I have been fortunate during my years of working at Canadian Biker to attend a number of motorcycle industry press events across North America. But with plenty of work at the office, I was never the go-to guy for new model introductions even back in the day when those events came fast and furious. Those were the times when Canadian motorcycle writers would be flown to interesting faraway locales to ride the latest new models; the most distant of those being South Africa, which was called upon several times to host events. It is a long two-day journey to fly there from the west coast, where our office is located.
That era is basically gone now as the world struggles to find new ways of doing business in the wake of the global pandemic. The days of jumping from plane to plane to attend new model press introductions are certainly a thing of the past until medical science finds a way to contain COVID-19. When the world returns to its new post-normal state I hope we are all back traveling the world to ride our bikes on the great roads of North America, Europe, Africa, Asia or Australia as so many of our readers and writers have done over the decades.
This issue, to help celebrate our 40th anniversary, we flip through our archives and recall some of the great road trips from our past. Seems we’ve been to just about every continent on earth—now including Antarctica, as you will see deeper into this edition.
My own rides have been contained to North America, which is absolutely fine because if you can’t find a beautiful road in every corner of this continent, you aren’t looking hard enough. And finding those beautiful roads is what I enjoyed most about those trips. Don’t get me wrong, I also love riding the latest new models and learning about their developments and advances and sharing them with you but always there would come a point when I looked around and said yes, this is what it is all about.
The time that sticks out clearly was after I had taken over publisher duties here and again, there was a lot going on at the office. I had been invited to the Harley-Davidson Rushmore launch based out of Denver. We rode out of the city on the freeway through a downpour of rain, the kind you can barely see through. The next morning we left the freeway and rode into the mountains. Under a blue sky amid the red rock hills on quiet twisting roads, riding that new Harley-Davidson everything else just drifted away. I smiled and thought “this” is what it is all about.
I experienced similar feelings while crossing the Mojave desert at night on a Victory, rounding Cape Breton on Honda’s VFR, doing Daytona on the Honda Fury, riding upstate New York on an OCC chopper, and being Yamaha XSR900-mounted in Ontario’s cottage country (beautiful as long as you kept moving to escape the flies).
Exploring new places by motorcycle was the reason almost all of us started riding. Without touring, motorcycle riding is just commuting which can in itself be enjoyable but not the source of those aha! moments. I have been to amazing places in the course of performing duties for this magazine but even solo rides in my own Vancouver Island backyard have produced aha! moments.
Touring stories have always played a significant role in the history of this magazine. As I look back through our earliest issues gathering info for our 40 years, I see again how we were always on the road to somewhere and the roads expanded farther and wider as the years passed. As we recap the highlights of a few of those tours later in this issue I am amazed how far and how hard our contributors have worked to ride in some very out-of-the-way places. It wasn’t always enjoyable for them but there must have been a moment each of them said, “This is why I do it.”
• John Molony Canadian Biker Issue #348