Signed, Unsealed, and Delivered: MC Fanmail from the Big House

With so many convenient ways to communicate with Motorcyclist staff—via our public email account (, our Facebook site, the comment sections on our Web site, our Web forum, Twitter, Instagram, and more—I’m surprised that some fans still write to us the old-fashioned way, with pen and ink. Some write this way by choice. Our title is over 100 years old, and we have many long-time readers who haven’t—and will likely never—cross the digital divide. And then there are those who rely on epistolary communications out of necessity, because they don’t have—or aren’t allowed access to—digital devices.

You can tell a prison letter at first glance. The first clue is that it’s been ripped open then resealed with Scotch tape—nothing gets out before passing the censors first. The second is the return address, an unintelligible string of cellblock letters and inmate ID numbers that substitute for an identity inside the depersonalized prison environment. The third clue is the tone of the letter, typically overeager, sycophantic, and with slight (or not-so-slight) tendencies toward self-delusion—the signs of a true sociopath.

I learned long ago not to Google these guys and learn what they are in for—it really is better not to know. Now I’d rather use my imagination, and instead pretend my supermax-security superfans are just especially erudite motorcycle enthusiasts, who are so overwhelmingly impassioned by my writing that their enthusiasm can only be adequately expressed by writing it out in long-hand.

Besides, this couldn’t possibly be the ranting of a crazy person: “Aaron can do no wrong! When Aaron writes or rides he is smooth as glass! He is what Mozart is to classical music! I give Aaron 5 stars, two thumbs up, and the best in the business!”

Could it? I think not. Obviously “my new best friend in the bike world” is someone of very sound mind, and with impeccable taste in writing, to boot. I’ll just conveniently ignore his requests for a personally directed photo shoot. And don’t anyone dare give him my home address!