go back into his home and take care of priority number one, his most prized possession, the invaluable asset that he’s most proud of:  his family.


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Read the story in Volume 005

Alternation

Leticia Cline

Words by Leticia Cline | Photos by Matt Jones


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The morning air was crisp, each inhale serving as a brisk wakeup call, stinging the lungs. I awoke with a knot in my stomach from yesterday’s decision to rent a motorcycle and set out on a 400-mile ride. It had been six years since I had been on a bike, and the rapid beating in my chest reminded me of that with every thump. I sat on my porch and my thoughts turned to my father, who taught me to ride and, up until his death, had been my steadfast road-trip partner. I was afraid. I was alone. But this was something that was bigger than just me and a motorcycle. 

A lot had changed in six years. The women’s movement in motorcycling was something that I was not well familiar with. I’d never ridden with girls, and really did not even surround myself with them in regular life. I had a couple of women friends at that time and even they acted more like men than most men I know. For the first time in my life, I was nervously yearning to be accepted, even though I wasn’t yet sure why.

 

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Having become familiar with the massive population of female motorcyclists through social media, I found myself wanting to do more than just connect with women online; I wanted to actually meet, to hear their stories in person and ride with them. For so long, we women have been labeled as “catty” and “emotionally unstable,” and even though I am a woman, I generally tended to agree—up until I discovered this subculture of women who actually encouraged one another. Maybe it’s because they are a subculture and by nature that comes with the territory; those in the minority tend to look out for each other.

It’s no secret that women have been riding motorcycles for a long time. What’s changing now is that women are no longer encouraging only other women to ride, but men as well. We have become pop culture, showing up in ads for anything from purses to mascara to feature films, riding away into the sunset at the handlebars, not feebly sitting on the hero’s backseat.

 

Today, one in four motorcyclists is a woman; there are nearly seven million female riders worldwide, a 45 percent increase since 2003.

 

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Every day, a new women’s motorcycle club or woman rider is born, and the world is taking notice. The American Motorcyclist Association’s #getwomenriding hashtag demonstrates an understanding for the movement and, more importantly, support. They even highlighted female influencers in the industry, including Ducati rider and blogger Alicia Elfving (The Moto Lady) and East Side Moto Babes member and racer Stacie B. London (Triple Nickel 555). Microsoft even highlighted woman rider, racer, and builder Jessi Combs in their #DoMore campaign.

Surprisingly enough, men have had a lot to do with making this women’s movement possible. The male culture of motorcycling has finally recognized that there’s more to women and motorcycles beyond the idea of “Hey, she’s hot. Let’s put her on a bike and take pictures.” It’s because of a man, my father, that I started riding, and a lot of other women were introduced to motorcycles in similar fashion. Whether it be a boyfriend, friend, brother, uncle, or father, they are teaching alongside us women that our daughters no longer have to conform to societal norms, that they, too, can break through the glass ceiling created from age-old mindsets. It’s a common struggle for all riders, men and women alike. The modern American motorcyclist is not a rebel and lawbreaker who doesn’t bathe and looks like a Sailor Jerry tattoo photo. 

 

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The women’s movement in motorcycling is important for more than just the girls who swing a leg over a bike. The biggest challenge ladies face is overcoming insecurities. Since birth, we have been told that we are the weaker sex, that we should uphold some old-school standard of femininity. Comments like “You’re too pretty” or “You act like a girl” are still common criticisms in today’s world. What’s worse is that after hearing it over and over, you believe it. It holds a lot of women back, and at the same time it’s the fire that ignites a lot of us to ride, run, play, jump, or push even harder. The women on bikes inspire not just those within the realm of motorcycles, but anyone who has ever felt too weak, too small, too fragile, or simply afraid to do something they always wanted to do.

It’s a great time to be a woman riding a motorcycle. The legacies of the women before us are heard now more than ever, and new legacies are being created every day.

 

Every time you get on a bike, you are saying to the rest of the world that you live passionately and ambitiously and not only do you not mind being a leader, but you revel in it. Women riders are changing the way the world thinks, one mile at a time.

 

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I have been fortunate enough in my travels to have met a lot of you who own the title of female motorcyclist. I read your stories online, l listen as you talk with passion and vigor, and I retell those stories to others in hopes of encouraging them to take the first step toward living an adventurous life. I am but one voice in this movement; there are so many others, and it’s with all of our voices combined that we become one and provoke change. You all inspire me. That may sound cheesy, but by my feminine nature, I hold the right to get emotional when need be, damn it!

Not long ago I was just a girl sitting on the edge of her porch, nervous to embark on a fuel-inspired journey. Finally understanding the desire and hunger that you ladies feel ignited a fire within me. I finally feel like I have made it home, and now I understand what it means to be a part of something great. I’m so happy that you all have embraced me with open arms.

 

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So I say ladies, celebrate your ability to be a woman who’s not afraid to get beat up and dirty. Paint your nails and chip the polish on your journey. Fix your hair and stuff it in a helmet. There is no reason that you cannot be both feminine and powerful, and as long as you believe that, then there is nothing you cannot do alone and nothing we cannot do together.

 

“Other people will call me a rebel, but I just feel like I’m living my life and doing what I want to do. Sometimes people will call that rebellion, especially when you’re a woman.”

Joan Jett


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Read the story in Volume 004

Fearless Leader

The Legend of Evel Knievel

Words by Andrew Campo


 

Several years back, my mother was in my ear about world crisis—preaching her views on government, the conspiracy of the Illuminati, and their role in the impending economic collapse—but I was tuned out, thumbing through a fresh issue of Racer X. I tried to make eye contact, faking my best “Oh, really?” expression every so often, hoping she’d let me get back to the “real issue” at hand. The charade was over; she wasn’t buying it. She could see by the blank stare in my eyes that I was elsewhere. Her voice cut through my thought process like a hatchet:

“All you have thought about since the third grade is motocross; can’t you put down that magazine and give your mom five minutes of focus?”

I knew the answer to her question was no. I did not have five minutes of focus for rantings about global chaos. 

My love affair with motorbikes began when I was 4 years old. Since then it’s grown infinitely, its infectious and inexplicable nature weaving its way into every facet of my life and of those around me. Motorcycles create a special bond and unite the souls of those who ride them. As we started to pull together the pages of this book, I drifted back to my earliest memories of motorcycles and the people who introduced them to my life in an attempt to celebrate it in written word. Tracing the thread back in my mind, I arrived at the memory of me building backyard ramps for a toy that would impact me for decades to come and ultimately help to shape my character.

 

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In 1973, New York–based Ideal Toys created toys based on Butte, Montana’s daredevil son, Robert “Evel” Knievel. This toy changed my life and history was made. I spent countless hours winding up the stunt machine and sending Knievel rocketing to ramps better suited for “Hot Rod”; he jumped anything and everything I could conjure up. Win, lose or draw, I was addicted to those precious seconds between takeoff and touchdown. Those moments when time slows down, life hangs in the balance and one way or another you’re gonna leave saying, “Whew, that was a hell of a ride.” When it was time for bed, I would end the day with a gander through one of my Evel Knievel comic books, and when I woke up and headed to school, you can bet your ass I didn’t forget my Evel Knievel lunchbox. I could care less about football teams, superheroes, any of that. I was on a steady diet of dirtbikes, Farrah Fawcett and AC/DC at an early age when most kids were playing around with Stars Wars figures and Little League.

 

Knievel had become a household name, but to me he was much, much more. American hero, daredevil, death defier and living legend defined his character and created an allure that put him above all on my list of badass dudes. Knievel was a pioneer who would influence my life path for decades to come. From jumping my sisters on my Schwinn Stingray back in ’77 to going over the bars and cartwheeling into the Pacific in February of 2014 to the Whiskey Daredevils tattoo I wear with pride, Knievel has been there as my fearless leader.

 

 

The legend of his death-defying feats came to life at sold-out stadiums across the globe as fans flocked in anticipation of witnessing the baddest man on two wheels hurl his Harley over anything standing in his way. He was a one-man show of enormous stature in a golden era. Through the ever-furrowed brow and piercing stare of his trading card, Knievel challenged me to fight the system and defy the odds. Knievel’s story is best told through the facts below, but not before noting his eminent ingenuity and ability to look forward. His marketing genius not only influenced kids of the era and beyond, but it also opened the door for his son, “Kaptain” Robbie Knievel, and the likes of Travis Pastrana and Robbie Maddison, who continue to keep his daredevil spirit alive. The legend of Evel Knievel will stand the test of time. As an journalist, a fan and a motorcyclist, it is simply an honor to put this to press.

 

Evel Knievel, 1938–2007 

An American Daredevil


More Facts on the legend, Evel Knievel

 

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After a police chase in 1956 in which he crashed his motorcycle, Knievel was taken to jail on a charge of reckless driving. When the night jailer came around to check the roll, he noted Robert Knievel in one cell and William Knofel in the other. Knofel was well known as “Awful Knofel” (“awful” rhyming with “Knofel”), so Knievel began to be referred to as “Evel Knievel” (“Evel” rhyming with “Knievel”). He chose this misspelling because of his last name and because he didn’t want to be considered “evil.” 

