The Cruelest Month
The cards and dried flowers taped to the door are the worst part for me. Without them, I could almost imagine he's still here, maybe coming and going during off hours when I'm not around. The illusion would help ease the pain.
But the cards and flowers are there, physical and agonizing reminders that Greg McQuide is no longer with us. I still can't believe it. (For those who haven't heard, Greg was killed in a motorcycle accident while attending the Honda Hoot on June 23. A truck cut him off, and sent him into the armco barrier.) I've resisted writing this column for nearly a month now. No words I could conjure up seemed to do him justice.
Last Friday we held a memorial service of our own for Greg. About 150 people attended, including Greg's parents and younger brother. It wasn't a somber affair; Greg would've wanted things to be upbeat, and we tried our best to oblige. So we told Greg stories. And as I smiled at one particularly funny tale, the impact Greg had on me, our staff and the entire industry began to gel.
That Greg was smart and hard-working, that he had a serious flair for the written word and a hard-core love of motorcycling-all that was pretty obvious, I think, through his work here at Motorcyclist.
But what stands out most prominently about Greg, and what will be remembered most fondly by those of us who knew and worked with him, was his peerless attitude. The guy was always positive, always looking for the best in any given situation. When things would get ugly around here come deadline time, Greg would always be there to buoy us, make us feel better and not take things too seriously. I can still hear him saying, in that goofy tone of his, "Hey, pressure makes diamonds!" or, "So, how we doin' kids?!" His attitude was infectious.
Greg was also massively humble, and not affected by the bad-ego that plagues so many in this sport. When he wheelied our ST4 over backwards, he came to me, apologized and promised to never do anything silly like that again. (He didn't.) When we abused him good-naturedly (as we always did), he'd smile, shake his head and say, "Watch your backs." He was a helluva practical joker. But most of all, Greg was a good person.
We're not about to let Greg's legacy drift away, which is why we've decided to resurrect the "Motorcyclist of the Year" award for our December '00 issue-and rename it the Greg McQuide Award. Fittingly, it will go to the person or organization that's had the most positive impact on motorcycling.
I'll be holding onto a bit of Greg also. I've purchased his old BMW from his mom and dad, the '84 R100CS he brought with him when he moved west. It's still got the Yankee Beemers stickers on it, and I won't take them off. I've always wanted an old Boxer, and I can't think of a better one to own.
Kevin Smith, our editorial director, recently said something that really hit home with everyone who knew Greg. "We can certainly fill Greg's position on staff," he said, "but we can never replace the man."
How true. Godspeed, Greg.