I bought my first motorcycle in college in 1974. As the years rolled by, my desire to ride never lessened, but my ability to get the free time to hit the road did. Work, family, responsibilities. You know the drill. Even though I make my living in the motorcycle industry, I cherish the time I get with and on my motorcycles. I am a reluctant wrench. I prefer to spend my time riding, not wrenching. But I do enjoy some quality time in the garage figuring out and fixing or maintaining my classic motorcycles. There is always a project or three awaiting my attention.
I am able to ride a bit on most weekends, but usually no more than a few hours in the morning. Yesterday, I attended the annual Indian Day at the wonderful new Springfield Museums in Springfield, Massachusetts, home of the original Indian Motorcycle Company. The 250-highway-mile round trip was too far to ride my 1931 Indian 101 Scout unless I was okay with getting there late and leaving early. I reluctantly pushed the Scout into the truck and was on the road shortly after sunrise. It wasn’t as many miles as I usually do, but I enjoyed riding the old Indian about 15 miles home after dropping the truck off at the office.
The last really long ride I did was the Motorcycle Cannonball last year, and that really recharged my batteries. I sure got to know that 1915 Harley riding it almost 2,400 miles in 13 days. I’m writing this the week before Jim Sims and I drive down to Wheels Through Time to pull down and rebuild Selma (my 1915 Harley) to get her back on the road. Knowing what excellent wrenches Dale and Matt Walksler are, I expect we will be done in a day and be able to ride around the Maggie Valley area for a few days. That’s a good ratio for a 95-year-old motorcycle: one day of wrenching for three days of riding.
Then, Jim and I will load up Selma and a 1926 Harley J magazine project bike and drive to Morgantown, West Virginia, for MountainFest, where all the Motorcycle Cannonball riders were invited for a reunion. After spending that much intense time with the other Cannonballers, you get to know them under the best and worst conditions. I really enjoyed my time with most of them and look forward to seeing who else shows up. I agreed to leave Selma on display for a day or two. So, unless I sell the ’26 Harley magazine project first (to replace it with the next project bike), I hope to be able to ride it around the event a bit.
Speaking of riding, some of my favorite roads are in and around the Black Hills of South Dakota. And that means Sturgis, which I will be missing this year. As much as I enjoy that event, my wife and I are celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary, and I know if I go to Sturgis, I significantly lessen my odds of making it to 26. Chris Maida and Joe Knezevic will be there covering the action, and I will be there, too — but in spirit. Another event I’d like to attend, but not this year, is the Bonneville Land Speed Records in Utah. One day, I’d like to make a speed pass on two wheels. But not this time.
An event I have long wanted to attend is the massive Antique Motorcycle Club of America (AMCA) meet and races in Davenport, Iowa. If the stars line up just right, I might be able to make it this year — but probably on four wheels. And please don’t forget our first Motorcycle Kickstart Classic that pulls out of Wheels Through Time the morning of October 6 for Rome, Georgia. I am riding this 350-mile ride and look forward to seeing lots of our readers. The morning of October 7, we leave from Panhead City in Rome, journeying to Barber Motorsports Park outside Birmingham, Alabama, in time to enjoy their amazing Vintage Festival.
Motorcycle Bagger Magazine
Last year, we tested two issues of a new bagger magazine called Motorcycle Bagger. It sold so well (outselling all other motorcycle magazines on the newsstand except American Iron Magazine) we increased it to six issues this year. The sales are so strong, we will increase it from six to nine issues in 2012, and
invite you to pick up a copy if you haven’t already read it.
Ride safe, ride smart, have fun, Buzz Kanter.
Story as published in the November 2011 issue of American Iron Magazine.