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Rider Response: Greatest Hits

Rider Magazine
September 2, 2010
Filed under Rider Magazine Blog

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Here at Rider magazine we feel very fortunate to have such a large and loyal family of subscribers, many of whom have been with us from the very beginning, back in 1974. Through monthly columns and features, readers get to know Rider staffers and contributors. They learn about the motorcycles in our garage, the gear we can’t live without, even aspects of our home and family life. And through the letters we receive each month, we get to know many of our readers.

Over the past few years, email has all but replaced the hand-written letter, one upshot being that readers can more easily (no stamp required!) and quickly share their thoughts with us. Likewise, hitting the reply button allows us to respond more efficiently. Of course, even though we read every letter and email we receive, we simply don’t have the manpower to personally respond to everyone. We genuinely appreciate hearing from readers, and we’d like to acknowledge everyone for sharing their opinions, ideas, travel stories, photos, etc.

The responses we get can generally be classified into a few categories:

– Feedback on features/columns – readers give us cheers and jeers, keep us honest by pointing out mistakes, expand on particular issues/technologies and share personal experiences.

– All things Clem – compliments on Clement Salvadori‘s columns, features and “telepathic” writing (he puts into words what many riders think and feel); offers to show him roads, have him over for dinner, etc.

– Trips down memory lane – we love hearing from folks who’ve been reading Rider for years, about the bikes they’ve owned, the trips they’ve taken and so on.

Though our staff is small, we’re an obsessive bunch when it comes to editing, fact-checking and proofreading. Nonetheless, when you’ve written and revised a story multiple times and read and re-read other features in addition to all of the photos, captions, spec charts, dyno data, emails, notes, press kits and maps that are part of monthly issue, errors slip through. When we discover a mistake, or a reader points it out to us, we’ll run errata or include the reader’s comment in our Responsesection. Because we’re human and fallible, we prefer the humorous rather than the finger-wagging approach to criticism. And, unlike some other motorcycle magazines, we don’t use Response as a forum for belittling or humiliating readers that disagree with us. We do unto others as we’d have them do unto us.

Since I’ve been Road Test Editor (March 2008), I’ve saved every reader email that Editor Mark Tuttlehas forwarded to us. Recently we received a subscription request from an Iraqi citizen that sniffed of one of those email scams where a troubled Nigerian prince asks you to hold his millions of dollars until he can safely leave the country—all you need to do is give him your bank account number for a wire transfer (wink wink). When English is written or translated by non-native speakers, the awkward, stilted results can be highly comical (see Engrish.com). Here’s an excerpt from the email:

Subject: Gratis Rider Magazine ba post be address man

Dear Sir and Madam ,

Good day to you ,

I am a free man in  that case I have many choices so I Choosed you , only expecting you help me not with illogical and ridiculous answers .

I said before moather how much will costs .If it is possible ” Newest Edition ” of your magazine called ” Rider “  .

I fully accept to pay post costs and prices. If you really thinkon my

E-mails I am sure you will understand me , So you can certainly granted my desires ( demands ) .

Look forward to hearing from you very soon .

Yours Sincerely,
[name & address withheld]

We’ve received humorous comments about occasional errors in the maps that accompany our tour stories and Favorite Ride, such as the one featured in “Road to Wisdom” (Rider, July 2008):

Road to Wisdom Map - Rider, July 2008

Road to Wisdom Map - Rider, July 2008

I thoroughly enjoyed Jim Petersen’s “Road to Wisdom” article in your July issue of Rider magazine. When I had finished the article and was admiring the map I noticed that Nebraska had been taken over by Oklahoma. I have got to pay more attention to the news. Living here in Texas only 60 miles from the OK border I should be more wary of those pesky Sooners. Who knew they had such ambitions? Love your magazine.
– Jon Stout, Colleyville, Texas

