Duke's Den: Ride More!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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