Wanting a new start away from Butte, Knievel moved his family to Moses Lake, Washington. There, he opened a Honda motorcycle dealership and promoted racing. During the early 1960s, it was difficult to promote Japanese imports. People still considered them inferior to American-built motorcycles, and there was lingering resentment from World War II, which had ended less than 20 years earlier. Always the promoter, Knievel offered a $100 discount to anybody who could beat him at arm wrestling.

After the closure of the Moses Lake Honda dealership, Knievel went to work for Don Pomeroy at his motorcycle shop in Sunnyside, Washington. It was there that Jim Pomeroy, a well known motorcycle racer taught Knievel how to do a “wheelie” and ride while standing on the seat of the bike.

While trying to support his family, Knievel recalled the Joie Chitwood show he saw as a boy and decided that he could do something similar using a motorcycle. Promoting the show himself, Knievel rented the venue, wrote the press releases, set up the show, sold the tickets and served as his own master of ceremonies. After enticing the small crowd with a few wheelies, he proceeded to jump a twenty-foot-long box of rattlesnakes and two mountain lions. Despite landing short and having his back wheel hit the box containing the rattlesnakes, releasing the snakes and dispersing the crowd of around 1,000, Knievel managed to land safely.

One of Evel’s qualities was that he had great pride in his core values. Throughout his career (and later life), he would repeatedly talk about the importance of “keeping his word.” He stated that although he knew he may not successfully make a jump or even survive the canyon jump, he followed through with each stunt because he gave his word that he would. 

Knievel would regularly share his anti-drug message, as it was another one of his core values. Knievel would preach an anti-drug message to children and adults before each of his stunts. One organization that Knievel regularly slammed for being drug dealers was the Hells Angels. A near-riot erupted on January 23, 1970, at the Cow Palacein Daly City, California, when a tire iron was thrown at Knievel during his stunt show and Knievel and the spectators fought back, sending the Hells Angels to the hospital.

 

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On the morning of his December 31, 1967, jump at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas, Knievel stopped in the casino and placed his last $100 on the blackjack table (which he lost), stopped by the bar and had a shot of Wild Turkey and then headed outside, where he was joined by two showgirls. After doing his normal pre-jump show and a few warm-up approaches, Knievel began his real approach. When he hit the takeoff ramp, it was perfect; the landing, however, was a disaster. Knievel came up short, which caused the handlebars to be ripped out of his hands as he tumbled over them onto the pavement, where he skidded into the Dunes parking lot. As a result of the crash, Knievel suffered a crushed pelvis and femur, fractures to his hip, wrist and both ankles, and a concussion that kept him in a coma for 29 days. For certain, it was the most famous motorcycle crash in history.

 

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On October 25, 1975, Knievel successfully jumped 14 Greyhound buses at the Kings Island theme park in Ohio. Although Knievel landed on the safety deck above the 14th bus (the frame of the Harley-Davidson actually broke), his landing was successful and he held the record for jumping the most buses on a Harley-Davidson for 24 years.

In January 1977, Knievel was scheduled for a major jump in Chicago. The jump was inspired by the film Jaws. Knievel was scheduled to jump a tank full of live sharks, and it would be televised live nationally. However, during his rehearsal Knievel lost control of the motorcycle and crashed into a cameraman. Although Knievel broke his arms, he was more distraught over a permanent injury his accident caused the cameraman, who lost his eye. The footage of this crash was so upsetting to Knievel that he did not show the clip for 19 years, until the release of the documentary Absolute Evel: The Evel Knievel Story.

 

After the failed shark jump, Knievel retired from major performances and limited his appearances to speaking only, rather than stunt riding, saying “a professional is supposed to know when he has jumped far enough.”

In one of his last interviews, he told Maxim magazine, “You can’t ask a guy like me why [I performed]. I really wanted to fly through the air. I was a daredevil, a performer. I loved the thrill, the money, the whole macho thing. All those things made me Evel Knievel. Sure, I was scared. You gotta be an ass not to be scared. But I beat the hell out of death.”

 

Knievel died in Clearwater, Florida, November 30, 2007, aged 69.


 
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Story featured in Volume 001

Purchase the entire collection of back issues!

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Revenge


The Resurgence of Husqvarna Motorcycles

Words by Andrew Campo & Ben Giese | Photos by Sebas Romero


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On this day, life had treated us very well, and as the sun beamed off the fields of yellow rapeseed flowers outside the Hotel Gyllene Uttern banquet-hall window and onto Sweden’s Vättern Lake in the near distance, our minds began to drift. The room was grand: tables dressed with fresh-cut flowers, warming candlelight, whitefish roe, Arctic char, and Swedish cheese curd. Laughter and smiles swept the room as Husqvarna ambassadors from around the world shared stories and smiles. A sense of obligation had swept over us as we pondered how we would take this experience and share with you the extraordinary brand heritage that we have experienced along this journey. We continued to drift off in thought while watching the wake from the Visingsö ferry flow into the calming fog that was slowly blanketing the second-largest lake in Sweden.

Metal gently chimed against crystal and the room silenced. Standing center was Anders Sarbäcken, the managing director of Husqvarna Scandinavia, and in a commanding tone that represented three centuries, the words “This feels like revenge” echoed through the hall. We got chills that were instantly followed by a sigh of relief. The room exploded again, this time in celebration, and we sat smiling simply because it all made sense and we had found what we were looking for.

 

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The previous day was spent in total captivation as we soaked in the vast history of the brand during our visit to the Husqvarna Fabriksmuseum, located in the heart of Huskvarna, Sweden. This was the same location that once housed the original factory where the Husqvarna brand was founded in the 1600s producing weapons for the king’s army. This legendary structure rests at the base of a series of waterfalls that feed the river that runs alongside the building. As we stood on the bridge just outside the front entrance, overlooking the powerful waters raging beneath us, an overwhelming thought came to mind: water is an essential component to life, and during those early years this water had served as the lifeblood that fueled the hydro-powered weapons factory. It’s these sacred waters that spawned a legacy and it’s where more than 200 years later some of the world’s first motorcycles would be manufactured—true to their heritage, ready for battle. 

 

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Absorbing this history within the museum environment was somewhat surreal. As we stepped into the room that showcased Husqvarna’s racing heritage, we were greeted by a 1931 500cc V-Twin built by Folke Mannerstedt. This motorcycle won the Swedish GPs in 1932 and 1933 as Husqvarna experienced their first taste of victory over the competitive Norton works team. The ability to touch, see, smell, and even hear these legendary machines fill the air left a compelling impression. 

 

 

Our time in Sweden was spent under the guidance of Motorcycle Hall of Fame inductee Gunnar Lindström. A Swedish-born rider who helped introduce the sport of motocross to America during the 1960s, Lindström’s talent on a motorcycle was matched only by his ingenuity in engineering, developing chassis and suspension for Husqvarna Motorcycles. Lindström then went on to write Husqvarna Success, a book curating the history of Husqvarna Motorcycles, so it’s safe to say we were in the right hands. He gave us an intimate look into the evolution of off-road motorcycling and the birth of motocross through sharing stories of when the likes of Rolf Tibblin, Bill Nilsson, and Torsten Hallman helped pioneer the sport throughout Europe, eventually introducing motocross to the United States.

 

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Earlier in the week, Lindström had invited us to the picturesque town of Gränna, where cobblestone streets were lined with colorful flowers and white picket fences. The town was coming to life as locals wandered the streets en route to their favorite coffee and pastry shops. We watched life unfold while gearing up off of the main street, then fired up our collection of FE models and began the journey, following Lindström’s lead as he guided us through town. The air smelled rich with fresh peppermint and flowers as we rode past the endless candy shops, cafés, and gingerbread-style cottages that overlooked Vättern Lake. As we toured the countryside and rode through the rolling farmlands, tiny villages, and castle gates, we got lost in time, and it felt as if we would soon be waking from a good dream. There was something special happening in that moment as we overlooked the lake, soaking in the best Sweden had to offer and experiencing firsthand the monumental history of the brand. 

 

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Motorcycle Hall of Fame inductee, industry icon, and Husqvarna business advisor Mark Blackwell gave us a little insight into why the recent rejuvenation of the brand is so monumental. “After Electrolux sold the Husqvarna Motorcycles business to the Castiglionis and the factory and engineering were moved to Italy, there was tremendous concern, sadness, and frustration in the hearts of those who loved the Husqvarna Motorcycles brand. For many, it had been their life’s work—for others, a brand they had raced and risked everything for. Most just had no idea what would happen to the brand following the move, and, as a result, most of the engineers and staff chose to stay behind in Sweden and not make the move to Italy,” he explained. “In the following years, there was a lot of bitterness over how the brand was treated under the Italian—and, later, German—ownership. 

“But once acquired by Mr. [Stefan] Pierer, he immediately went to work with the help of Gerald Kiska to substantially rejuvenate the Husqvarna Motorcycles brand and the quality and performance of the motorcycles, with special attention to the heritage and Swedish roots of the brand. And in the first full year of production under Mr. Pierer’s leadership, the brand achieved its all-time record sales in its 111-year history. So to have more than 50 leaders (managing directors and brand managers) from around the world back in Sweden to immerse themselves in the rich history and celebrate the comeback of the brand was the sweetest revenge.” 

 

 

We came here to experience the legacy of one of the longest-running motorcycle brands in history. To soak in the culture alongside the pioneers who so elegantly paved the way to what motorcycling has become today. To make a toast alongside all the brand leaders and innovative minds currently cultivating this exciting new beginning. It’s inspiring to see a brand so rich in history experiencing such a reawakening, and if there’s one thing we can take away from this trip, it’s that the soul of Husqvarna is back with a vengeance. The spirit of pioneering lives on as the next chapter unfolds.


