Writer's Ramblings

Writer's Ramblings

Jaxon Fyffe – The Young Gun

May 31, 2006
Jaxon Fyffe—remember that name. You’ll be hearing a lot more about him in the future. It was a great pleasure to meet this young builder. Jaxon came all the way from Texas to Kansas City as one of the invited winners from a previous show on the Easyriders V-Twin Invitational Bike Show Tour. While many things from the Lone Star State are reputed to be bigger and better, Jaxon’s ego is not on that list. He has the refreshing easygoing attitude of somebody who does not realize how close they are to the brass ring. He approaches other builders with…

Ron Finch - The Legend

May 31, 2006
Interviewing Ron Finch has to be on my top-five list of lucky breaks since starting to work for Cycle Connections. The man is a living legend. While Ron may be known as a bike builder to most, he is an artist at heart. Through the years his builds have not shown any outside influence. Ron’s criteria for a bike is to be different, artistic and above all rideable. He does not build to suit the media or the masses, yet his creations are still as vital today as they were when they were built. I admire a man who makes…

Mothers Day Special - A Bar-Side Chat with Sharon “Mom” Fairless

May 31, 2006
I didn’t know what to expect, but I definitely didn’t expect what I thought would be a 30-minute interview to last over three hours! Sharon “Mom” Fairless is fantastic, energetic, high-spirited, and a sweetheart to talk with. She is a light that shines brightly, and the only sad part was that three hours wasn’t nearly enough. Born in Farmersville, Texas, Sharon moved to Irving, Texas when she was 3. The entire family has been here for generations. Mom did disclose her age a number of times while we were talking, but the greater part of valor will prevent me from…

VALUES

April 30, 2006
Thinking about motorcycles and their riders automatically brings to mind the values and standards that most riders hold near and dear. It is as much as aiding a stranded or injured cyclist or as little as the “low wave” we share when we meet. Recently I have had the opportunity to experience true “biker values” up close and personal. It is not a fancy story, or particularly a flattering one (from my view), but it happened, and I am glad it did. I have ridden for well over 25 years, several of them in Europe, so I am not exactly…

Cycle Connections Reader's Survey - May 2006

April 30, 2006
We need your opinion! In our continuing effort to provide the highest quality online motorcycle magazine in the industry, we want to know what YOU think. By taking just a few moments to click the following link and answer the questions on our reader’s survey, you could win a Cycle Connections prize package, which includes a Cycle Connections T-shirt and Koozie. We might even be able to dig up some additional swag to help make it worth your while!OK, fine… Take me to your damn survey!Thank you,Mike SchwederEditor-in-ChiefCycle Connections Online Motorcycle Magazine

Marek Michel's South American Adventure

March 31, 2006
A few weeks ago I got a phone call from Marek Michel, a friend I met at the 2005 Sturgis Rally. Marek, a driver for Stevens Transport, was bound for Independence, Missouri, to make a delivery the next morning. We made arrangements to meet at a truck stop along Interstate 70 in Oak Grove about a half hour from my home. It would mean a short night for me, since he would arrive at about 10 p.m., but I was eager to see him and hear all about his recent long-distance motorcycle ride. When we met in Sturgis, Marek told…

The Bike

March 31, 2006
The decision to buy a new motorcycle did not come easily, but it did come quickly. I had just started a new job and the gas prices were eating me alive. I have a ’95 F250 extended cab pickup that refuses to get mpg’s; it prefers gpm’s; that is Gallons per Mile (or minute depending on whether it is up or downhill) and it gets a bunch of them. Anywho, for giggles, I called our bank and inquired about a loan on a large metric cruiser I had eyeballed at a local sport shop. To my surprise they agreed to…

Interview with Donnie Smith

February 28, 2006
At the Wide open Bike Show I got the chance to interview another legend in the motorcycle world. Donnie Smith has been building custom motorcycle for over 30 years and after talking to him I don’t think he will be slowing down anytime soon. He is easygoing and cordial and takes his celebrity status with a grain of salt. You would never know that he has won lifetime achievement awards from Hot Bike and V-Twin magazines as well as being inducted into the Sturgis Hall of Fame in 1995. I truly enjoyed talking with Donnie and hope to get the…

Interview with Matt Hotch

February 28, 2006
I had an opportunity to meet Matt Hotch at the 25th Annual Cycle World International Motorcycle Show in Minneapolis, Minnesota and talked with him about some big changes in his life. It was interesting to find out that Matt was born in Minneapolis and lived here as a boy. I have convinced myself that this clean Minnesota living is what has inspired him to be one of most creative builders of the day. Talking with Matt you would never get the impression he has won two consecutive Discovery Channel Biker Build-Offs. He is quiet, confident, and courteous. I expected someone…

Photographic Flashback-Motorcycling Memories 3

February 28, 2006
If you’re like many riders I know, there are special places that invoke memories of long-term friendships and fun rides from past years every time you visit them. One such place for me is a little roadside park next to the Des Moines River just west of Bonaparte, Iowa. My first visit to that spot was on Friday, June 19, 1998. Joining me on the trip were Mouse and Troy from my former stomping grounds in western Kansas. It was a trip home for Mouse who had grown up in Washington, Iowa. Our friend Zick had invited us to visit…

