Riding Motorcycles - Swapping Saddles - Lean Angle

Swapping Saddles

When I accepted an offer from Art Friedman to move to Los Angeles in the summer of 1985 to replace Brent Ross as one of Motor-cyclist's two associate editors (Ross left to go AMA road-racing on a Yamaha TZ500), I never, ever would've imagined I'd eventually run what had already become my favorite motorcycle magazine. I mean, I'd somehow snagged one of the best jobs in the universe. Running the magazine didn't even register.

I felt a similar "it's not possible" twinge in '93 when Friedman, who'd run Motorcyclist for 13 years, called me with a mind-blower of an offer-leave Cycle World (where'd I'd replaced Brian Catterson as Managing Editor after three years at Honda) and take over the Editor's chair at Motorcyclist. This would allow Friedman to do more of what had attracted him to this business in the first place-riding and writing about motorcycles.

Of course, at age 31, I thought I'd gone to heaven. And, just as in '85, I never would've imagined leaving the post. It just wasn't in the realm of possibility.

But after 13 years at Motor-cyclist's helm (there's that number again...must be something to it), I recognized Friedman's wisdom-or at least the job's realities.

There's great irony to this magazine business. Folks lucky enough to get involved come riding in all energetic and idealistic, and that combination can sustain a body for a long time, especially if one stays away from the management side. But for those who end up with budgetary, personnel and/or planning responsibilities, the burnout factor can be wicked. I know a handful of ex-editors who woke up one day wondering what had happened to the excitement and enthusiasm they'd packed in their staff editor days.

I've realized over the last few years-just as Friedman did-that I wanted-needed, really-to get back to that place, a place where I could do what I did years ago-riding, exploring, meeting other riders and writing about it.

All of which explains much of the reason we hired Brian Catterson from Cycle World over a year ago. There are precious few people I'd trust the Editorship of Motorcyclist to-the title is as much a part of me as my family-and Cat's name is right at the top of the list. He not only has tons of publishing experience, but he's also an excellent rider, racer and evaluator, and really does live and breathe the sport, which makes him a perfect fit. I knew when he accepted our offer that at some point it'd be time to hand things over-and now that time has come.

So Catterson's now The Guy-head honcho, big cheese, all of it. Me? I'm not going anywhere. I plan to be on Motor-cyclist's masthead for a long time, writing stories I hope will resonate with our core readership-pieces such as "Meeting The Monster" (racing a TZ750 at Daytona) or this issue's "Doin' The MOMBA" (page 50). My column will remain, which means we'll be able to continue the conversation we've been having for more than a decade.

In a whole bunch of ways, this issue's "Why We Ride" theme is perfect transitional grist. To me, riding motorcycles is all about adventure, getting away from it all, letting the good times roll and forgetting the stress and hassles of the daily grind. And with this job change, I'm gonna be doing a lot more of it.

See ya on the flip side.