On weekdays, when the canyons are devoid of weekend road warriors, our bike testing, photo and video shoots take place. Because we maintain the same weekly, nine-to-five grind as most worker bee motorcyclists, rarely do we cross paths with the average enthusiast out for a Sunday ride.

Occasionally, though, a motorcyclist playing hookey from work will give us the hairy eyeball, wander toward the collection of bikes we’re testing, then say something like, “How come you guys look familiar?” It’s a rare occurrence, but one we look forward to because they’re always pleasant interactions, oftentimes reaffirming what we do isn’t completely fruitless.

The other day, while grubbing at one of our favorite mountain locale restaurants (Crystal Lake Cafe) Garrett Hardy arrived on his GSX-R750 with his riding buddy aboard a modified Star Bolt. Confirming who we were, then posing for the obligatory group photo, Garrett went on to tell us that he based his motorcycle purchase on our recommendation.

Apparently, in a past shootout involving the GSX-R and a more expensive opponent, we gave him the notion that purchasing the lesser expensive Gixxer and spending the money saved on riding gear and trackdays was the better way to go. A phrase we’ve repeated in similar shootouts.

Having now navigated numerous tracks and crashing a few times, Garrett’s readying to retire the Gixxer to trackday-specific duty, and pick up new an S1000RR as his street ride. Another decision influenced by our honest (his word) opinions.

From left: Evans Brasfield, Randy Emata, Thai Long Lee, Kevin Duke, Tom Roderick, Troy Siahaan

From left: Evans Brasfield, Randy Emata, Thai Long Ly, Kevin Duke, Tom Roderick, Troy Siahaan

Thai Long Ly and friend “Nut Smuggler” rode up the day last year when we were filming our Four-Thirds Shootout. We bumped into him again months later (Thai’s a bohemian musician who keeps abnormal hours, freeing weekdays for time spent aboard his Triumph Daytona 675). Since then a bromance blossomed between him and our own Asian correspondent, Troy Siahaan. They go on long rides together, and Troy even invited him along to participate in one our shootouts (see Thai’s motojournalist debut in our 2014 Lightweight Naked Shootout).

The thing Thai, Garrett and anyone else who meets us wants to know is how did we score this job of riding motorcycles for money? To which we normally reply, dumb luck and good timing. However, luck is when preparation meets opportunity, right?

I doubt Thai would want to give up his rock-n-roll lifestyle, but young, Padawan Garrett probably doesn’t want to make a parts counter position at Bert’s Mega Mall his career choice. To him I say, start preparing. At his age I was doing about the same thing, and, well, look at me now.

thanksgivingBut, I’m digressing. What I’m meaning to say is that Thai and Garrett probably didn’t know it at the time, but their exuberance and outwardly spoken words of appreciation meant a lot to all of us MO editors. We exert so much energy resisting the urge to reply to crazy Youtube commenters accusing us of having sold out to one OEM or another, reading cue cards, etc., it truly is an inspirational breath of fresh air on the rare occasion we meet a fellow enthusiast who appreciates our work.

In the spirit of Thanksgiving and on behalf of the MO staff, I say thank you to Garrett, Thai and all the past and future friends of MO.

Now, please pass the Turbaconducken.

  • Old MOron

    Aw, you guys are aren’t hard-boiled moto journos. You’re big softies like the rest of us.
    Happy T’giving to T-Rod and all the MOrons.

  • Dave

    How come you don’t have any old fat guys as tester?

  • Kenneth

    You group of MO writers/riders are so much appreciated, not only for your honest and thorough ride reviews, but your skillful (and often humorous) writing. ‘Great to find so much talent at one website. Thanks!

  • What people don’t understand is that all the guys at Motorcycle.com receive millions of dollars in kickbacks for writing positive reviews. Millions. So many millions that these guys don’t actually ride the bikes themselves. They hire guys like me and Garrett to do the riding for them. Then they simply write WHATEVER from their yachts and lear jets.

    HAppy thanksgiving, gentlemen!

    – Thai Long Ly

    btw – Nut Smuggler has your dinner ready, guys.

  • Oslo Norway

    I’m proud to say despite my various shortcomings and character faults, nobody has ever addressed me as, “Nut Smuggler,” though I have been called worse…

  • JMDonald

    The influence MO has on bike purchases is indeed a reality. I bought a R1150RA based in part on a review John Burns wrote back when the bike first came out. It included real world riding impressions that were taken from his actually riding the thing. A factual description of any motorcycle’s features and performance when viewed through a neutral lens allows the reader to interpret his possible like or dislike without constantly being barraged by overly positive descriptions that border on propaganda. Negatives are sure to be present in any machine but bikes are so good these days they seem to be few and far between or subjective tastes that may or may not be of any consequence to the reader. MO is better than most in maintaining a neutral view without propagandizing their impressions. You all do a fine job. Keep up the good work.

  • Backroad Bob

    No friends like mc friends and there’s a reason for it. I called it the 800# Gorilla when I wrote the articles about it. it’s the bond we have that’s created by the fact that every time we ride could be the last time we ride. It’s powerful.

  • Backroad Bob

    No friends like mc friends and there’s a reason for it. I called it the
    800# Gorilla when I wrote the article about it. it’s the bond we have
    that’s created by the fact that every time we ride could be the last
    time we ride. It’s powerful.