Reader’s Photo Contest Winner - Ian Morgan

February 28, 2006
As you recall, in our January 2006 issue, we held a Reader's Photo Contest, where we asked you to submit your favorite winter motorcycle photograph for a chance to win a Cycle Connections prize pack. On February 1, 2006 the Cycle Connections staff went through all photos that were submitted and voted on the photo they thought was the best. Now that everyone’s votes have been tallied, we are proud to announce the winner of our first photo contest. Not only is the picture from overseas, but so is our winner. Ian Morgan from England is our winner with the…

Motorcycling Memories-Photographic Flashback 2

January 31, 2006
This month’s photographic flashback focuses on a composite photo that takes us to two different times and two different places. The first stop on our journey through space and time is the Sturgis Rally circa 1999. My companions were my friends Oliver and Cathy. We had stopped by a supermarket to pick up a few groceries before heading back to the Eagles Landing Campground. Cathy was a professional photographer and owned a photo lab, so we were both on the lookout for Sturgis photo ops. As we made our way to the store exit, we noticed a children’s ride that…

Road Glitches - Round Trip from Tampa to Sturgis in a Week

January 31, 2006
The road has characteristics and glitches that sometimes confuse you, sometimes work in your favor, and sometimes slap ya in the back of the head like a Marine Corps drill instructor. It was these exact contradictory characteristics that worked in our favor for most of the seven days that Lew 'Sasquatch' Sansom and I rode from Tampa to Sturgis, South Dakota and back this past June. Yes, June. Not for the rally, not for any form of greater purpose but for a beer and a T-shirt. Leaving Tampa at a bright eyed and bushy tailed 4:45 a.m. we logged 880…

Motorcycling Memories-A Photographic Flashback

December 31, 2005
Anyone who has been a rider for very long can recall many special motorcycling moments and noteworthy events. As a photographer I have been fortunate to have captured numerous special moments on film and later on digital media. I love to dig out old photos in order to relive fond moments and share them with others. Editor Mike has graciously allowed me space over the next few months to share some photographs that are special to me and will hopefully be entertaining to Cycle Connections readers. Return with me to the Spring of 1991. I had been a motorcycle rider…

Reader's Photo Contest - January 2006

December 31, 2005
Starting with our January 2006 issue, you will notice several new additions to our magazine, one of which is a monthly contest to encourage reader participation. Some contests may be photo contests; some may be writing contests, while others may be something totally off the wall. To start off our reader contest for January 2006, we ask you to submit your favorite winter motorcycle photograph. Only one photo can be submitted, and your photograph must include a motorcycle and some type of winter theme. This could be anything from you riding your bike through a snow drift in your underwear…

Pastor Fred Phelps and the Westboro Baptist Church

December 31, 2005
The perversion of religion to suit one’s personal beliefs is not anything new. The Crusades and numerous holy wars desecrate our history like graffiti on a headstone. Religious fanaticism is nothing new by any means. I, by no means, am a Bible scholar. What I am is an individual with religious beliefs, and I want to share a little with you on a subject I feel is very important. I am not going to preach to you, so please hear me out. I am going to state an opinion on a cancer in our society, and I want to further…

Doug Keim and the Metric Revolution

December 31, 2005
Stephanie and I got a rare treat recently. As you know, we have been covering the Metric Revolution Build-off series set to broadcast this winter. Much to our surprise, another builder from this series contacted us. Doug Keim of Creative Cycles is a household name in the world of V-Twin builders, and I have to admit, I was surprised to see his name in the list of builders for a metric bike show. I was even more surprised to get a chance to interview the man known as the “Viking.” I prepared my questions for the phone interview with Doug…

Reader's Choice - Best of Kansas City 2005 Opinion Poll Results

December 31, 2005
The results of the Cycle Connections Best of Kansas City 2005 reader’s opinion polls are in, and after making proper adjustments for those who “accidentally” voted more than once in a particular category, here’s how you rated Kansas City’s top three motorcycle related businesses, events and people. Drumroll please… Bike Night Location1st Place – FUEL 2nd Place – Paddy O’Quigley’s3rd Place – Frankie D's Mexican Restaurant Charitable Event/Ride1st Place – Bikers for Babies® - March of Dimes 2nd Place – Highway Hammers Tool Run - Habitat for Humanity 3rd Place – Run with the Leaves - TLC Learning Center Club/Organization1st…

Reader's Choice - Best of Birmingham 2005 Opinion Poll Results

December 31, 2005
The results of the Cycle Connections Best of Birmingham 2005 reader’s opinion polls are in, and after making proper adjustments for those who “accidentally” voted more than once in a particular category, here’s how you rated Birmingham’s top three motorcycle related businesses, events and people. Drumroll please… Bike Night Location1st Place – Lightning Strikes – Trussville Family Fun Center2nd Place – Neighborhood Sports Grill3rd Place – Hogan’s Irish Pub & Grill Charitable Event/Ride1st Place (tie) – Catch a Dream Poker Run – Catch a Dream Foundation 1st Place (tie) – Charity Pig Roast – Underprivileged Children in Etowah County Painter1st…

A Biker's View on EPA Compliant Scooters

November 30, 2005
Did you ever want to live in California? You might as well if you operate a motor vehicle, including a motorcycle. All 49 remaining states are going to be subject to California emission standards beginning in 2006 with total compliance due by 2020. I am no lawyer, but I am going to try to unravel all the legalese and make the ruling understandable to the average scooter tramp. For those of you who enjoy bureaucratic masochism, proceed to the United States Environmental Protection Agency web site for the final ruling regarding highway motorcycles. I am going to start out by…
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