Apr 25, 2012

Translating from English

I mentioned a new on-line British motorcycle magazine a few posts back, The Riders Digest. The April issue is one of the more interesting motorcycling reads I've experienced in years. To give you a taste, the editor wrote a politically incorrect intro about going slightly hooligan on his Suzuki scooter and warned his readers to suck it up if that bothered their gentle sensibilities. An incredibly windy dude, who rightly hides behind the stage name "Anarchy 2012," wrote one of the least informative bike reviews ever penned on the Honda NC700X. My own product reviews have been altered forever after beating my way through the deep brush of his opinions and life history to a seriously unsatisfying conclusion.

A white-haired near-geezer, Paul Browne, wrote one of the most concise and interesting diaries about giving up his job in Ireland and running off to tour the Americas with a hot young thing he'd met as a motorcycle salesman. If I were more jealous, I'd have to hunt him down and lecture him about his total lack of personal responsibility and how he is making the rest of us old farts look sedentary and boring. I do not understand a single sentence of his description of where the money came from for this trip. I could read a whole article explaining how "the Irish government had just paid out on a savings scheme that put a little over twenty grand into each of our pockets" and how quitting his job as a bike salesman earned him "a golden handshake that was enough to buy me a new bike." In the States, the only people who get golden handshakes are execs who know where the company keeps the bodies buried. Seriously, I want to understand where this money came from. I fucking want to retire so badly my feet hurt and I can't see anyway it will happen in my lifetime.

The rest of this issue of The Riders' Digest is as unpredictable and varied as all of motorcycle journalism combined. The magazine swings from one end of us to the opposite without a hitch or apology. Michael Moore's Sicko had a couple of scenes that made me despair that, after all our hoolyballo about being the "home of democracy," England was more democratic than the US. TRD has the same effect on me, motorcycle-wise. I seriously hope this magazine catches on and does some serious damage to the current state of motorcycle journalism. The closest thing to TRD that I've seen in the US was the old Dirt Bike Magazine from the Super Hunky-editing days and the best issues of our own rag, MMM. Getting rid of the paper publishing costs takes some of the risk out of possibly alienating sensitive advertisers, but TRD's website and the PDF magazines are terrific and that can't come for free. Here's hoping this new version of an old magazine sets some new standards.

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