Farewell to Joe Glydon

Sean Alexander
by Sean Alexander
The Motorcycling Press and many thousands of literate motorcyclists were deeply saddened this week, after the passing of Joe Glydon. Glydon, the often controversial motojournalism legend, passed away on Monday. The cause of his death is unspecified.

John Burns had this to say about Joe:

"To be honest, I don’t think I ever met Joe Glydon in person, but I will sorely miss him in printed form. I could be completely wrong, but I picture a cantankerous, sharp-tongued guy intolerant of shoddy reasoning, which is the reason why his column never reached a wider audience than that of City Bike. He was too far out there to ever survive in a mainstream motorcycle monthly. One of the first things I wanted to do at MO was reprint his columns online, until it became painfully obvious the budget wouldn’t allow us to pay him.

Like most people who manage to dislodge the reader’s brain from neutral, you didn’t always agree with everything Glydon wrote, but he many times got me thinking about things I’d never really considered before, or got me looking at a thing from a 180-degree different direction than I had before. Maybe more important, reading his stuff often made me feel a little more secure by knowing I wasn’t the only freak on the planet feeling smothered by creeping conformity and that’s right The Man! Not to mention his turns of phrase, man, by anybody’s literary standard, the guy was just a superb writer when his fire was lit.

Speaking of the Man, what did Joe write a couple months ago? Something like the unspoken passenger in every police cruiser being sadism… One column would be model trains, next would be collapsible kayaks or 2CV Citroens. Basically, and I bet Joe never used the word basically, I felt a little smarter and a little more broad-minded, yes probably even a little more Superior, at the bottom of just about every Joe Glydon column I’ve read. It would’ve been good to have sat at a dinner table with Joe on one side and Kevin Cameron (who, last I heard, was still rebuilding an old radial bomber engine in his backyard just to hear it run) on the other, What can you say? Joe was a unique individual and my little world is a measurably poorer place. So is Joe’s, cause I think MO still owes him like $600. Godspeed, Glydon."

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Sean Alexander
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