You know, in twenty years I’ve had the pleasure of meeting so many people from the motorcycle culture. A lot of them had been my heroes coming in, many more would score that admiration from me over the years for the person they were. These have been the people over the past twenty years of my time as a moto-journalist, who have been my family on the road, even when I’m back home in PA their presence is still felt.
In that time I’ve had the very sad responsibility to write about many of these folks passing as the years go on and we loose some of the great ones like Samantha Morgan, Uncle Rock, Ross Thomas, my brother John Green. But it’s not many times that I get to pen a tribute to a member of our sacred cause that I know will be able to read it. Well, this morning when I began my Sunday ritual of coffee and magazines, I ran across the farewell editorial from another long time brother, Chris Maida.
Chris has been the Editor at American Iron for some twenty years now and has decided to move on to his other passion of Aviation. While I am thrilled for him getting this dream job, I also feel like the industry and our culture will forever be a different place without his direction and counseling. You see, as I look back over that twenty year period I remember some of the greatest memories in my own timeline. The day we went out to LA with Big Ricky and served as Moto-Hooligans in a movie with Goldberg, once when we almost got in a bar brawl together in Omaha, NB. There were countless press and media events that we attended together and Chris’s voice was always that of reason and he very often kept me grounded, and that perspective is so important in a time where change is what’s up.
I had known Chris for a while, had been reading his words for quite some time by the day he gained my ultimate respect. It was back in the days of the first round of EPA bullshit that was coming down at the Cinci V-Twin Expo and the whole industry was discussing voluntary compliance when Chris stood up in the middle of the room and dropped a bomb. He reminded the industry that we all had a responsibility to the 65% of this business that goes on at the mom and pop level and the proposed direction would do nothing for those folks. At the end of that meeting he was as welcome as a rat in a restaurant but he didn’t care, he did what he felt was right and stood up for what he believed in. I walked across a quickly emptying room and shook his hand and thanked him for not leaving that segment without a voice. We became fast friends and from that day on I was less timid about presenting my own opinions, as skewed as they might seem to the popular crowd.
Now it might seem strange for an editor of one publication to give this salute to the editor of another, especially a competing title but you see, this is not what we do for business, this is who we are, what we love and the reason we get up every day. Chris has taught me so much over the years I truly believe the only way I can manage the magazine at the level its grown to today is through my experiences with this man. He has been a friend, a brother and a teacher to me and so many more of us that I felt like we should all stand for a second and tip our hats to one of our best. I wish you all the happiness you have coming in life my brother, you’ve definitely earned it.