Thursday, October 29, 2009

My Letter to the CBS Evening News

Erik Buell started building motorcycles in a dairy barn in Mukwonago, Wisconsin. Since 1983 he grew Buell Motorcycle Company into the only American Sportbike company, built more than one-hundred thousand Buell motorcyles, and gained a passionate following among people who ride Buells. I'm one of those fans.

In September, Danny Eslick won the 2009 American Motorcycle Association Daytona Sportbike championship riding a Buell, proving that a small American Company with only 300 employees could compete with the big motorcycle companies and win.

In October, Harley-Davidson, who bought Buell, announced it was shutting it down and discontinuing the brand.

A lesser man would have crumbled or turned bitter. Erik Buell did not. He thanked his loyal Buell riders in a video released the day of the announcement (http://www.buell.com/en_us/company/). This week, many Buell owners took a "Last Ride" to the Buell factory in East Troy, Wisonsin to bid goodbye, and Erik Buell was on hand (See the Fox news report on this ride at http://www.fox6now.com/videobeta/watch/?watch=7feec448-49b4-4fdf-9168-767c6e812f4f&src=front ).

Take a look at the loyalty his riders have for him, for the people who worked at the factory, and for the bikes themselves by reading the comments on their facebook pages - http://www.facebook.com/buell and http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1669824900&ref=nf

Erik Buell is a man who started with a dream, saw it become a reality, lose it to the current downturn, but still vows to move on in the spirit of innovation and "can do." I think this sort of determination exemplifies the American Spirit, and I hope you'll agree and feature him in an episode of The American Spirit on the CBS evening news.

Sincerely,

____________________________________________

So what do you think? If, like me, you think Erik Buell exemplifies The American Spirit, let the CBS Evening News know by writing them at theamericanspirit@cbsnews.com

Saturday, October 3, 2009

We are not a social club.

The point of owning a motorcycle is to ride. The point of a sportbike is to ride quickly, preferably along a challenging course. So what's with these bike clubs that seem to mainly live in parking lots?

Their whole point seems to be to ride from one parking lot to another parking lot, traveling in two parallel rows along a highway, so they can admire each others' bikes and swap chrome stories, I guess.



Those bikes aren't sports equipment. They're accessories. They're big fringed handbags. They put-put serenely from one parking lot to another. "Hurray, we made it!" they cheer. They may as well be doing it on Lark scooters. With tassels.


I briefly joined another sportbike club here in San Diego, but very few of their events had anything to do with riding sportbikes. They met at bars, sports bars, hookah bars, whatever those are. Sadly, and probably not coincidentally, that club of three-hundred members has had three fatalities in the past year.


I know there are people who joined SoCal Buell Riders to make friends and enhance their social life. They joined and have never yet come on a ride with us. Not one. I guess we're not riding to the right parking lot for them.

So let me lay it out plain and simple: We are not a social club.

If you want tea and biscuits with the girls, this is not the club for you. Talk to those guys over there with the fringed handbags with the big chrome skulls. But if you want to ride, welcome to the pack.