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Read the story in Volume 004

Immunity Photo Gallery


Photos by Connor Barnes

A Film by Dylan Wineland


 

Take a look behind the scenes with Connor Barnes during the production of Dylan Wineland's latest film, IMMUNITY.

 

Kickstart My Heart


A Passion Project by Spencer Luczak

Video by Jason Leeper | Photos by Shane Wilkerson


 

Words by Spencer Luczak

 

Project “Kickstart My Heart” conceptually began over a decade ago amidst the industry shift from two-stroke to four-stroke R&D.  I was born into a racing family where my father not only had his own professional racing career, but also had a large impact on the motorsports community promoting and running everything from monster truck shows to mud bog races to building and showcasing racecar and motorcycle events. From my dad’s satellite factory support, I was fortunate enough to always have a bike throughout my life and have access to parts from Team Green until 2005 where I regrettably sold my last KX125 and got caught up in the craze of loud, gear-lugging thumpers. Throughout my junior high and high school years, the Splitfire and Chevy Truck Pro Circuit team bikes were at the top of their game and were without a doubt my favorite bikes to watch race. Back then it seemed like a pipe-dream to even consider the possibility of riding one, let alone having the chance to own a factory bike. Despite those feelings, I always had the hope of one day building my own version of my childhood dream machine. Roxanne was the first bike I ever named when I was 6 years old and ever since I've been naming all of my projects/bikes after women from rock and roll songs that seam to match the personality of the bike. From the moment I purchased this ride back in 2016 I knew I was going to create something special to pay tribute to all those who made the sport what it is today.

Roxanne spawned from a history of riding, racing, event promoting, and mindset of living a life different than the norm. To me, this project is a small taste of what happens when passion and vision meet creativity. I wanted the bike to tell a story and remind the moto community why we do what we do. Dreams do not work until you do...

 

 

Project Details

 

Project name: "Kickstart My Heart"

Bike Name: "Roxanne"

2004 KX125 SR - Bought for $1000

The only things stock on the bike are the frame, swing arm, seat pan, shock body and a few parts of the engine cases. The rest has been replaced, rebuilt or completely customized.

 

Bolt on parts:

  • Renthal bars, grips, sprocket
  • ARC clutch perch, folding levers
  • DID T3 Gold chain
  • Dunlop MX3S tires (110 rear)
  • New OEM tank, cap, hose, and a few engine bolts (Every bolt, nut, washer, gasket, petcock etc... has been replaced on the bike, but mostly with Ti and Carbon... the rest was OEM for strength/reliability)
  • Acerbis plastics (front end fender/number plate from 13-15' models)
  • All rubber, air box, rollers, kickstarter, brake/shifter etc replaced by OEM spec items
  • CV4 hoses and radiator cap cover
  • WC oil plug and some other covers
  • Twin Air filter

 

 

Custom Parts/Work

 

  • 2011 KXF Spring SFF fork (last of the spring forks before moving to air) -- I did this to keep the kawasaki feel to it. I had plans to run KTM AER air fork or get an old KYB SSS spring fork, but chose the Showa for continuity. -- Bones at PC put all A-kit internals and rebuilt everything inside.
  • Motowhips did DLC to the shock shaft, fork tube lowers and fork feet. Justin also did the custom coatings to the shock body and fork tubes as well as custom polish work to the linkage system and some engine parts.
  • Justin also helped me build the custom PC works stand with side plates because PC doesn't make/sell the plates anymore.
  • Frame: I had a company in Texas who builds super bikes for Ducati do a custom E-nickle or Electro-less nickel process to the frame, sub-frame and swing arm. I'll explain more later on this but the whole process ran me 1700 just for that. Then I had Justin at Motowhips put on a clear coat. 
  • Frame changes - Allen Brown (old honda XXX team manager) fabricated a new bump stop to fit some custom Ride Engineering triple clamps with new offset. He then fabricated the bung and corrected the geometry to run a Showa steering stabilizer from Ride Engineering as well as a new bracket for a Vortex Ignition so we could map the bike properly on the dyno. Allen also cut/lowered the sub-frame 5mm to fit my body better and help the geo get rid of the stink-bug effect. He then made sure everything lined up and reinforced some weld areas. 
  • Triple Clamps, etc. - Ride engineering new offset (I need to double check what we went with), showa steering damper, one-piece bar mount (custom black anodized bar mount with a brushed silver triple clamp), extended rear master cylinder piece for more oil to reduce heat build up)
  • Dubya Wheels - Custom set of Talon Carbon hubs with Mag CNC outer hub, ceramic bearings, Excel nipples/spokes laced to A-60 rims. (Tom White was a big sponsor for my dad in the 80s/90s)
  • Carbon - Light Speed made a few parts they haven't in 14 years... I kept nagging Will and he made the glide plate, chain guild, rear caliper/rotor cover, fork guards, front rotor cover, frame guards and case saver. The ignition cover I got from a guy in Italy that was referred to me by Brett at ICW radiators.
  • Radiators - ICW seam welded everything and reinforced the radiators with brackets and cross members and polished everything up. using Evans coolant for performance.
  • Braking - Scott at MotoStuff helped me build some custom braking items. CNC machined front caliper (mag color) with Ti and billet aluminum pieces, custom braided black steel brake lines with gold banjos, 280mm front rotor with matching rotor in back. mag cerakoted master cylineders. 2018 Honda Master cylinder up front with 11mm plunger. They also provide a bunch of Aluminum drilled out spacers to trick things out.
  • Gold heat wrapped tank
  • Bud racing burnt Ti footpads with Ti mounting hardware
  • Works PC pipe and carbon silencer and axel blocks (I tried to find a PC works pit mat, but they said they don't make them any more).
  • Motoseat custom foam and seat cover
  • Magik Graphics custom metallic silver/flo green Chevy Trucks PC graphics
  • One-off custom clutch cover (Tony at Jeske's Customs) made a 3D rendering of a Hinson cover and then machined a CNC billet Aluminum cover, hard anodized to match engine cases, and laser engraved the Pro Circuit, Hinson logos.
  • Full Hinson clutch system
  • Custom Lectron 38mm high velocity Carb
  • Motor work: Full race-built 144 motor - about 4k
  • Tom Morgan at Millenium Tech built the top end (144 kit with plating, port work, polishing, high compression piston, rings, squish/head work etc)
  • Tranmission sent back east to a company that recut the dogs to 7 degrees back to prevent slipping gears and clean up the tranny.
  • Everything internal was super finished for smooth power delivery and more oil contact
  • Powervalve parts rebuilt
  • New OEM crank/rod installed and balanced
  • Matched cases
  • Fuel - Jon Primo helped figure out what to run for fuel at our elevation. -- 3 1/2 gallons MRX02, 1 1/2 gallons C12, mixed at 36:1 Maxima K2 oil 
  • Proven Moto: Everything was built/put together and dyno tested by Matt Jory at Proven Moto in Utah. Matt was the mastermind that helped me piece my vision together. He spent hours and hours custom fitting parts that were difficult to line up. Almost nothing on the bike wanted to bolt right on... just ask Matt how gnarly this was. He tidied up the motor and did all the factory mechanic work at his shop. Two years he and I slaved over this. 

 

Motorcycle Boy


The Legendary Tigerman

A film by James F. Coton & Masato Riesser


Step inside the world of Japanese motorcycle subculture, Bōsōzoku.

 

 

Bōsōzoku motorcycle gangs first appeared in the 1950s and popularity climbed throughout the 1980s and 1990s, peaking at an estimated 42,510 members in 1982.  Bōsōzoku style takes inspiration from American Choppers and Greasers and traditionally involves jumpsuits  or leather military jackets with baggy pants, tall boots, Hachimaki head bandanas, surgical masks, and patches displaying the Japanese Imperial Flag. This uniform became known as the tokkō-fuku (特攻服, "Special Attack Clothing"). Bōsōzoku members are known for their wild style, customizing Japanese road bikes with oversized fairings, sweeping handlebars, tall seats and extravagant paint jobs.


Produced by NOSIDE 
In association with PEERMUSIC FRANCE / ALTER K / SONY MUSIC FRANCE & METROPOLITANA
thelegendarytigerman.lnk.to/Misfit 

Cinematographer — Alexandre Jamin
Editor — Zoé Sassier
Color Grading — Robin Risser
featuring Takayuki Kaneoya — Kokoro Tanaka — Kohei Osawa 

Executive producers — Morgan Prêleur & Rémi Sello
Line producer — Aurore Taddei
Assistant producer — Cécile Augé
Japan production service — TOKYO ACT 2
Japan exec. producer —  Kenji Leprêtre Sato 
Japan production assistant — David Dicembre

Sound operator — Edan Mason
Gaffer — Ryuto Iwabuchi
1st assistant camera — Kateb
Flame artist — Francois Londard

Post-production — EVEREST STUDIO
Senior post-producer — Sylvain Obriot
Post production coordinator — Lučka Leskovec
Additional sound mixer — Damien Tronchot
Sound design supervision BMM NETWORK
Japanese translator — Yumiko Seki
Special thanks — THE SPECTER GANG, Gery Bouchez at NOD PARIS, John at KINOU PARIS, Paulo Ventura.
With the support of the CNC and SACEM

The Making of Lotawana


 Behind the Scenes with Trevor Hawkins & Todd Blubaugh

Interview by Ben Giese


 

In our idealistic concept of the American Dream, life should be better, richer and fuller for everyone. Our modern Land of Opportunity provides more access to information and greater tools for creativity than ever before, but somehow it has become increasingly more challenging to live outside the box and carve your own path through life. Society has created a strict set of rules to live by and structured guidelines to follow. But does it have to be this way? Do we have to live by this formula and fall into this trap, or can we rewrite our own rules of modern existence?

