He used to drag race, but don't hold it against him.
Hello, moto friends! After spending the last few years playing in the corporate sandbox as an OEM marketing guy, I am back to writing about motorcycles again.
Again, you say? Well, yes.
Most of you don’t know me, but, not so long ago, I was the Editor of a Canadian print magazine called Inside Motorcycles. For six and a half years, I lived a life of perpetual deadlines while saturating myself in the moto industry, attending press launches, writing travel articles, doing news reports, and managing the editorial side of the magazine. This included overseeing a stable of contributors, managing page layout, writing titles, proofreading, copy editing, responding to perturbed readers… so, suffice to say, I’m more than happy to just be called “writer” here at RA while Jason handles those lovely behind-the-scenes chores.
My introduction to motorcycling came from my two dads—that is, my biological father and my stepfather. Both were motorcyclists when I was a child, and my first rides were around the age of eight or nine on the back of my stepdad Rick’s Suzuki GS750 outside my hometown of St. Thomas, Ontario. It felt fast and terrifying, and I loved it. Several years later I bought my first motorcycle (a GS425, for $500) and got my beginner’s licence (called an M1 in Ontario). Around the same time, my father Paul and I decided to go drag racing with—guess what—a Suzuki GS (this one being a two-valve 1000 that got punched out to 1,260cc).
After about five years of drag racing, with a best quarter-mile pass of 9.18 seconds (at 147 mph) and a small collection of trophies under my belt, we left the sport. I was living in Toronto, a web designer hungry for clients. To keep me busy, I started writing freelance articles for Canadian moto magazines, which I did for the better part of a decade as a side hustle. While asking the publisher at Inside Motorcycles for my first pay rate increase in nearly a decade, I got asked if I was interested in the Editor position being vacated at the time. Two interviews later, the job was mine.
I lived and breathed motorcycles for the next 6.5 years. I rode everything—cruisers, ADV bikes, sport nakeds, you name it—took all the training I could, road raced, flat-tracked, traveled plenty, and wrote a lot. The highlight that sticks out from those years is a rock ‘n roll road trip through the US with Paul on a pair of Gold Wings. On a loop from Toronto and back that covered 11 days and 3,500 miles, we visited the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland; Honkytonk Row in Nashville; Sun Studios, Graceland and Beale Street in Memphis; Muscle Shoals Sound Studio in Alabama; the birth home of Elvis in Tupelo, Mississippi; legendary Route 66 between St. Louis and Chicago, and last, but certainly not least, the Motown Museum in Detroit. As you might expect from a pair of Canadians on the loose in the US, we also ate a lot of barbecue.
Anyhoo, running a magazine had its perks for a motorcycle junkie, but the time came to move along. Print was becoming an increasingly uncertain medium, and an offer came in from an OEM to be the marketing guy for motorcycles in Canada. Corporate life took some getting used to, but the RRSP matching, benefits, and free fruit in the break room once a month were nice perks. I still had the chance to write regularly, albeit with less slack on the leash.
That chapter has now closed, which brings us to the present. I’m super excited to be writing about motorcycles again, and pleased to be the newest member of the great RideApart team. I look forward to contributing where I’m needed, and stoked to help share the news of the moto world with you all.
(Thanks to Ben Quinn, Judd Kennedy, Andrew Wheeler, Tim McGill, Bill Petro and Kevin Wing for the photos!)