History Does Not Repeat

Steve Lita American Iron Magazine Editor

Steve Lita, American Iron Magazine Editor

Ride to Work

It’s called history for a reason. It’s in the past—done, gone, hope you enjoyed it. We often remember things having been better when we were younger. Some people call it “The good old days.” Perhaps life wasn’t as complicated as it seems now, and responsibilities weren’t as heavy. It was a time before the instant gratification of having the world at your fingertips electronically. For example, we used to carry cash, or even a plastic credit card, back before the current trend of paying for something without using hard currency. All it takes now is the swipe of an app, the beep of a laser code reader, and zoom, you’re out of the drive-thru lane barely touching your brakes.

Remember when riding you had to carry change to make a phone call or use a paper map to find your way? I recently took a quick trip to New York City for a business meeting. That morning, I was thinking ahead and figured I would fully charge my handy cellphone before I departed. Only one problem—I left the phone plugged into the charger when I left. So there I was, in the big city without any means of looking up the address of where I was supposed to go, and an immediate feeling of being lost. Just then I thought, “Wait a minute! I can do this.” I remember how to find my way around and communicate from before the days of smart phones. Believe it or not, they still have phone booths in NYC. I’ve been told it’s because the city doesn’t want to lose the revenue from advertisements posted on the sides. It didn’t take long to find one, and it actually worked. I was amazed. I inserted old-fashioned coins, cleaned the receiver with a handkerchief, and called the party I was supposed to meet. Disaster averted.

This dose of nostalgia is brought to you courtesy of my return from 2017 Daytona Bike Week. I drove the company truck down, so I had plenty of time to ponder. Heck, I remember going to Daytona Bike Week for nine consecutive years before even coming to work here at this publishing company, and I’ve been here for 14 years. And while I remember having a great time back in the day, I contend that current events are better than ever.

Nothing irks me more than when I hear someone spout, “I’ll never go back to that event now. It’s not as good as back when I used to go.” And while everyone is entitled to his opinion, I’d say Bike Week is still well worth the overnight, straight-through, bonzai-run I do to get there.

Think about it: motorcycles that are considered historical now, were more common back then. So, these days, it’s more exciting to see a bike from a specific gone-by time period. Young people, those who have never attended Bike Week or only attended in recent years, bring a whole new vibe to the party. There are so many aspects of motorcycling going on in and around Daytona during that week; I’d defy anyone to be bored. If you’re into off-road riding, there are events for you. Into custom bikes? There are plenty to be seen. Into racing? They have that, too. And as for the old classics that were more common back in the day, you don’t have to look hard to find them. The success of the inaugural Sons of Speed Daytona event was proof of that. The stands were packed! (See page 66.)

So, I say don’t let your memories fade. It’s nice to remember how good it was. But also use them to make it better the next time around.

Thompson Vintage Motorcycle Classic
Speaking of old bikes, and following in the footsteps of Buzz’s column (page 14), I’d like to add another must-see event that’s on my calendar this year: the Thompson Vintage Motorcycle Classic. It’ll be held in the quiet northeast corner of Connecticut at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park on June 25. The event will host a field of historic (pre-1990) motorcycles in a bike show, a massive swap meet, and a vintage motorcycle track day on Thompson’s 1.7-mile road course. The fan-favorite Parade Of Classics will happen at noon, with the vintage track day starting immediately thereafter. For more information, call 860/923-2280 or visit ThompsonSpeedway.com. Hope to see you there.