 

 

Filmmaker Trevor Hawkins explores these ideas in his beautiful new cinematic masterpiece, Lotawana.  In the feature film starring our friend Todd Blubaugh, empty materialism and the constraints of modern culture have pushed an unfulfilled young man on a voyage of discovery. Escaping to nature by living aboard a sailboat on a rural Missouri lake, he is seeking something more, something beautiful, something real. After setting sail on this journey, he promptly catches wind of a rebellious and free-spirited young woman, and their idealistic dreams align. As they let go, they fall head-first into the ambitious, yet unprepared, idea of leaving their old world far behind. 

This is a very relevant conversation for our generation, and Trevor has poured his heart and soul into producing an inspirational film. He has risked everything to follow his intuition, feed his creativity and bring this movie to life. 

Complete trust in the path you’ve chosen and confidence in your vision is an admirable thing. Our pal Todd is very much the same – a talented photographer, writer, motorcycle builder, creative thinker and ramblin’ spirit who has even published his own book.  I’ve got a tremendous amount of respect for these two and the lives they have chosen, and these admirable traits become self-evident when watching Lotawana.

For Volume 011, I interviewed Trevor and Todd to learn more about the inspiration behind this story, the challenges of independent filmmaking, and how youth, love, rebellion, nostalgia, freedom and wanderlust are woven throughout.

 

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Trevor, what inspired you to want to produce a full-length movie? That’s quite an ambitious undertaking. Is Lotawana your first project of this scale?

 

Trevor: Movies had never been a big part of my life growing up at the lake, aside from casual passing entertainment. Then one week in high school, my buddy Brian Freeborn showed me Donnie Darko, Requiem for a Dream and A Clockwork Orange down in his parents’ basement, and it changed my life. I remember sitting in the dark after each film ended and thinking to myself, “Movies can do that?” They made me feel things I’d never felt before, and I instantly became obsessed with filmmaking and trying to create emotions for other people through film. From then on, I dreamed of making my own full-length movie and being in production of my first by the time I was 30. Then one day when I was 27, I lackadaisically asked my wife, “How long does it take to make a movie?” To which she replied, “You’d better get started now!” So we met up with our friend and producer Nathan Kincaid, who informed me that we couldn’t start without a script. I went home and Googled “how to write a script,” and immediately started writing what became Lotawana.

 

  Trevor Hawkins | Photo by Tucker Adams

Trevor Hawkins | Photo by Tucker Adams

 

Without spoiling the movie, can you guys tell me a little bit about the story, the concept, the location, the characters, and the inspiration behind all of it?

 

  Lotawana slate | Photo by Nicola Collie

Lotawana slate | Photo by Nicola Collie

Trevor: Lotawana is based on the real-life Lake Lotawana, Missouri, where I’ve lived my entire life. It made sense to set my first movie here because we could easily shoot for free, and one of the two main characters, Forrest (played by Todd), is loosely based on a younger version of myself. I used to make great efforts abandoning what I perceived as an artificial materialistic culture in favor of a more natural and adventurous lifestyle – much the way Thoureau and [Christopher] McCandless did. I had a dream to sail around the world with a couple of buddies, but as I got older, I started to realize that my passion for creating art and filmmaking began to outweigh my drive for this idealistic pursuit. Perhaps I’d gotten these adventurous ideals out of my system, but soon it became apparent that if I left everything in my life to sail for a few years, I’d have to greatly postpone my dearest goal: making a movie. My reluctant decision to withdraw from the massive sailing trip was further persuaded by falling in love with the girl of my dreams right before our scheduled bon voyage. As I started to realize my pursuit of art and love made more sense to who I’d now become, it dawned on me: Perhaps there’s a way to do both? Could I live a more genuine, fulfilled life without abandoning everything I know and love for splendid isolation? Lotawana explores this idea. I like to think of this film as a sort of thought experiment and question to the viewer: Can we rewrite our own rules of modern existence or does society operate its way for a reason? And I ended up marrying the girl!

 

Todd: How shall we proceed when society’s playbook has nothing to offer? And what will we become when society attacks our idealism? 

Every generation has a different response to the story, but they all seem to be cheering for these two characters to make their way… A twentysomething couple with no money and no faith in the established system… it’s a very relevant conversation for millennials, who now face an even more polarized society with even less security. 

 

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How Long Did It Take You Guys To Film Everything? 

 

Trevor: We filmed for a frigid week in early February of 2015, and then for over a month in the following late summer and fall.

 

In the movie, Forrest rides a motorcycle and there are several captivating riding segments throughout.  Is the motorcycle element intended to have any greater significance or meaning in the story, or is it simply just part of Forrest’s character?  In my opinion there could definitely be a connection to the overall concept.

 

Todd: The bike and the boat have set Forrest free from the constraints of modern society. This is where he lives and how he moves. When we see him on these vehicles, it feels like he is getting somewhere, or his plan is somehow working… You just want him to keep going. 

 

  The XT500 | Photo by Todd Blubaugh

The XT500 | Photo by Todd Blubaugh

Trevor: Exactly. Many people don’t realize that the sailing and motorcycle culture parallels, and they are perfect analogs for each other. They’re both about freedom and exploration of one’s world and oneself – the main difference being one path perpetually hides grease and oil under the fingernails, while perpetually hides grease and oil under the fingernails, while the other hides salt in the hair. So naturally the motorcycle segments truly completed the free-spirited nature of the movie and fit perfectly with who the character of Forrest is: a person living an alternative lifestyle in search of a more meaningful existence. I just couldn’t imagine him driving a car. When Todd agreed to do the film, it all came together beautifully. We were able to flesh out the motorcycle scenes much more than I originally imagined because he’s such a great rider. The dude shreds! Both Todd and Nic [Nicola Collie] did all of their own riding and stunts.

 

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Did you guys have any financial backing or support?

 

  Trevor Hawkins filming Todd Blubaugh | Photo by Tucker Adams

Trevor Hawkins filming Todd Blubaugh | Photo by Tucker Adams

Todd: Trevor mortgaged his house …  It is actually on the real Lake Lotawana … Isn’t this how all movies get made?

 

Trevor: Ha! We financed half the film with the savings from commercial work through my company, Mammoth, and half with a loan against our house (which we’re still paying on). We had a couple of opportunities for financing, but the film would’ve suffered creative sacrifices. So after considering other options, we decided to do it on our own. 

 

Doing it on your own is very respectable.  What are some of the biggest challenges or hurdles that you have faced as an independent filmmaker?

 

Trevor: So far the biggest hurdle has been finding distribution for the film. We admittedly fit the stereotype of the hopeless romantic creatives that neglected the importance of a proper distribution strategy. We believed that we should focus on making the best movie possible, and that the rest would take care of itself. We’ll see!  

 

Todd: For me – doubt. Doubt is the biggest hurdle. Investing in these long-term, artistic projects really makes me question my vision and purpose. There is no security or guarantee that the work will pay off, but eventually, I do it just to free myself … because until I start working on an idea, it is all you can think about. And that is even harder to live with … when inspiration tells me to do something important, but I choose to listen to the doubt. But it does get easier once I get started. Trevor and I talked about shooting a feature film for 10 years now. I guess we finally got to the point where we couldn’t put it off anymore.

 

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I’m sure there is great freedom and liberation found in doing it yourself.  What were some of the positive aspects of being independent on this project?

 

Trevor: Definitely. This was a very personal story for me, and I couldn’t imagine creating the whole movie with a bean counter armed with focus group reports looking over my shoulder the entire time. But then again, this may be the very reason we don’t have distribution lined up yet. So, who knows? At the end of the day, I’ll always be happy that I made my first film entirely the way I wanted. And honestly, with the help of a great team and some serendipitous luck, it turned out better than I thought it would.  

 

Todd: That’s hard to answer for me because that is all I know. I’ve never had financial support or backing from anyone … just passion and dedicated people. But I will tell you that whether this movie is a success or not, it feels pretty damn good to follow through with something you have been thinking about for over a decade.

 

  Trevor Hawkins prepping camera on car rig | Photo by Tucker Adams

Trevor Hawkins prepping camera on car rig | Photo by Tucker Adams

 

Cheers to that.  I have to say, one thing that stood out to me is the cinematography. It is absolutely beautiful.  The framing of your shots, the light, the color, everything.  What is your background, trevor?  You obviously have an artistic eye.

