There’s a conversation I’ve had with new acquaintances that repeats itself time after time once they learn I’m the Editor-in-Chief for one of the biggest and most respected moto publications on the web.

“Wow, that must be great to ride around on motorcycles all the time,” is the painfully common response. Painful because my riding situation is actually the opposite of what people imagine. While I have access to nearly every production motorcycle on the market, the job demands the majority of my time be spent behind a keyboard rather than behind handlebars. Much more. Embarrassingly more.

Not that I should complain. My occupation sends me to some of the raddest places on the planet so I can ride cool motorcycles before most anyone else in the world can even see them in person. And, right now as I type these words, I’m literally getting paid to whinge about it. Could be worse, I know.

Okay, the job definitely has some perks! On location at Imola.

Okay, the job definitely has some perks! On location at Imola.

The problem for me is that each time I’m riding an exciting new bike, I’m showing it to the world via MO, and this can give the impression these epic rides come regularly. What you don’t see are the seemingly endless weeks slumped over a computer writing and returning virtual stacks of email in an effort to bring together staffers and freelancers who, working remotely, need help pulling together and creating interesting, entertaining and insightful motorcycles stories.

So, you might see me review a bike I rode in Spain or Italy, but what you don’t see are the days of travel to get there and back, or the days spent pre-writing and writing the story. The week spent overseas to test a new bike usually translates into less than six hours of riding. If it’s a launch at a racetrack, figure on maybe only an hour or so in the saddle.

Duke’s Den – My Tour Of Racetracks Around The World: Part 4

Testing bikes on home soil thankfully provides more seat time, yet it’s not unusual for me to go multiple days without riding. The MO crew’s commute to work is a 21st-century one, using our computers and the interwebs to bring ourselves virtually in front of each other. Wheels are not a requirement to the writing part of our jobs once we’ve accumulated sufficient miles on a test bike.


My morning commute is as real as this nose wheelie.

Meanwhile, there’s hundreds of tasks to complete that don’t involve riding motorcycles, especially for the Editor-in-Cheese who must herd cats while making it appear as if we’re pulling on the same end of the rope from the same location, even if we’re not. I’m not the first EiC to note an inverse relationship between climbing an editorial masthead and the amount of time spent riding motorcycles.

And then there’s the competition for time from things unrelated to motorcycles, like taking care of the yard, fixing a broken car, taking the wife out for the annual date night, or helping the kid with homework and how to properly throw a Frisbee. There’s been only one time in the past year when I’ve ridden a motorcycle on a weekend for sole purpose of my pleasure, not for the production of more content. But then that ride inspired an editorial anyway…

I encourage my riding buddies to keep inviting me on their rides, and yet I never seem to have the time to join them. I missed another great riding event with them last weekend, which has led me to this tipping point.

I need to be with my friends riding motorcycles, and this shouldn’t be an impossible hurdle. If Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos can be competing to see who will be the first to perfect a reusable vertical-landing space rocket, perhaps I can somehow arrange my schedule in such a way that will make time for my buddies and riding motorcycles, two things I truly cherish and couldn’t imagine living without.

Anyway, this being the first month of a new year, I’d like to make a resolution that my riding-strictly-for-pleasure time in 2016 will at least double what it was last year. Of course, I’d only need to ride two days this year to achieve that goal, but everybody’s gotta start somewhere. I’ll work on a VTOL spacecraft next year.


I gotta get out and ride just for the hell of it!


  • Douglas

    ….annual date night? Really? I mean, I could understand weekly, or even monthly….but once a year? ‘Course, if it’s her idea to go once a year…..not tryin’ to pry or counsel, that just caused a raised eyebrow moment. And may you have good success finding more saddle time.

    • Old MOron

      I’m pretty sure that was an EiC’s use of hyperbole.

      Hey Duke, if it’s any consolation, most of us don’t get to ride as much as we’d like to. If you’ll pardon my unsolicited opinion, doing homework and playing frisbee with you kid is probably the noblest thing you do – among many, ahem. Keep up the good work.

    • Kevin Duke

      That was a bit of hyperbole intended for humorous effect, but I appreciate the well-intended counsel!

