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Sound RIDER! 2003

A Look Ahead

For the holiday season I escaped to snowy Lake Tahoe (sunrise at right). The week between Christmas and the New Year is a great time to recharge one's batteries. I spent time cooking, eating, resting, cooking, eating, sleeping, and snacking of course.

2002 was a great year for Sound RIDER! and provided us a number of growth opportunities. It was a turning point year in that the publication became a two way street and not just an editorial shot for readers once a month. We introduced an online store and began putting on events for motorcyclists in Washington State. Helge Pederson’s Iceland Slide Show in the spring, the 3 Pass Blast last summer and closing out the year with our second installment of the Northwest Motorcycle Display at the International Motorcycle Show provided us opportunities to give something to the motorcycling community that was more than just print.

So with a few more calories, I’m ready to enter 2003. Looking ahead at the coming year, there are a number of things that will be happening within the world of Sound RIDER! that I thought you might like to know about.

Geographic Expansion

Sound RIDER! has always been a place where readers can find out what’s happening inside the Washington State motorcycle scene. Our roots are in Puget Sound, but 2003 is the year we are truly going state wide with all we do. Look for continued coverage of dealers, events, people, organizations and the issues that weave the fabric of motorcycling in Washington state.

Event Editorial and Calendar Expansion

And speaking of events, the SR! calendar has become a heavily trafficked area. Like many of you I often find myself bringing it up on Saturday’s looking for an excuse to ride. In 2002 we posted 400 events and we anticipate doubling that this year as we will be including events from around the state of all types, both on road and off road. Special thanks to Danielle Scoggins who put together the first draft of the 2003 calendar.

Spectator turnout is something that seems to have dropped off over the years. I get a little concerned when I see more racers at the track than spectators. General lack of marketing prowess within many organizations and the high cost of advertising are causing lower turnouts at events statewide. In the coming year we’re going to make it easier for you to find out what and where the events are and how to get there. Instead of missing out on some great events, make it your new years resolution to hit as many events as you have fingers on both hands this year. Our resolution is to give you all the tools you need to find out about events that interest you and get you there.

New Regular Columns

A lot of SR! readers enjoy the regular columns such as Dave Preston's Barnyard Banter, Simon Pierre Smith’s racing column and David Hough’s Riding Skills features. Look for more of these in the coming year.

Like many of you, off road riding is where I got my start. But today there are less and less of us riding off-road. Washington State is a great place to do this and we’ll be getting together the editorial that will help guide you back onto the terra firma from where’st you were born. While we’ve done some coverage here and there in the past, look for it with more regularity.

In addition we are going to dive head first into the realm of motorcycle restoration beginning with this issue. It seems a lot of you are sitting on some choice iron and need a little boost to inspire you to clean out the garage and get your restoration underway.

Special SR! Events

The word from our readers about the events we put on last year was "do more." We’re planning to. The 3 Pass Blast will happen again this summer, but look for some new twists to keep it interesting. We also expect to put on the third installment of the Northwest Motorcycle Display during the 2003 International Motorcycle Show.

In addition we are all set to put on the first ever Sportbike Northwest Rally next September which will be held in Skamania County along Highway 14. Four days of riding the roads of Oregon and Washington, some great speakers and guests and a chance for sport riders of all types to converge for a long weekend of camaraderie and motorcycling.

Did someone say Swap Meet? While there are numerous small and secular swap meets held all over the state, there doesn’t seem to be one large swap event that encompasses all types of bikes, whether it be cruisers, vintage, sportbikes, off-road or otherwise. We are in the planning stages of presenting a full tilt swap meet event this coming spring. Let us know what you think about the idea.

Expect to see us out at many of the larger events in the region this year. We’ll be taking booth spaces and events like the Snohomish Antique Motorcycle Show and the Governor’s Run, and we plan to spice it up and add something special to the events we attend with some innovations of our own.

Online Store

Our first year with an online store was a learning process. The products we sell through this virtual boutique are focused at opening your eyes to products that have previously been somewhat sleepers within the industry. You won’t find us selling helmets, jackets and boots because you go to your dealer for those things. But when we come across an item that makes sense for riders, such as Nikwax, we add it to the line because it’s something we strongly believe and want to give you a chance to get it.

Headlight and taillight modulators are our newest addition. They’re hard to locate at dealers today, but an item that increases your visibility to motorist s around you by 200% is something we can’t ignore. We’re working on simplifying the navigation in this area so you can get the units you need for your bike.

We support many local motorcycle authors in the area and are adding a number of new titles this year. Our newest addition is "Motorcycle Detailing" from David Jacobs of Mercer Island. Jacobs released the book a few years ago in hard cover and has since reworked it into paperback with a number of updates.

Look for "More Proficient Motorcycling" from David Hough in the spring. David’s "Proficient Motorcycling" and "Street Strategies" were popular books throughout the year, they’re easy reads and provide a wealth of information that has kept many a rider out of trouble and improved their riding abilities.

Speaking of motorcycle detailing, we will be introducing a line of motorcycle detailing products we have put together with the local distributor for Meguier’s products. Both Bill Farley and myself spent many hours this last year testing a number of products from all over the U.S. and Canada, and we’ve come up with a collection of polishes, waxes, cleaners and brushes that will make detailing your bike both rewarding and fun.

Digital Books

We’re planning to branch out into the world of digital book offerings. With the increased number of personal computers and hand held personal assistant devices it only makes that we enter the book-publishing realm digitally, rather than with paper. Currently we have three books in production.

Those of you who love Dave Preston’s work will be glad to know we have not one, but two books in production by Dave. The first will be a collection of his Barnyard Banter work, as well as other columns he has provided other motorcycle publications. The second book is tentatively titled "Motorcycling 101" and is a primer for first time riders as well as anyone else interested in picking up a few tips. An interesting note about this book is that Dave wrote the first draft a few years back, but due to a disk formatting error, the digital version was lost forever. With only a single print out to work from and the miracle of Optical Character Recognition, we were able to get the book back into the digital domain for final editing and production in just a few hours.

The third book is Motorcycle Restoration 101, authored by myself. The book is about the mindset you need to get into when rebuilding a motorcycle for pleasure and has a number of tips and tricks that apply to all bikes, whether you’re restoring your great grandfathers Indian, or that Honda Elsinore that you and your brother used to crash in the mountains routinely as kids.

So as you can see, there’s plenty going on with Sound RIDER! during the coming year and we want you to be a part of the many things we do. Our mission is to enrich your riding experience. Through our editorial, events, offerings and presence we hope we can make the ride that much better for you. With any luck I’ll drop a pound or two and wind up back writing piece like this next December.

Tom Mehren/Winter 03

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