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The Five Whys: Andy Goldfine

Aerostich founder started riding for surprisingly practical reasons

Based in Duluth, Minnesota, Andy Goldfine is the founder of Aerostich, as well as one of the driving forces behind the international movement that is Ride to Work Day/Week. You can learn more about him by checking out the interview we did with him last year.

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When did you start riding and why?

I had a mini bike in 1968 that I rode off road, but started riding on the street in 1970, when I was still in high school. Simple as it sounds, I started riding just to be able to get from A to B more easily. (Surely a car would have made more sense in snowy Duluth; thank goodness Andy didn’t think of that –CC)

What bike/bikes do you own?

I have seven bikes at the moment. That’s down to the fact I’ve not sold a bike since 1978. Though, I have given two away: a 1967 Honda CL77 to my brother, and a 1994 MZ 500 Country to my brother-in-law.

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I buy them, wear them out, rebuild and modify as needed, and eventually replace them with newer ones – at which point I am unable to sell the old ones. For example, I have two older “airhead” BMWs, one with about 170,000 miles on the clock and the other with around 300,000 miles. I don’t ride ‘em anymore, but can’t quite find the will to sell them, either.

I have two “everyday” bikes that I rely upon, depending on the situation: a 2003 Suzuki DR-Z400S for all my daily city riding, and a 2007 BMW R 1200 R for most of my distance and travel riding.

READ MORE: Check Out More ‘Five Whys’ Tales

The Suzuki replaced a 1994 Honda XR650L “commuter,” which I’d bought new that year, then “motarded” over the next few years to fit me better. The DR-Z was bought third-hand five years ago with only about 5,000 miles on her, and for a great price: $2,000. It came with a bunch of nice accessories, like a large nylon Safari-brand fuel tank. We’ve seen riders come visit Aerostich on these bikes with more than 100,000 miles on them and no engine work.

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The stalwart Suzuki DR-Z400S has remained unchanged for decades. For many that’s part of its appeal.

The big BMW was a gift from a very good customer named Jack Murray who is now gone. Back in 2011 he was told by his doctor to get his affairs in order quickly, and he offered it to me. It had only about 8,000 miles at the time – seven years ago. Thank you again, Jack.

What bike do you dream of owning?

This has changed many times over the years. Currently, I’d like to have the upcoming Motus naked bike. I’m not sure exactly what I would do with it, though.

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It looks cool and would be scary fast, and I predict it would hold its value well. Will this model be the equivalent of a modern Vincent Black Shadow (except for those presumably red valve covers)? Maybe sorta. I’m way too old now to use it correctly, but not yet too old to try.

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Image courtesy Motus Motorcycles

What’s the best motorcycling adventure you’ve had so far?

I’ve had a lot of adventures and it’s hard to compare them; all have been very different. Some have been day-ride adventures. My longest continuous ride was a 3.5-month international trip that ended up totaling 17,000 miles.

All travel that provides new experiences and challenges – especially those challenges that are successfully overcome – is very special. It’s almost impossible to have a truly bad motorcycle experience as long as you end up safely at home afterward.

Where do you dream of riding?

I daydream of riding just about everywhere – including right around here in Minnesota. But my “exotic” dream riding places would be Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and Israel. Some of these places involve friends I’d like to visit, others have cultures, roads, and geography I’d like to experience.

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If you’d be interested in sharing your own Five Whys tale, get in touch.