 

  Trevor Hawkins reviewing underwater footage | Photo by Tucker Adams

Trevor Hawkins reviewing underwater footage | Photo by Tucker Adams

Trevor: Well, thanks so much, man! I first picked up a camera and began filming my friends skateboarding and wakeboarding in high school around the same time I watched those three movies that fateful week with Freeborn. Then I started a media company called Mammoth (MammothMedia.tv) and have been working as a filmmaker and photographer ever since. Shooting, coloring and editing have always been some of my favorite parts of filmmaking, and I guess all my years behind the lens prepped me to shoot and edit my first feature. I did want to hire a cinematographer for Lotawana, though, but couldn’t afford a good one, so I just shot and colored it myself. And I will say, shooting and directing simultaneously can get tough at times. Your director/performance brain needs to separate from your photographer brain, but you need to do both at the same time. Half the time I’d be concentrated on the performance, and the other half I’d be concentrated on the way the light is hitting them. And honestly, it made editing a bit difficult at times, trying to balance the two worlds, because the best performance wasn’t always the take with the best photography. And if there was ever a question, I always chose for performance – ultimately no one in the audience cares about my light as much as the characters. Hopefully, next movie I’ll be able to hire a DP [director of photography] that’s much more talented than I am and be able to focus much more on directing the performances.

 

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How did this cast come together?  Did you all know each other prior or did you become friends through this project?

 

 

Trevor: I’ve known Todd for about a decade and knew he’d be absolutely perfect to play the lead role. He’s originally from here in the Midwest, and ever since I’ve known him, he’s been in pursuit of genuine life experiences, putting lots of effort into living that alternative lifestyle himself. Funnily enough, when I first called and asked him to play the lead in my first movie, he said no. He wanted to be behind the lens where he’s comfortable. Disappointed, the whole Lotawana team held multiple rounds of casting calls, and after failing to find the perfect Forrest, I called him back and told him he was going to do it whether he wanted to or not. He begrudgingly agreed, and it all evolved beautifully from there.  

  Trevor Hawkins | Photo by Todd Blubaugh

Trevor Hawkins | Photo by Todd Blubaugh

Todd: Nicola stepped in and saved us after we lost two different lead actresses. It was rough, because we had already shot all the winter scenes. We were forced to mount a full-scale casting assault, and I actually found Nicola on Instagram … I sent her a DM after she commented on one of our behind-the-scenes updates. She auditioned and was better then anyone … She had not done any acting, either, but that didn’t bother Trevor. Finding her saved the production.

 

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So, neither todd nor nicola have done any professional acting before?

 

Trevor: Ha, nope! But if you’ve seen the film, then you probably agree that they were incredible. I’m beyond happy with both of them, and I’m so happy I pressed Todd to say yes. They were both perfect.

 

  Trevor Hawkins & Ryan Pinkston filming Nicola Collie |   Photo by Nathan Kincaid

Trevor Hawkins & Ryan Pinkston filming Nicola Collie | Photo by Nathan Kincaid

So what’s next?  What is your plan for the release, and when and where can people watch your film?

 

Trevor: Right now we’re currently seeking distribution. We’ve had our local cast and crew premieres and have entered into a few of the top-tier film festivals, but haven’t had any doors really open up for us yet. Honestly, we don’t really know how to answer this question until we get it in front of the right set of eyeballs. So if anyone is interested in helping us in any way, we’d really appreciate it, and we can be contacted through our website, LotawanaMovie.com. We’re also hoping once Lotawana gets picked up, it’ll open up an opportunity to make a second movie, which I’ve already begun writing, The Velvet Elk

 

Todd: Wouldn’t it be poetic if someone sees this interview and wants to distribute it?  That would be one hell of a story.


Featured in Volume 011

Pastrana Goes Evel


Travis Pastrana Is Carrying on the Legacy of Evel Knievel With Three Incredible Jumps

Words & photos by Sean MacDonald


 

Travis Pastrana is currently at a secret West Coast practice facility where he has a week to learn some new aerial stunts on a very different motorcycle. He’s ditching the dirt for the “Evel Live” event that will see him recreating three of Evel Knievel’s most famous stunts in Las Vegas.

Travis will complete a series of three jumps in the three-hour live event. The first is the famous 50 car jump Evel originally completed at the Los Angeles Coliseum in November of 1973. Pastrana is upping the ante two cars, making for a 144-foot, six-inch gap between the nine-foot-tall takeoff and six-foot-tall landing.

The second jump sees Pastrana recreating Evel’s bus jump, only he once again adds two to Evel’s 14 for a total of 16 greyhound buses. The 400-foot inrun on this jump culminates in an 11’11” takeoff, just four inches above the 11’7” tall buses. This jump puts Travis in the air for 155 feet before landing on the fairly short 147-foot offramp.

For this third act of the three-hour show, Pastrana will recreate the Caesar’s Palace fountain jump which left Evel Knievel in a coma for a month following the crash in his 1967 attempt. In this jump, the most difficulty comes from an Indian that doesn’t accelerate as quickly as the dirtbikes Pastrana and most guys use for distance jumps, and the inrun is only 203 feet long.

 

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Travis will complete a series of three jumps in the three-hour live event. The first is the famous 50 car jump Evel originally completed at the Los Angeles Coliseum in November of 1973. Pastrana is upping the ante two cars, making for a 144-foot, six-inch gap between the nine-foot-tall takeoff and six-foot-tall landing.

The second jump sees Pastrana recreating Evel’s bus jump, only he once again adds two to Evel’s 14 for a total of 16 greyhound buses. The 400-foot inrun on this jump culminates in an 11’11” takeoff, just four inches above the 11’7” tall buses. This jump puts Travis in the air for 155 feet before landing on the fairly short 147-foot offramp.

For this third act of the three-hour show, Pastrana will recreate the Caesar’s Palace fountain jump which left Evel Knievel in a coma for a month following the crash in his 1967 attempt. In this jump, the most difficulty comes from an Indian that doesn’t accelerate as quickly as the dirtbikes Pastrana and most guys use for distance jumps, and the inrun is only 203 feet long.

 

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Travis will be making these series of jumps on Indian’s flat track race bike, the FTR750, which has only received minor modifications to stiffen the suspension and make the bike more comfortable for Pastrana’s taller frame and the task of jumping rather than sliding around a dirt oval.

Travis and company only have a week to figure out the kinds of gearing, speeds, and distances they’ll need to complete the jump, which is then followed by a three-week break for other commitments where Travis won’t have any time on the bike. With such a short window, the team is focusing on training Travis’s muscle memory to make sure he’s comfortable when he gets on the bike in July. To do this, they’ve turned every day into a ritual with the same tasks and warm-up exercises and runs so that it all becomes routine.

 

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The longest motorcycle jump is over 300 feet long, making this less about carrying on Evel’s legacy as much as it is paying homage - although he is jumping a bike with a third of the suspension travel and that weighs twice as much. Pastrana’s father Robert raised his son with a famous quote

 

“You aren’t a failure until you fail to get back up”

 

which originated with Evel himself.

 

Pastrana’s entire life has been a continuation of Evel’s legacy which is why the Evel Live event is all about focusing on Evel’s legacy. He’ll even be dressed in period correct riding gear, right down to the boots (though he’ll probably opt for some sort of eye protection this time).

 

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Tune in July 8th at 8PM EST/5PM PST to the History Channel to see Pastrana and the Nitro Circus and Indian team tackle three of Evel’s most famed jumps and watch as Evel’s legacy continues on. 

 

Headed East


A Motorcycle Journey Into the Wild

By Jack Harries & Fraser Rigg


 

Tired of city life and in search of adventure, my friend Fraser and I left London on two motorcycles with a plan to drive to Budapest and back. We wanted to leave technology behind, to wild camp, cook our own food, reconnect with others and importantly ourselves.

The journey took two months, crossed 10 countries and covered a distance of over 10,000km. This personal film shot on 16mm documents our motorcycle journey into the wild.


CREDITS

Shot and Directed by Jack Harries & Fraser Rigg
Edit by Jack Harries
Sound Mix and Design by Sashko Micevski
Music is Corn by Nils Frahm
Lab Services by Kodak Labs London

Shot on 16mm film in France, Spain, Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Hungary, Austria, Czech Republic, Germany, The Netherlands. 

With special thanks to Michael Ho, Dieter Deswarte, and Dylan Hewitt


THE BOOK

For the past two years, we’ve been working with the Stanley James Press on designing the Headed East book. 100 pages of 35mm photos, 16mm film scans, journal entries from the road and a pull-out map. We are self-publishing a limited selection of copies. If you’d like to support the project the ‘Headed East;’ book and prints are available in the store. 

 

Immunity


A Film by Dylan Wineland

Starring Aaron McClintock


 

Director's Statement

 

"Aaron and I had been brainstorming the concept to this video for quite sometime. A few years back we had done a film together called MIND WIDE OPEN, along with Connor Barnes, which received positive feedback and we knew that we would want to create something again. We have shared a similar perspective on riding motorcycles and have felt our vision hadn't been expressed in the motocross industry. So, we set out to share our unique perspective in hopes that people would be able to relate to it and appreciate it.

Our goal was to define riding dirtbikes outside of just big hits and half naked Monster girls. More than entertainment, we wanted to make this video an experience for the viewer. The term “I do what I love to escape” is something that Aaron and myself disagree with. We believe it is quite opposite of that. Our belief being that when you are doing what you love, you are completely tuned in and as close to reality as you can humanly be. It’s like a form of meditation. When Aaron is at the bar, he is tuned out. He is having troubles facing reality but knows exactly what he has to do in order to heal himself. That is where we coined the term Immunity. It is an act of healing. So Aaron leaves his demons behind in order to find himself through riding his motorcycle."

