While doing the Top 100 Motorcycle blogs a couple of weeks ago, I discovered some interesting blogs about riding a motorcycle, the biker’s lifestyle and their passions. I’ve bookmarked some of them and subscribed to their RSS feeds so I can get updates automatically (by the way, you can get updates automatically by email from the Honda Motorcycles blog as well, by clicking on orange subscribe button on the right panel), then I realized I would love to know more on the riders. That’s how I came with the idea to do a series of interviews with the motorcycle bloggers in the top 100.
First on the list is Mr. Motorcycle, a Harley rider from Minnesota. Amongst others, he is a motorcycle custom painter, father of 2 (he says 5, 2 children, 2 cats and a custom Harley) and blogger. Here is what I found out:
- Cristian: Hey Mark, glad to have you on the top 100 Motorcycle blogs and thank you for accepting the interview. You were a little surprised about being included in the top and making the interview. So what do you think about the motorcycle bloggers community? Or why do you blog about your rides?
Regarding being surprised about making your top 100, and being asked to interview, it is because I have only been blogging since March 11th, 2008. I am truly honored.
Answer to question #1: I find the motorcycle blogger’s community interesting to say the least. Reading other peoples blogs is kind of like reading books. As different as each person who writes the blog, likewise their blog is just as different than the next. There are so many different styles.
Answer to question #2. I don’t write about my own rides very often, because I feel I have something different to offer to the blogger motorcycle community. I’m the only biker blogger that I’ve seen out there so far that blogs about custom paint. Although there is more to my blog than just custom paint. I feel my humor and wit is part of my blog. I blog like it is a diary, but try not to make each post a personal diary about just rides. I also started tech tips to help out my brother biker in any way I can.
- Cristian: You started with a Honda Rebel 250. When did your passion about Harleys begin?
I’ve always liked Harleys. When I was just a little kid, my very first motorcycle ride was on my older cousin Gary’s Harley. I fell in love then.
The Honda rebel looked a lot like a small version of a Harley Davidson Soft Tail Custom to me.
I do like all motorcycles, but love Harleys, and truly love Custom Harleys.
- Cristian: You don’t like much standard parts – and are a custom motorcycle guy. Actually you said that your family doesn’t understand your passion about changing perfectly working parts with custom ones for the look. How does it feel to have a one of the kind unique motorcycle?
Regarding all of the custom stuff, I think my family totally gets it now that they have seen the results of the finished product and the attention it gets.
I like having something custom, one of a kind. It started with my first car. I customized the crap out of it, and it always turned heads, and got compliments. I guess that is kind of addicting. I’ve been drawn to that kind of attention ever since. Hopefully this does not come off sounding too arrogant… When I park my bike in a crowd of other bikes, it is usually one of the bikes in a crowd that ends up having people standing around it looking at all of the details and talking about it. I dig that. It’s not about me being there talking in that crowd boasting or anything like that. I actually prefer to be standing away from my bike, when no one knows who it belongs to and watch the gawking from a distance. It is the best compliment of all to me, as I am an artist, not a custom bike builder. I did not do all of the bike building myself, but I did all of the metal Fab., bodywork, custom paint and complete bike design myself. To me it is more than a motorcycle. It is a piece of artwork that I have created. When I see people gawk, they are complimenting my artwork. That is very satisfying to me.
- Cristian: So, the customization process. Is there a limit?
There is something to be said about more is not always better. I think when you are looking to customize a motorcycle to an extreme, you need to find that fine line of too much, and not enough and push it right up to it without crossing the line. I like custom paint, but I like my custom paint to be subtle.
My motto is that just because you can, doesn’t necessarily mean you should.
- Cristian: I couldn’t find any stories on your blog about accidents. Had any?
Two accidents under my belt.
My first year of riding when I was 19, with my Honda Rebel 250, I met the statistics, and crashed but good. I’m sure if I had had more experience, I may have been able to avoid it. I was going through an intersection at about 25 M.P.H. and a woman in a Suburban made a right hand turn from the left hand lane into my rear wheel. I was ejected over my bike, and the bike was totaled. My leg was injured pretty badly. I could not walk for quite some time. I was engaged to my wife of 17 ½ years. I vowed never to ride again.
This did not last. I rode other people’s bikes off and on. Eventually, not riding consumed me. I was not myself, and my wife agreed to let me get another motorcycle.
Other motorcycles, and many years later, I crashed after getting a new motor built. I was not prepared for how much more power it had, and a corner came up way faster than I had expected it to. I was gunning the throttle in the same manner as before I had the motor built up. I was using the same time-distance spacing as I was used to, and found out the hard way that it goes fast, faster than it slows down now. (DUH). That was an expensive, painful, hard lesson to learn.
- Cristian: You wrote a story about your parents not willing to let you ride the bike. You have 2 kids now. Will you make them bikers or not?
My youngest, the daughter, has no interest.
My eldest, the son loves motorcycles, but has never ridden one that I’m aware of. The subject of getting his own has never really come up yet. I would not condone him buying one under the age of 18. The reason why, is statistics. 1st year = 1st crash.
The first years most kids learn to drive cars, they crash. Why ad the danger of a motorcycle to that. I’d like to see everyone have at least a couple of years of driving under their belts before you put the power of a motorcycle under them, and two wheels, and clutching, and shifting, and downshifting, low visibility, etc.
- Cristian: Tell me a little bit about riding in Minnesota. Any interesting roads to follow?
There are some good winding roads, and the scenery is very nice, lush and green with tons of water.
- Cristian: What is your most memorable ride?
Because every ride is special in its own way, I’d have to say it’s always the last ride. So the one I took today was most memorable.
- Cristian: What’s your favorite motorcycle movie?
Don’t have one. Unfortunately, most I’ve seen are pretty cheesy.
- Cristian: You had a post on your blog about your Vance and Hynes pipes. I bet the sound would make my hair rise, so, what about you, can you describe the feeling you have when firing up the engine in a Saturday morning getting ready to a ride?
When you start it in the garage it is like thunder under an overpass when a whole group of Harleys are riding through, or through a tunnel in the road. It sometimes give me chills.
Picture Tool Man Taylor from the American Cit.Com., Home Improvement, going
“Ho Ho Ho Ho Ho”
- Cristian: You said you are an avid motorcycle blog reader. What’s your favorite blog?
Custom Motorcycle talk by Beach Cruiser. Updated frequently, and lots of great topics for discussion arise.
- Cristian: Why do you think bikers feel like they are part of a special community no matter where they go?
It is an unwritten rule, except for a few Dic*head$ out there that when a fellow biker needs a hand, you give it, no matter what. Because you would hate to be that biker in need when no one was willing to help you. This has no boundaries as to what kind of motorcycle you ride either.
It is proven to be so all the time. As a matter of fact, while I was on my ride today, I pulled over on the side of the road to take a picture for my blog, and within 2 minutes I had a biker pulling over to make sure I was O.K.
- Cristian: You do custom paintings on motorcycles. What’s your favorite one?
Just like watching those tattoo shop shows on television, where they say they continually strive to be better tattoo artists, and they push themselves, I too do the same. I continually try to analyze what I see other painters do, and see if there is a way to twist it.
I love flames on motorcycles. They are classic. If you look at my new paint job on my bike, you’ll see what I mean about twisting something already done to make it different.
It is for today at least my favorite paint job that “I’ve” done anyway.
Being a painter, I’m sure I’ll be looking to paint it again in a year or so.
- Cristian: Thanks for the interview Mark! Glad that I added you to the Top 100.
You can read Mr. Motorcycle stories on his blog, here. Hope you liked the interview!