    • Ian Parkes

      ‘Saddle time’. Hur hur.

  • DickRuble

    Riding for pleasure is a strictly yankee burgeois passtime. You, EIC KD, live in California. You should be taking the laundry to the dry cleaner on a bike, should commute to the office on a bike, take the kids to and from school on a bike, take your wife on a date on the bike. You should own no car. Riding for pleasure … pfffff…

    • LOL Duke could ride to his “office” in his underwear if only he could fit his non-running 900SS into his bedroom…

      • Kevin Duke

        Maybe a Grom…

  • kawatwo

    Motorcycle magazines and now online “magazines” have been a MAJOR part of my life since I was 15 years old. I appreciate all of the hard work that goes in to letting us ride all of these bikes with you guys and gals if only vicariously. Keep up the good work and good luck finding some “Me” time this year Kevin 🙂

  • Born to Ride

    Been reading MO for the past 8 years almost exclusively, and I have to say, your work is one of the primary reasons for that. I might even go so far to say that your team has heavily influenced my decision making when I have purchased all of my street motorcycles.

    Gabe’s comparison of the Ninja 650 and SV650 led me to purchase an SV as my first bike in 2009, Pete’s “MOnster Garage” piece had me seeking out a white wheeled S2R1000 in 2012, and your comparison of the XR1200 and M1100 back in 09 is one of my favorite comparo articles on the internet. And guess what? I have an M1100s parked in my garage right now.

    I hope you succeed in finding more time to ride. I think we all know how sometimes our sacred riding time gets the backburner in light of more pressing issues. Good Luck!

    • Kevin Duke

      Happy to hear you’re getting good value out of staying with MO! You’ve been here almost as long as I have!

  • John B.

    Platitudes with some merit:

    1. Business travel is not vacation, and it often sucks;
    2. The reward for doing something well, is managing people some of whom do it not as well;
    3. In general, the people and things (relationships, health, houses etc.) you pay attention to tend to prosper, while those you ignore tend to wither;
    4. Children need your time, and they grow up too quickly;
    5. We travel parallel paths with friends and family only for a short time, and then no more (annual date night?);
    6. Graveyards are filled with indispensable men;
    7. To write well is difficult and almost always takes longer than expected;
    8. 40 is the old age of youth, and 50 is the youth of old age. Do IT while you can;
    9. Very few people have lots of free time, good health, and significant disposable income at the same time;
    10. A balanced life precludes great achievement.

    Hey Kevin, if you figure out how to be a great EIC, writer, father, husband, riding buddy, handyman, mechanic, cat-herder, and youthful quadragenarian all at the same time, please write a book! No offense, but I put the under/over for 2016 leisure rides for you at two! The MO-crew produces great work on a consistent basis, and that’s a great achievement.

    • Kevin Duke

      Those are excellent platitudes, John!

    • Kevin Duke

      Happy to read this thread again!

  • Vern Terwilliger

    Thanks for another great article. Your writings have had a great influence in my motorcycling, not the least of which was taking your advice to ad a 55 sidewall tire to my ninja 1000. Wow, it sure did help my riding for enjoyment when handling the twisties on this machine. Just know if u cant ride for your enjoyment i get to multiple times per week and your writing helps improve that time!!!!!!

    • Kevin Duke

      I love to hear that some of my advice has had value to our readers!

      • Vern Terwilliger

        Just keep writing and ill keep reading and implementing

  • Patriot159

    I like that resolution! That is why I bought a DR650 last year to add to my FJR1300 so I can take to the trails and dirt roads too! More riding is good riding.

  • Old MOron

    So Duke, this is the last week of January. Have you been out for a pleasure ride yet?
    I don’t know about behind the Orange Curtain, but the weather in the rest of Hell A has been pretty nice.

  • krishan adhikari

    I ride at least 4 times a year. generally these rides are extended weekend trips, Did a 9 day trip last Jul after 8 years. wish had more vacation time to do a few more this year. Haven’t done one yet. Planned one for the good Friday weekend. The one thing that you need to do ride more often is either a wife/girlfriend/partner that rides with you or understands that riding out of town is a fine and normal thing to do 🙂