We didn’t intend to have a Hollywood heavy issue of Canadian Biker but it just naturally happened and came about from a couple of different angles. No one can resist a story pitting toys against each other—in one corner Evel Knievel and in the other, Duke Caboom. This alone has a movie in it somewhere. It was like pulling on a thread and finding many more threads attached. Movies, like books, are a personal experience. Books maybe more so as there are so many to choose. But with either medium success often comes by creating new chapters and a bond that a wider audience can appreciate and keeps them coming back.
Then there are magazines, perhaps the longest of bonds. In the 350 issues of Canadian Biker, we have told a consistent story in print of motorcycles but we have also branched into other media—much of the initial impetus for broadening our scope came from our founder Len Creed who seemed to grasp early the internet’s potential for new opportunities. Canadian Biker has had a website since the mid-1990s—this was back in the creaky days of the worldwide web … so creaky our service provider was a local company working from one of Victoria’s smallest hole-in-the-wall buildings. I remember walking by the place before I joined Canadian Biker thinking, what are they doing in there? If that was the internet, it still had a ways to go. The first time I even heard there was something called the internet had been only three or four years before canadianbiker.com came into being.
The internet was an academic tool for sharing data and information with few (and at the time, discouraged) commercial applications. But that quickly changed. An acquaintance had a subscription to some service called America Online, a clunky portal that would transform what was quickly being called the “information superhighway”—supposedly everything you needed to know in one place. But Len saw the potential to reach a wider audience for Canadian Biker before the world even knew it needed a global audience.
No one then understood what the internet would become today but it became clear after we had a website that every company would eventually need one along with email addresses, social media accounts, maybe even TikTok … and of course YouTube. Here was another opportunity to illustrate thinking ahead of the curve. Motorcycle content on mainstream media was limited back in the 1990s, partly because there were so few channels or outlets to carry the programming. But that didn’t stop Canadian Biker.
For a season we had Canadian Biker TV, a cable program carried across Canada. It seemed some provinces ran episodes for years afterwards, thus becoming long lasting if only in reruns. It was obvious there was an appetite for the programming but it was a complex and costly undertaking. It wasn’t the YouTube programming of today with the benefit of instant distribution, excellent and low cost camera and mics and a universal searchable platform.
Canadian Biker TV wasn’t our only brush with Hollywood as we also featured celebrities on the cover through the years and before the motorcycle industry’s annual trade shows became the polished events they are today rand un by corporate management, we even hosted our own trade shows\ all of which started with Len and a good idea back in 1980. Maybe there’s a movie in that too.
We tongue-in-cheek thank Honda for introducing the new CB350 to coincide with our 350th issue, it’s quite the honour.
We are proud of our 350th edition and thank all those who helped us get to the milestone especially our readers who have seen us through television, the internet and many, many motorcycles over those 350 issues.
• John Molony Canadian Biker Issue #350