So You Wanna Be A Moto-Journalist - Editorial

Tom Roderick
by Tom Roderick

To my knowledge Confucius never specifically referred to moto-journalism in his writings, but when the 6th century B.C. philosopher issued a proverb loosely interpreted today as “choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life,” what other occupation could the man be implying?

Okay, being a MotoGP star would be nice, but let’s stay within the realm of what’s realistically attainable by mortal motorcyclists. Receiving a paycheck for riding on and writing about the latest and greatest motorized two-wheelers motorcycle OEMs have to offer seems more of an El Doradoan fantasy rather than bona fide career choice.

I can hear the cogs grinding to life in the minds of gearheads everywhere.

Got skills, you say. Been to some track days or maybe even own some amateur racing experience. Teacher gave you a B+ on your last high school English paper. That’s part of the equation, but then there’s the whole reporting and editing thing. What do you call it … journalism? You have to go to college for that? What a four-year drag. Who needs training on the principles of objectivity, accuracy and fact checking? If the internet’s proven one thing it’s that everyone’s opinion is balanced, insightful, CORRECTLY PUNCTUATED and reads like poetic manna from Mark Twain’s and J.K. Rowling’s love child.

But if you’re willing to incur the collegiate debt attaining your degree demands, an entry-level moto-journalism position with the earning power to cover the interest on your loan payments awaits.

What you have to look forward to – following a short, three-year initiation period of bike washing, chain lubing and maintaining the tire pressure of the magazine’s motor pool – is being entrusted with a loaner bike of your own. Something along the lines of a TU250X or maybe a Rebel.

Soon thereafter you’ll be whisked off to your first press launch covering a rebadged Victory-Davidson model that differs from its stablemate by way of handlebars and paint and told to write a 10,000-word story about said bike and have it on your boss’ desk the next morning.

And rest assured your boss, the editor-in-chief of the publication for which you work, will be a grizzled old biker who fondly remembers typesetting and reminds you at every chance that he craps more motorcycle knowledge in a day than you’ll attain in a lifetime. “Whaddya mean you’re uncertain whether or not a ’62 Matchless G50 has roller-tipped rockers? Who the f*#k doesn’t know that?”

There’s also the untold joy of hours spent in front of a computer screen writing the next great bike review and vainly attempting to say in a previously unsaid way that the 1000cc sportbike you just rode is fast. “The new Kawizuki Ninjbusa is so fast it: accelerates with a force equal to that of Superman’s ejaculate … whooped the Millenium Falcon in the Kessel Run … is being used as the propulsion unit in SpaceX’s next rocket.”

The archstone of any illustrious moto-journalism career hinges on your ability to find and marry an intelligent woman (oxymoron alert: smart women don’t willingly marry moto-journalists, you gotta trick them). A career woman with a stable profession, a benevolent understanding of your moto-fascination and one who won’t mind wiping your ass when you crash and break both your arms – think nurse, rocket scientist or Disney executive.

Editorial positions occasionally need filling, but the musical chairs of moto-journalism don’t stay vacant long. Never working a day in your life is neither impossible nor probable, but if being a moto-journalist is truly your aspiration, keep in mind the words of another philosopher, this one from the 1st century A.D., Lucius Seneca, “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.”

On a good day, being a moto-journalist can make you jump for joy.
Tom Roderick
Tom Roderick

A former staffer who has gone on to greener pastures, Tom Roderick still can't get the motorcycle bug out of his system. And honestly, we still miss having him around. Tom is now a regular freelance writer and tester for when his schedule allows, and his experience, riding ability, writing talent, and quick wit are still a joy to have – even if we don't get to experience it as much as we used to.

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