|RideApart now churns out crap like this.|
If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you’ll have likely picked up by now that one of my favourite motorcycle websites is RideApart. Or, rather, was RideApart. In the last few weeks its quality has rapidly decreased and it has become something that both angers and saddens me, whereas it used to inspire.
And if you’re a long-time reader of this blog you may remember my story: I got my motorcycle endorsement in Minnesota when I was 18 years old, but didn’t actually make any effort to ride until almost two decades later. Then, suddenly, I had to ride. The reason for that instant awakening of interest has always been tricky for me to explain satisfactorily. It just sort of happened, just sort of became impossible to ignore. But I can, at least, pinpoint a handful of things that had a major effect on me — things that lit the fire:
- Hell’s Angels: A Strange and Terrible Saga of the Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs by Hunter S. Thompson. It wasn’t all that great of a book. The writing is pretty weak at many points. But it helped open my mind to the idea of a motorcycle as transportation, rather than a shiny way for an old man to compensate for erectile dysfunction (a).
- The “You Know, I Know and They Know” video. There is a whole genre of self-aggrandising hipster/chopper motorcycle videos out there and I’ve probably sat through every single one. The best and most beautiful, though, is this one.
- That episode of RideApart when Jamie goes to Sequoia National Forest on a Triumph Bonneville. Jamie Robinson is a Yorkshireman who was once England’s best grand prix racer. He retired in 2008 and now makes a living being the guy you wish you could be by riding all kinds of bikes in all kinds of places. The great appeal of Jamie is that he maintains an enthusiasm for all bikes regardless of type or engine size; if it’s got two wheels, it’s fun.
- By extension, “Hell for Leather,” the accompaniment website to RideApart. Originally, RideApart was just the name of the video series. Early in 2013, the old Hell for Leather name was dropped and everything was joined under the RideApart name. Jamie left for MotoGeo and the RideApart site got a rather commercial-looking overhaul. That may have been the first clue…
|First of all, you’re in Canada…|
|When I knew RideApart had jumped the shark.|
(a) Unfortunately, the Minnesota I grew up in had a whole lot of dudes who were clearly using bikes to compensate for the lack of something. They instilled in me a dislike of bikes and bikers that caused me to over-generalise and oversimplify motorcycle riding.