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Evolution of an online motorcycle magazine

I was just sitting with some of my motorcycling friends the other night discussing how, although Sound RIDER! has now entered into its 13th year, I’m still as excited about publishing it every month as I was back on that first fateful day in July of 1999.

We’ve come a long way, and beginning this fall we start a whole new path on several fronts.

The NWMC Blotter - Beginning last spring we added a news tidbits column, the Northwest MC Blotter. Similar to our Newsbyte feature, The NWMC blotter is a scrolling series of incidents, only this time they involve northwest motorcyclists’ shenanigans and other incidents that hopefully others might read and take a cue from. It features the speeders, the crashers, the thieves and the fools who use two wheels beyond the point of being a good citizen in most cases.

Almost immediately after publishing the first blotter I received numerous emails. One person though we should nix it since it doesn’t show the good side of motorcycling and that’s what SR! has always been about. To the later I’ll agree, but I’ll stand with the others who responded with accolades for exposing this kind of foolishness in hopes that others may learn from it. Some people think they are invincible, but they are not.

We’re not sure if it’s the weather or what, but strangely the amount of tom-foolery subsided by June and incidents were few and far between all summer long. With the fall kicking in we’re starting to see the number of scenarios climb again. Perhaps we’ll have some entertaining reading for winter?

The County Loop, The County Line – I recently printed out our road conditions page and noted that between Washington, Oregon and Idaho there are more than 100 counties. Just about every county has a great ride, or some kind of interesting motorcycling aspect to it. So we’re chipping away one county at a time and creating editorials that either focuses on a great ride there or another motorcycling aspect. It’s making for an interesting take and we’re learning a lot as we go. This month you’ll note we’ve got a loop ride for Baker County, Oregon and a perspective about why Boise is a great stop between the coast and Salt Lake.

The Good Rider – David Hough is the top selling motorsports author of all time. His Proficient Motorcycling books have sold hundreds of thousands of copies. Dave has been a friend to Sound RIDER! since day 1 and I was thrilled when he contacted me and offered a new series for us to publish, The Good Rider. The first one is in this month’s issue.

Ride by Wire and More – Philip Buonpastore has contributed several articles in the last year. His most recent one can be found in this months’ issue, Ride by Wire: Part 1, where he looks at new technology and uncovers its short comings. It’s part one for a good reason. If I ask Phil for a 1,000 word article I get 3,000. If I limit him to 1,500, he gives us 4,400, and so on. We know your online attention span is limited so we’ll simply take his bigger pieces and break them apart for you to digest one section at a time. Look for a piece on the 2012 Victory Cross Tour coming this winter.

SR! Guide to Motorcycling in Western Oregon – It was inevitable, with the completion of our SR! Guide to Motorcycling in Central and Eastern Oregon last year, we had to follow it up with a Western Oregon companion. I’ve spent the last two years focusing on some great roads and routes west of the Oregon Cascades and we’re hard at work here publishing central writing and wrapping up text, making maps, shoring up GPS files and getting a grand book together about touring in this fantastic region of the Northwest. With any luck we’ll have it ready in time for the motorcycle show in Seattle this December.

Invisible Changes – We Hope - For 13 years we’ve used the same technology to run our databases, sign up forms, ad rotators and other web bots. But this fall and winter we’ll be doing a massive overhaul on the SR! site that will make it a better place for everyone. We’re going to do our best to make this transition as transparent as possible, but if you have a moment where you can’t access a calendar listing, see a used bike ad or otherwise, bear with us through the construction.

A look at things to come!

TM/Fall 11

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