 

 

Film Credits

 

  • Director/DP: Dylan Wineland
  • Produced By: Dylan Wineland, Aaron McClintock, Connor Barnes
  • Cinematography/Aerial Cinematography: Connor Barnes
  • AC/Grip: Connor Barnes, Jon Riley
  • Color: Aiden Ulrich
  • Music: “Carved In Mayhem” by Luke Antonio & “Life (Remastered)” by Solar Fields 
  • Supported: WZRD Media, Sheets Studios
  • Rider: Aaron McClintock
  • Thumbnail Photo: Alex Stohl

 

Aperture


Photography by Drew Martin

Featured in Volume 011


 
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Our pal, Drew Martin is a freelance photographer based in southern California with a love for adventure and the great outdoors.  Back in January Drew joined us on a ride up the central coast of California to enjoy the endless beauty that Big Sur has to offer.  As we all became better friends and saw more of his work I thought it would be cool to curate some of his favorite moto-related images from the past few years for our “Aperture” feature in Volume 011.  

Feast your eyes on some of our favorites from the issue!

 

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Featured in Volume 011

Dimitri Coste


A Man Worth a Million Words

Words by Russ Koza


A portrait of Dimitri Coste from his kids, by Thibaut Grevet | Originally published on Nowness

 

I’ve been checking my watch every couple of minutes for more than an hour now. We’re on location, ready to begin another photo shoot, but one thing is missing: our photographer. Suddenly, I see it. Barreling down the road in our direction is The Boogie Van. Behind a miniature Eiffel Tower sitting atop the dashboard, our lensman, Dimitri Coste, steadfastly navigates behind the wheel. 

The Boogie, or Le Boogie, is a late-’80s full-size Dodge van that Coste has used to transport everything he needs to work and exist when he’s staying in Southern California. The van is Coste’s transportation, sometimes his home, and very much a symbol of his love for American culture and the SoCal lifestyle. It’s not unusual for Coste to fly from Paris to LAX, take a cab to the closest In-N-Out, and then hitch a ride two hours south to San Diego, where The Boogie is usually parked, before he’d ever think of renting a car. The Boogie has been the mode of transportation for Coste’s treasure chest of photo equipment, motorcycles, and even some of the most beautiful models the world has to offer. As it sits now, with the usual assortment of crumpled burger wrappers, empty packs of Marlboros, and photo equipment propping up his prized 1967 Triumph, Le Boogie is exactly the type of vessel that a guy like Coste should be captaining.

 

  Photo by Keith Lynas

Photo by Keith Lynas

  Le Boogie | Photo by Dimitri Coste

Le Boogie | Photo by Dimitri Coste

 

After the usual greeting of high-fives, hugs, and “Where the fuck have you been?” it’s time to get to work. But we’re not in the clear yet; there’s always that period of time before the camera starts clicking that Coste takes a few minutes to formulate his plan for the shoot and get in the proverbial zone. As everyone is arranging the final placement of lighting, battery packs, and the set, Coste will often disappear off to the side somewhere. I’ll find him sitting quietly with a cigarette dangling from his mouth, playing out the shoot in his head and finding that creative flow. Although we’re way behind schedule, I’ve learned over the years to leave him alone during this time. It used to stress me out, as I would think, “Why is he just sitting there smoking when we’ve got so much to get done today?” 

But people as creative as Coste don’t function in the same manner that normal people function; they do things differently. This alternative way of operating may not seem to be the most professional by regular standards, but Coste is one of the most creative and talented photographers out there, so it’s best to let him work the way that he wants to work.

 

  Bonneville, Utah | Photo by Dimitri Coste

Bonneville, Utah | Photo by Dimitri Coste

 

It may seem like Coste is some sort of vagabond living out of his van, but he makes his permanent home in Paris. His home, known by his friends as Le Cherry Palace, is where Coste spends time with his family. France is where Coste grew up, and where his lifelong love for motorcycles began.

Motorcycles have been a part of Coste’s life since his days in elementary school (or l’école matternelle, as it is known in France). At the time, his father, Didier, was working at French motorcycle and BMX publications such as Moto-Verte and Bicross. Coste was thrown headfirst into two-wheel culture, and he loved it. It was then, too, that his passion for photography sprouted from his love of moto.

“When I was 4 or 5, I used to spend a lot of time looking through those mags, and since I couldn’t read yet, I studied the images,” Coste explains. “The riding positions and the gnarly actions, because I found it to be so beautiful, and of course racing gear, helmets, paint jobs, stickers, and color combos.”

 

  Photo by David Marvier

Photo by David Marvier

  Photo by Keith Lynas

Photo by Keith Lynas

 

Like most in the motorcycle industry, Didier Coste wasn’t working at the magazines for a simple paycheck. He went to work each day because he had a passion for the sport, a passion that consumed him. It was a passion that stuck with him beyond the nine-to-five life and into the weekends: on any Sunday, one could find Monsieur Coste at the racetrack, and every chance he got, Dimitri and his older brother, Jérôme, were right there alongside him. His father’s all-consuming love for the sport—and, more importantly, his job—left an impression on Coste that helped mold his personality into what it is today.

 

“Seeing [my father] enjoying being a journalist—traveling, riding, and covering great races like the Paris-Dakar—indirectly taught me that you can enjoy working and find a good balance between work and pleasure, and make work a pleasure,” he says.

 

Coste grew up at the races with his family and quickly became a racer himself. Today, he is following in his father’s footsteps, spending his weekends riding dirt bikes with his son, Zephyr, and watching daughter Paz rip up the French BMX tracks. Following the example set by his father, Coste only encourages his children to pursue their passions, be they art or motorcycles. “I never push them,” he says. “My philosophy is that sports like motocross, BMX, or skateboarding need to come with a strong personal desire or need. At some point, I guess just witnessing how much pleasure I got from those sports made them want to try.”

 

  Photo by Nevin Pontius

Photo by Nevin Pontius

 

Growing up alongside an artistic older brother, Coste tapped into his own creative side and began taking photos during downtime at the motorcycle races. Understanding the art of racing a motorcycle, and having the tools to communicate that understanding, put Coste in a unique position.

 

“Photography helped me grow my involvement in moto,” he says. “I was making a living by shooting catalogs, album covers, ads, and stories or reports for magazines, but I always kept a foot in my passions with a few clients in the moto or BMX industry.”

 

His work has since transcended far beyond motorcycling. As an influential creative talent, he’s teamed up with other notable tastemakers for numerous collaborations. His portfolio extends even further into the high-fashion industry and he’s filmed and edited some of the top music videos in France.

But his true passion, along with photography, remains motorcycling. Any time he can tie together opportunities to do both, he’ll jump at the chance. The One Size Fits All (OSFA) project is a way for Coste to bridge the gap and bring his passions for motorcycles, photography, and design into one collective space. It’s a personal mission that he has sunk his heart and soul into, his own version of a race around the world. 

 

  Photo by Keith Lynas

Photo by Keith Lynas

  Photo by Marc Blanchard

Photo by Marc Blanchard

 

“The concept is to race an almost-stock Triumph in all kinds of events, allowing myself to change only tires and handlebars depending on the type of racing,” he explains. “Since I’m a bad mechanic, I thought having a stock engine is the safest and most reliable choice. So I never have the perfect bike, but she can do it all and that’s all well enough for me.”

 

When the famous Catalina Grand Prix was revived in 2010, Coste quickly signed up and arranged to have his 1967 Triumph TR6C shipped over from France so he could race. Coste won his class at Catalina and followed that up by finishing the infamous Pikes Peak Hill Climb in Colorado as part of his OSFA mission. 

For a guy like Dimitri Coste, life is about passion and adventure. Jet-setting from one continent to another is just a day in the life for this photographer, shooting during the week so he can race during the weekend. The tattoo emblazoned across his chest says all that he needs to say: “Life is a rodeo.” Yee-haw.


Read the story in Volume 004


Palm Springs


Behind the Scenes with Aaron Brimhall

Video by Kollyn Lund


 

Go behind the scenes with META photographer, Aaron Brimhall in Palm Springs, California as we produce a feature for Volume 012.  We spent 3 days in the desert, got lost on a hike, experienced crazy winds, saw lots of windmills, almost broke one of our cameras, almost ran out of gas and shot at the coolest house we've ever seen.

 

Volume 012 will be available July 2018!

 

The Grizzly Ride


A Film by Sebastien Zanella

Presented by Wheels and Waves | Photos by Sebastien Zanella


 

Every year, a group of wild humans decide to own the desert for the love of freedom & friendship.

They call it the Grizzly Ride.

 

Homeless Honeymoon


Living Within and Living Without

Words by Bree Monks | Photos by Trevor & Bree Monks


 

My husband yanked the key out of the ignition, and the bike continued to vibrate and sputter. His groans grew into sharply pronounced curse words as the keys dangled from his hand, and the starter continued to whiz. I squatted in the dirt and squinted in his direction, hoping that my willingness to be present would somehow cancel out my complete lack of knowledge and inability to help. 

