Onwards and Sideways
By Landon Hall
The new editor for Motorcycle Classics, Landon Hall, talks about this year's shows, his early days with the magazine and the Honda CB750 he wishes he never let go.
Welcome, friends. Last issue in this space you read about the changes going on around here, yet despite a slightly-less-old guy behind the desk, the song remains the same. The only minor change this issue is you now get to read the drivel of not one, but two Motorcycle Classics editors. Founding editor Richard Backus speaks his mind, where he’ll pen a regular column each issue about his riding exploits, what bikes in his small stable have or haven’t broken, and his views on who knows what else.
Over the years while attending events with the magazine, I’ve met and spoken with many of you, and I look forward to meeting the rest of you as we move forward through show season. Join us at Road America, July 27, for the Rockerbox show, or better yet, come to Seven Springs, Pennsylvania, for the 4th Annual Ride ‘Em, Don’t Hide ‘Em Getaway. Richard swears he’s going to join us, and I intend to put him to as much work as possible. (I kid.)
For those of you I haven’t met yet, how we got this far is a funny tale. Back in 2005, I was an editor for the only other publisher in town, which specialized in floral magazines. I’d done an internship there during college, and they offered me a job when I graduated. An ad in the local paper alerted me one day to a job listing for an editor position with Motorcycle Classics, then just a startup. I mentioned it to my girlfriend (now wife) Marie, and commented that I wasn’t so sure about jumping to a title that was brand-new and unproven, despite my love of motorcycles (and bicycles before that). Marie saw it for what it was: an opportunity that couldn’t be passed up. Soon I had an interview with Richard. I brought my résumé and a book of photographs of all the bikes I’d bought and sold. Years later he admitted he never read my résumé (he’d forgotten his glasses). He figured if I’d worked at another magazine for two years and hadn’t gotten canned, it’d work out. The album of bikes was enough.
When I started, we were just finishing the second-ever issue, November/December 2005. Here we are, more than 13 years and some 82 (!) issues of the magazine later. You might say I know how the sausage is made.
Anyway, back to that album of photos. Like many of you, I’ve had a bunch of bikes over the years, more than 30 by now, and they’ve all come and gone (save the two in my garage, a 1973 BMW R75/5 and a 1974 Norton 850 Commando). And I’d guess, like many of you, there’s one bike you wish you’d kept.
The one I miss most is my 1976 Honda CB750. I bought it while Marie and I were dating. It’s the first bike I ever took her out riding on, and I even had it at our wedding (hence the silly photo from 2006). I never intended to sell it, but I wanted something modern to do real touring on, and funds were tight. I still occasionally send an email to the guy I sold it to, but I’ve never heard back from him. I keep an eye on the local Craigslist, hoping it will pop up. A 1976 model with a dented tank and faded original paint, I had it painted a wild metal-flake orange reminiscent of the stock 1974 color.
If you’ve got a story about the bike you wish you’d never sold, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Even better, If you’ve got a hi-res photo of the bike, send that along too.
And if you know where my CB750 went, help a brother out.
Read about Editor Landon Hall’s reflections on the Royal Enfield and contributors collections of a few.
Time to Ride
Read this letter from the editor in chief of Motorcycle Classics about his short motorcycle rides out in the countryside.
Introducing the Gearhead Gathering
The Motorcycle Classics Ride ‘Em, Don’t Hide ‘Em Getaway transforms into something bigger this year. Join us for the first Gearhead Gathering, Sept. 5-6, 2020.