…the map portrayal on page 72 shows our Great State of Oklahoma about one state north of where we should be. Perhaps we, as a State, are trying for the great escape to Canada or Kansas is running for the Mexican border during this tedious political season?
– Bil Place, Marlow, Oklahoma

…is the map of the route on page 72. Now I know that Oklahoma and Nebraska have had some nasty weather (winds, tornadoes, etc.), but when did Oklahoma become South Dakota’s southern neighbor?I was through that way last February and at that time Nebraska was.
– John Heikkila

You have done a great service to all riders. I have always found the state of Kansas to be an obstacle when heading west from Missouri. There are lots of rolling plains to see while getting across the state, but takes time to get to the interesting stuff in Colorado and the west. Your map on page of the July issue solves the problem by eliminating Kansas. I am now looking forward to my next ride to the west. Please keep up the great work and I look forward to other ride solutions in the August issue.
– Jerry James

You never know what might catch the eye of readers. In the June 2008 issue, several folks took issue with Favorite Ride author Don Mills’ caption accompanying a photo of a bovine, which read, “Onalasksa—‘Dunno, Bill, think it’s a Longhorn?’”:

Favorite Ride Bovine Rider, June 2008

Favorite Ride Bovine Rider, June 2008

The bull pictured on page 108 of the June 2008 Rider is probably not a Texas Longhorn. I’m no expert, but my guess is that he is an African Ankole-Watusi. Thoroughly enjoyed the Texas Forest Trail Favorite Ride—it’s my backyard. I would tell you about my favorite East Texas roads, but I too have taken an oath of secrecy.
– Starley “Mad Mac” McGuyre, Houston, Texas

As a Texan I also must point out that the bull in the photo on page 108, while it does have long horns, is not a Longhorn, but an import from Africa, the Ankole-Watusi. I have attached a photo of a Texas Longhorn for comparison. I look forward to the next issue of rider – ride safe!
– Jan Weddle, Greenville, Texas

One of my all-time favorite letters addresses the issue of whether or not riders ought to wave to each other:

To the Editors,

“It’s not a wave, it’s a salute. Same risks, same rewards.”

This is an expression I came up with for a T-shirt a couple of years ago. Haven’t gotten around to getting the shirts made yet, but I will.

Bob Farrell

For me, when riders pass on the road, they are saluting each other, not waving. This is letting each other know we recognize the things we have in common and salute them and the person riding.

Regardless of the style of ride; cruiser, sport, traditional, touring, or whatever, we all are taking the same risks with roads, weather and most importantly, drivers. And at the same time, we reap the same rewards that are common in all two wheel vehicle riding; excitement, wind, sound, air and motion. Things not found in a vehicle with windows rolled up and talking on a cell phone.

There are, of course rewards unique to the specific ride as well, such as cruiser vs. sports bike. But to me this is the same as cow ponies vs. race horses. But we all live our horse for our own unique reasons.

So when I see you out there on your special motorcycle, I salute you rider. Be well, ride safe.

- Bob Farrell of Cascade, Maryland

And last but certainly not least, a particularly inspirational letter and photo:

Mike Darr and his mother at Rocky Mountain Nat. Park.

In September I did a tour of 5 National Parks in Colorado, Utah and Arizona on my 2008 Kawasaki Concours 14. As expected, the roads and scenery were fabulous, but what made it special for me was that my Mom was my passenger. She turns 81 years of age next week, and this ride was on her “bucket” list. She rode for 11 days and 2,100 miles, not bad for a little old lady. The only whining heard was my own when I needed a stretch or a cup of coffee. We kept in touch via intercom, and only once did I have to wake her up back there from a brief snooze. We are planning our next trip, perhaps British Columbia, for next summer. I’m hoping this letter will inspire other riders to take their Mom or Dad for a long ride.

- Mike Darr, Lakewood Ranch, Florida

Indeed. I shared this letter and photo with my mother, and we’ve starting talking about taking a two-up tour together soon….

Keep the comments, emails and letters coming. We love hearing from you!

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