We had spent the last several days riding south through Laos on our Thai-bought Honda CRF 250, and Cambodia was just beyond the imaginary line in front of us. After enough wires were pulled and screws unscrewed, the engine shut off, and we made our way toward the dusty building that would admit us into the country. Moments later, we were back at the bike, frustrated and hot-tempered with the repetitive echo of “No!” in our heads. We were not getting into Cambodia on our motorcycle, setting this leg of the journey into rewind…

 

 

These defeated days happened more often than we had advertised. Once we got married, we decided to set out on a yearlong “honeymoon” committed to filling each day with countless unique experiences that would inspire ourselves and others along the way. But, after the first six months spent driving through the continent of South America and sleeping in our ’99 Nissan Frontier, followed by five months touring Southeast Asia by motorcycle, we discovered that long-term travel does not elude monotony, routine and failure. 

Along with the typical aim to travel and fulfill unclear desires, we sought to chronicle our epic moments and publish them on social media. We wanted to prove to ourselves and to our family and friends back home that a life like this was not only possible, but also successful. It did not take long before the truth yielded an impression of dishonesty on our side of the WiFi, and we found ourselves particularly annoyed with what we were portraying. Not all days were total bliss, and our highlight reel felt misleading as we attempted to create and recreate an ideal picture of what we thought traveling should be. We were force-feeding ourselves to believe the hype, gagging on all of the omitted details, and then we were not able to stomach the truth.

 

Really, the insane mountain rides and magical jungle roads were only the crumbs of the loaf, and getting to those destinations involved hardships that we thought a honeymoon should be immune to. 

 

The physical and logistical struggles we endured were easy to adjust to, as they occurred daily and often, and that is why we wrote them off as unnecessary stories to be told. The woes and (sometimes unwanted) surprises that a traveler adapts to are expected, but we had quickly decided that noting the painful monkey-butt and ant-infested bungalows could damper the dreams that we were creating for others, and possibly taint our own concepts as to what traveling should be. With those details left behind on the side of the road, we had only our helmets and our brains within them to question what was truly conflicting us internally. Were we looking to satisfy some stereotypical urge to travel, or was it more complicated than that? Our purpose, however silly it was, to ride around the world by our own transportation had become as unapparent as fumes diluted in air.

 

 

Together, we began to wonder why anyone even travels in the first place. There was not a single traveler that we had met who could give us an answer that did not sound like an annoying Instagram hashtag (#wanderlust, #newperspective, #soblessed), and eventually we began to question ourselves and our own intentions. For some reason, we thought that we were unique in the way in which we were exploring, which filled us with a small sense of superiority, as if our experiences would be even more authentic than the average nomad. We labeled ourselves as the “anti-backpackers,” because we had somehow pulled off purchasing a Thai registered bike without a real residence or any kind of more permanent visa. This, we had proclaimed, was above and beyond what other travelers were willing to do, making us genuine culture-seekers. As cool as we had convinced ourselves that we were, we were not the first to do what we were doing, and we could not stake any claim on originality. It became more likely that we would harden into the mold of a pretentious traveler. 

 

 

One time, as we had buzzed by a group of starry-eyed tourists in bicycle helmets lining up to board a giant mammal, my husband turned to me and said, “Riding an elephant is not going to change a person.” His words were probably true, but we could have been wrong to think that we were any different from the anxious folks behind us. Of course, ultimately we wanted to end our adventure changed for the better, but we soon realized that our entire approach could have been misguided from the beginning.

 

Marriage is complicated, and we were boastful enough to think that simplifying our lives to one motorbike and two backpacks would somehow result in a partnership that was unwavering.

 

The first part of our year was a revolving door of conflict, partly because of our rocky past and partly because of the strains of travel, and it was frightening to think that we would pop out of the same door that we had entered. Once we had realized that our journey’s destination could be the entrance to a loop road, and the past could become more rutted and corroded with every lap, we knew that we would have to change the course of our outlooks and quit looking back. 

 

 

Ultimately, I credit the motorcycle for changing the course of our intent. Traveling forces a person to think, and, in the beginning of the year, we sat together in our truck with zero obstructions on voicing our opinions, daily concerns and fears to each other. Slowly, our complicated living situation had transformed the cab into a metal battleground of clashing concepts and undeveloped ideas. There was no escape and no white flags of surrender, as we questioned each other without questioning ourselves first. On the other hand, the motorcycle had a magical way of binding us together physically, but silencing the confused and thoughtless dialogue that had hurt us earlier in the year. Our thoughts were given the time to marinate and evolve with only the sweet background music of a purring motor and the blur of rice fields and blue skies. 

The bike had somehow revealed to us the Buddhist concept of “living within and living without,” which had mystified us in the beginning of our ride. Our relationship glided through foreign places as we were able to be together yet be isolated at the same time, a contradiction that allowed our brains to choose what was important to hold onto, within ourselves, and what to let go of. We began to recognize that change really is a slow process that can elude any human despite how long and tough a journey can be. It was never necessary for us to travel, but, after being bound to the seat of the bike for miles on end, we realized that travel was the implement that yielded the greatest gift: Time. 

 

 

Yes, traveling is an easy way to connect to new perspectives. Without a doubt, moving within and among another culture is effective in humbling and altering the mind of any person who is open to it, but the willingness to take time and be susceptible to change is key. We had spent the majority of our year searching for a single moment that would shift us into new and better individuals, only to reach the end and realize that it was the collection of moments that equated to growth.

What we were eager for was change, but what we truly needed was time. Change does not require a culture shock, a new experience or a grand adventure. It cannot be projected, or faked, or forced. It must be self-provoked. Wherever in the world we were or whatever strange situation we were in, we arrived with the clarity given to us by the motorcycle.

 

As we drove the long, winding roads through adversity and change, it is the bike that can be credited with our new and ever-evolving purity of mind.

 


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Read the story in Volume 011

Against the Grain


When Motorcycles Raced on Wood

Words by Brett Smith


  Photo courtesy Harley-Davidson archive

Photo courtesy Harley-Davidson archive

 

“It is a commentary on American Standards that we take pains to prohibit prize fighting and horse racing in many States, and hold up our hands in horror at the suggestion of bullfights as a national sport, and yet flock in thousands to see reckless young men riding madly around a track sloping at a 50 percent angle glorifying in the thinness of the thread that divides life from death.

—The Washington Post, Sept. 10, 1912

 

 

They saw it coming. They must have. With six motorcycles racing together at more than 90 miles per hour on wooden circle tracks with steep banks, the consequences of board-track racing could not have been a surprise. But the thrills were magnificent. The fascination with seeing and feeling speed was so new in the first 20 years of the 20th century that it led crowds of 10,000 to climb above the courses where only a thin rail made of pine or spruce separated them from the motorcycles that raced counterclockwise on the wooden track below. So scant was the partition between onlookers and racers that young boys often stuck their heads through the opening beneath the guard to be closer to the machines, which were getting faster with every new model. 

 

  Photo courtesy AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame

Photo courtesy AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame

 

In the spirit of putting the action in front of the audience, where the entire race could be seen in one spot—much like the original idea behind supercross—early board-track races were held in small stadiums nicknamed “saucers” and “pie pans,” the latter moniker because of their round shape and continuous steep banks. They were little more than beefed-up bicycle velodromes. In 1908—the same year the first Model T was produced, General Motors was founded, and Jack Johnson became the first black heavyweight boxing champion of the world—the excitement factor of watching a motorcycle do a mile a minute was still very fresh. 

On July 5, match races were held at the Clifton course in Paterson, New Jersey, on a “six-lap track, brand new, of wood, fresh from the sawmill and the carpenter’s hand,” according a five-page account in the July 15, 1908, Motorcycle Illustrated. The course, built by former bicycle racing champion and British expat John Shillington Prince, was one-sixth of a mile. After his own two-wheeled racing career ended in the late 1880s, Prince moved on to building and promoting velodrome races. On the velodromes, high-banked 1/6th- and 1/10th-mile courses, motorcycles were originally employed to pace bicyclists for races and in training. Interest in the possibility of what a motorized machine could do on the planks grew and Prince used his velodrome designs to build what became known as motordromes. 

 

  Photo courtesy Harley-Davidson archive

Photo courtesy Harley-Davidson archive

 

In Clifton, because of the tightness of the course and potential for tragedy, only two riders competed at a time. Nothing tragic happened that day in 1908. Jake DeRosier, the Canadian-born, Massachusetts-raised racer who became America’s first motorcycle superstar, hit more than a dozen speed milestones on a prototype Indian, including the 1-mile record, which he set at 56 seconds (64 mph). Despite the 5,000 open-mouthed and applauding spectators, as Motorcycle Illustrated described the crowd, the magazine wasn’t on board. 

 

“Of course, this is not motorcycle racing,” a separate editorial pontificated. “It takes three to make a race and four are better. But neither three nor four will probably ever be raced together on the Clifton Saucer. To permit it would be criminal.” 

 

Prince traveled around the country, convincing residents and city halls to allow him to build a motordrome in their towns. His design changed to courses one-third of a mile in length, and one of the first he built at that spec was the Los Angeles Coliseum Motordrome, in 1909, which was three and a half laps to the mile. From 1909 through 1914, 21 motordromes one-third of a mile or less were constructed across North America (not all by Prince), from Springfield, Massachusetts, to Brighton Beach, New York; Vailsburg, New Jersey; St. Louis; Detroit; Atlanta; Milwaukee; Denver; Los Angeles; and others. Prince was churning out the stadiums in just a few weeks. The Brighton Beach (Brooklyn) course held its first event on June 29, 1912. The New York Times announced the project on May 7 and said, “An army of men will rush the construction.” The project cost $30,000 and was made with 1.5 million feet of lumber, mostly 16-foot lengths of 2x4s, with the 2-inch face up. The length was one-third of a mile, the angle 53 degrees, and the capacity was 10,000 in the grandstands.

