What Were Some Of Our Staffers Doing 15 Years Ago
Originally Published In The April 2012 Issue Of Cycle Source Magazine
Fifteen years ago, I was still in the Army and was stationed at Ft. Lewis, WA. I was happily married to a beautiful woman named Shannon. We used to ride my Panhead (which is now Purple Haze) all over. At that time, I picked up every issue of Iron Horse I could get my hands on and dreamed about the things I wanted to do to my Pan. It seems silly now but back then all I wanted in this world was a set of PM forward controls and brake calipers. Go ahead and laugh because I am too! Man, I’m telling you those things were the ticket back then! I first met Chris at one of the Smoke Outs in Salisbury and we hit it off immediately. Real brothers are like that; you just know when you meet someone that you feel understands you better than your own family ever could at times. That’s a brother for life! I’m extremely proud of all he has accomplished the past fifteen years and I know he’s blessed to have Jean by his side through most of this madness. I’m proud to contribute and I’m honored to have everyone involved with the magazine as well as the people I have met over the years in my life. Here’s to as many more as you wanna do brother!!!
In ’97, I had just graduated high school and was working full time for a union pipe insulator. I was also enrolled in a tech school and working on a degree in welding. Back then, I didn’t have a street bike yet. I was still running in Enduro races on a KTM and driving a 1964 pick-up. I was nineteen and thought I couldn’t be killed. Me and group of friends decided to hit the bars one night and on the way there, had a horrible accident. It left me in the Intensive Care Unit for two weeks with broken bones and blood clots on my brain. That’s one of the events in my life that I will never forget. It took me almost a year to recover from that wreck. I learned a lot that year about family and friends and life. I never thought that I would be where I am today: a father, a husband and thanks to Cycle Source, a journalist.
Fifteen years seems to be a lifetime ago. By ‘97, I had been riding Harleys exclusively for little more than 5 years. Somewhere around ‘03 and ‘04, my wife and I began visiting AZ and fell in love with it. We knew one day we would retire here. Who knew it would be only 2 years later? One day I was fishing through the magazine aisle somewhere and came across my first copy of Cycle Source and I could not help but feel its down home goodness. It had a whole bunch of features in it, but one struck me more than any and it was about this cat name Teach who stayed after school to help at-risk kids learn how to build a chopper. Shortly after that, I was at a party and who was right there in front of me but Teach, Milwaukee Mike, Mario Sanchez, etc. They were the most down to earth hardcore, chopper riding, partying lunatics I’d met in a long time. As time went on, these guys introduced me to Chris Callen and the Cycle Source crew. And now, I sit here writing this very piece for the one and only magazine that caught my eye that day. I only hope that the next 15 dealing with us are only half the pain-in-the-ass that the first 15 were! These grass roots are strong!
I was in Texas at an American Iron Horse motorcycle test ride for Barnett’s magazine and this young guy walks up to me, hands me a magazine and says, “I want you to check out my magazine and tell me what you really think.” I flipped through the pages and told him he had a great magazine and thought to myself, he’s on to something; I need to keep my eyes out for this guy. That young man was Chris introducing me to Cycle Source. I had been in the publishing industry since 1989, working with motorcycle publications since 1994. I knew Chris had the energy and passion it took to become successful in this over-saturated market of motorcycle print publications. Last year, after the magazine that I was working for folded, I approached Chris and asked him if there was any room for me as a contributor of Cycle Source. He welcomed me and has taught an old veteran like me many new things. Chris lives, breathes and eats motorcycles, while always standing behind his beliefs no matter what the consequences may be. He’s the real thing and I wish him and Jean much success. Thanks so much and Happy 15th Anniversary!
God, 15 years ago! Well, I guess I was 16 and I was coming off the motocross track for good; my small town in Iowa was feeling the pinch of US companies shipping jobs overseas. My mom was working for a company that made air cleaners for a big truck manufacturer, and they decided to ship the jobs and business to Africa. It takes money to do the motocross thing and that was the end of our family having the means to be able to travel, ride and race. At seventeen I bought my first street bike, not a Harley, but a CBR. My dad was pissed; he wanted me to buy a Harley. But I wanted to be able to go 170 mph and hang wheelies for miles, and that’s what I did. That bike almost killed me. I hit a bridge going 80 mph and it screwed me up pretty good. I have the scars and the metal rod in my femur to prove it. Ever since then, it’s been Harley Davidson. Congrats guys and looking forward to another 15 years with Cycle Source.
Fifteen years ago, I was in the midst of a wicked divorce and kind of trying to figure out what it was that I wanted to do with my life. About the only thing that brought me any inner peace and solace was something I had enjoyed since my teens and that was riding, wrenching on and fixing my motorcycles. So began the first step from being a casual rider to someone who lives, breathes, eats, and sleeps motorcycles. I began to actually participate in anything I could that had to do with bikes, and that meant crisscrossing the country multiple times on two wheels and I love every second of it. I also found others in my travels that had the same mind set and I am thankful that I did because without the network of people I have met over the years, I would be lost. One of the people that have profoundly affected me is Chris Callen. He gave me an opportunity 6 years ago to get back to another passion of mine, writing. I find it weird how life comes full circle sometimes. In 1986, I started college with a scholarship for the journalism program at U-W Milwaukee but was not a fan of how restrictive the program was. It seemed all they wanted was to turn us into newspaper reporters and that was not for me. So I changed my major and got into the pre-med program which I also found unsatisfying. I started to work more with my hands and got into the sign business via a construction job I had all through college. So here I am, 26 years later, still working at trying to illuminate the world by building custom electric and neon signs while traveling the world to search out the bikes, stories and events that I think the readers at Cycle Source will enjoy. Thanks Chris for being a great travel partner and one of the easiest people I have ever met. I’m glad I’ve had the honor to work for and be a brother to you. I look forward to a long number of years helping in any way I can.