 

  Photo courtesy Harley-Davidson archive

Photo courtesy Harley-Davidson archive

 

The motorcycles were developing as quickly as the courses were being built. They had one gear, no brakes, no clutch, no suspension, and the carburetors were set wide open. The engines were total loss, meaning the oil wasn’t pressure fed. An oil tank fed the engine what it needed to consume. Instead of recirculating back into the engine, the used oil was expelled into the air in the form of smoke. 

 

“They hadn’t yet realized they needed to figure out how to cycle the oil down to the motor and pump it back up,” says Matt Walksler of Wheels Through Time. When riders crashed, oil leaked onto the course, which led to more crashing. Performance was entirely by experimentation, and the 61-cubic-inch (1,000 cc) engines were nearing 90 mph in 1911. And that was at only 7 horsepower. 

Dozens of manufacturers competed for market share in the United States: Excelsior, Indian, Thor, Cyclone, The Flying Merkel, NSU, and many more. Absent from the results columns was Harley-Davidson, which did not officially field racing teams until 1914. Arthur Davidson was staunchly against racing. In a 1912 editorial in The Harley Dealer, he said,

 

“Any dealer who contemplates hooking up with a promoter in the ‘murderdrome’ business, I have found it to be my experience, has nothing to gain and everything to lose. The board track game will work out its own destiny in a mighty big hurry.” 

 

  Photo courtesy Chris Price, Archive Moto

Photo courtesy Chris Price, Archive Moto

 

Murderdromes. Arthur Davidson saw it coming. Engineers were quickly learning how to wring more out of the internal-combustion engines. On Dec. 30, 1912, on a 1-mile board track in Playa del Rey, California, riding a big-valved Excelsior, Lee Humiston tucked into his handlebars to record a 36-second lap. He became the first rider to officially set the record for 100 mph (146.7 feet per second) on a motorcycle. Two years later, J.A. McNeil went 111.1 mph on a Cyclone. The bike used overhead-cam technology, new at the time, and put out 45 horsepower at 5,000 rpm. Unfortunately, the Federation of American Motorcyclists refused to recognize the feat on the grounds that the speed could possibly be 10 percent above the existing record. The increase in speed and power and the steepening angle of the courses, which was hitting 60 degrees and producing enough centrifugal force to shoot riders and machines out of the circle, also increased the potential for catastrophe. 

 

  Photo courtesy Don Emde Collection

Photo courtesy Don Emde Collection

 

On Sept. 8, 1912, in Vailsburg, the first of two such major tragedies was splattered on newspapers in multi-stack headlines across the country. On a four-lap motordrome west of downtown Newark, New Jersey, with 5,000 spectators in attendance, Eddie Hasha’s eight-valve, 61-cubic-inch Indian—at 92 mph—veered sharply upward toward the guardrail and grinded along it for 100 feet, killing three boys whose heads were hanging into the barrier openings, according to newspaper reports. It was about 5 p.m., the final lap of the final race on the card, and Hasha was going for the lead. After hitting a post, Hasha was hurled into the crowd and the motorcycle careened back down the course and into the sixth-place rider, Johnny Albright of Denver. He was thrown from his bike and pronounced dead hours later at a hospital from lung hemorrhaging. 

 

Many papers reported that witnesses saw the sprocket come loose from Hasha’s bike and “literally tore off the skull of a little boy who had been one of the most excited enthusiasts at the race,” according to The Washington Post. Hasha, as described in the Post, “was pitched 50 feet into the air, and must have been killed instantly in the collision. His body was shapeless from broken bones when it was picked up almost at the feet of his wife seated among the men and boys in the bleachers.” Six were killed that day, including the two riders and three boys under 18. Two more men died in the hospital days later. 

 

  Photo courtesy Harley-Davidson archive

Photo courtesy Harley-Davidson archive

 

The New York Times had interviewed Hasha before the race and reprinted an ominous discussion about the dangers of saucer racing.

 

“I suppose it’ll get us all each when his turn comes,” he said. “Oh, I know it’s a dangerous game, but I am stowing my money away in the bank and the wife will be fixed up if I go.”

 

The best racers were reported to have been paid $20,000 a year from their teams, a huge sum of money in the early 1900s. But Hasha was only 19 and turned pro in 1911. No doubt, he wasn’t set for life. His wife, Gertrude, later married Al Crocker, a motorcycle manufacturer whose machines bore his surname. 

 

  Photo courtesy AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame

Photo courtesy AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame

 

Opened on Independence Day 1912, the Vailsburg track was never used again for motorcycle racing. Less than a year later, in Ludlow, Kentucky, Odin Johnson jumped the track and struck an electric light pole at the Lagoon Motordrome. The gas tank exploded after coming into contact with a live wire. Eight people were killed and dozens were burned. “Mothers with babies in their arms were showered with blazing gasoline,” wrote The Washington Post

Board-track racing had a short but explosive life in motorcycle history, but not nearly as short as some have erroneously documented. The discipline didn’t disappear after the widely publicized incidents of 1912 and 1913. Following the Kentucky tragedy, only a few more three- and four-lap motordromes were built. Newspaper headlines decrying them “murderdromes” made business difficult. Harry Glenn, who rode for Indian from 1912 to 1924, was the pallbearer for 19 of his competitors. In 1915, board tracks 1, 1.25, and 2 miles in length popped up in Chicago, Tacoma, Omaha, Des Moines, and Sheepshead Bay, New York, and featured automobile racing too. They were the precursors to modern speedways, but they were still made of wood, which made them impossible to maintain for the long term. Jack Prince didn’t get to see the end of the board-track era. He died in October 1927 at 68. The last major motorcycle races on the boards were held in 1928, and the final board track, Woodbridge Speedway in New Jersey, closed in 1931 after deteriorating beyond repair. It was replaced by a dirt oval. 

 

  Photo courtesy AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame

Photo courtesy AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame

 

Some historians believe it was negative press from the board-track tragedies that put motorcycling in the category of daredevilry and gave it notoriety as a dangerous and foolhardy sport, a designation that two-wheel enthusiasts are still trying to overcome. Board-track racing isn’t remembered for the damage it did to an industry; today it’s revered for the incredulousness it impresses upon the people who take the time to learn about it.

 


Read the story in Volume 004


The Blue Ocean


Staring Down the Rear-View

Words by Andrew Campo | Photos by Drew Martin


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“We see the world through a rear-view mirror. We march backwards into the future.”

 

These words by Canadian professor, philosopher and public intellectual Marshall McLuhan danced around inside my helmet as I departed Carmel by the Sea, a small, picturesque beach community on California’s Monterey Peninsula. In 1964 McLuhan published a book to challenge our assumptions on how and what we communicate, titled Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man. Through his writings he proposes that a medium itself, not the content it carries, should be the focus of study. He said that a medium affects the society in which it plays a role, not only by the content delivered, but also by the characteristics of the medium. I had brought McLuhan’s genius along for this ride in hopes of finding influence and greater vision for our future with META.

 

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"Here I will find peace. Here I shall find the strength to do the work I was made to do."

–Henry Miller

 

This journey to Carmel and beyond was a celebration of the platform we have built as an independent publisher over the past four years. It was time for us to slam on the brakes and stare down that rear-view mirror as we wash our souls in preparation for finding a sustained sanctuary in the elusive “blue ocean.” The blue ocean strategy is a business theory that suggests companies are better off gaining uncontested market space than competing with similar companies in a shark-infested red ocean. This luxury time in an incredibly inspiring environment, void of outside communication, helped move our minds into a visionary state.

 

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Heading north from Los Angeles and into the winding Central Coast back roads, we counted off mile after beautiful mile, earnest in anticipation of the beaconing coastal offerings found west of the Santa Lucia Mountains. Mythic in reputation, Big Sur seemed to be the ideal destination for our retreat. Recognized as one of the most beautiful coastlines anywhere in the world, simply put, this place is a motorcyclist’s dream come true. 

Ancient redwoods gently swing above the jagged coastline, casting shadows of enormous stature along the rocks and beaches below. With each twist and turn, the picturesque views never seemed to end. I could spend days going on about how special this region is, and with every stop we made, I could not stop talking about how incredibly grateful I was to be here. Enthusiasm was at an all-time high, and the incredible riding will be remembered in my dreams for years to come. 

 

"It was here in Big Sur that I first learned to say 'Amen'"

–Henry Miller

 

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Influence was abundant along the journey, and our core values surfaced many times throughout the trip. We believe in pursuing a life well ridden, and we stand by our beliefs. Our job is to inspire, relate and connect with our community through documented stories that come to life through our medium. Purpose, meaning and freedom are influences we hope to instill in others by way of example. This is how we measure success. Doing what we love and being able to share this life we have chosen is what fuels our efforts. 

 

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"One's destination is not a place, but a new way of seeing things."

–Henry Miller

 

There is something pure about drawing inspiration and putting it to work. That process is what allows us to keep drifting towards that blue ocean. And it’s something that we hope inspires others along the way.

 


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Read the story in Volume 011