Peter Egan – Writer and Columnist for Road and Track and Cycle World Magazines

Everyone has a hero of some kind.  Someone they look up to or admire.  Someone that inspires them.  For me, that someone is the great writer, Peter Egan.  You see, Peter has the uncanny knack for putting into the written words the feelings and thoughts that drivers of great cars and riders of beautiful motorcycles have as they progress through their journeys.  To express thoughts and emotion as Peter does is a characteristic that is rare in any writer, let alone an automotive journalist.
Taking this a step further, it was Peter’s writing that inspired me to write my first book, The BOLD Business Book.  He will inspire you as well.
Listen as Peter explains his journey of decades to become a renowned and prolific writer in the world of pistons, tires and oil.  He went from being broke and broke down on a motorcycle cross country trip to inspiring thousands with his writing.  Lucky breaks or the universe doing all of us a favor, whatever happened, we are all very fortunate to be able to read the writings of Peter Egan.

Authentic Business Adventures Podcast

You have found

Authentic Business Adventures, the business program that brings you

the struggles, stories and triumphant successes of business owners across

the land. Coming to you in the great Peter Egan shop, which is so cool.

I’m excited.

We have Peter Egan, writer, author, motorcycle enthusiast extraordinaire.

I think it’s safe to say so.

Peter, how are you doing today? Good, good.

Holding up OK here.

Nice to have a garage during a covid-19 epidemic.

Oh my Gosh. Hang out a little bit.

So yeah.

I don’t know how people do without a garage because it’s no good.

That’s why we moved to Wisconsin but back from California to have more garage space.

No, you can afford the real estate here.

Yeah, it’s a little bit better. But that said,

I guess here with the winter, you’re almost forced to go in the garage.

Yeah, it’s nice. I worked I grew up in Wisconsin and

spent a lot of time working in an unheated garage on a cold floor, working on cars.

And it’s that’s a real luxury to when we built this place.

I said we’re going to have a nice furnace. And that’s.

So did you build this car? Yeah.

We when we moved here in nineteen ninety,

OK, we, we built that that year we bought

the house and then took about the summer to build the garage.

That’s exactly what I did with my house.

Like I don’t care about the house. Yeah.

I just want to go. Right exactly.

Decent size garage. So for any listeners that don’t know this

is Peter Egan, Cycle  World Fame magazine as well as Road and Track.

You are an exceptional author

and I mean that with all sincerity because you write about stuff that most other

authors that I’ve read have a hard time conveying

that I mean, nationwide trips, even international trips,

road trips, not just flying, but taking motorcycles, places.

It’s incredible.

Well, it’s been a it’s been nice to work

for a magazine that involves travel, because what I really like to do is take

motorcycle and car trips. You get the write about it.

I kind of worked my way into that niche in the magazine.

So I think you guys need a story about somebody driving an MG TC

to Road Atlanta or you need a story about riding a Norton across the country,

or you would get the suggestion and they would sometimes.

Yeah, some.

There are a lot of assignments in the magazine business.

They say we want you to go off and test

such and such a car, but you can also suggest something.

Oh, I have a lot of car projects, so I often

would base a car project around a story idea.

For instance, years ago I restored a ’53 Cadillac.

Did you really?

Yeah, I bought it in Texas on eBay, which was a mistake.

It needed a lot of work,

but when it arrived I was shocked, but I restored it and

I wanted to do a Hank Williams trip and I like Hank Williams. I remember t hat article.

So I drove this friend of mine who’s a musician, Richie Mayer went with me,

and we drove down to Montgomery, Alabama, to Hank Williams home and then drove it.

It’s called Hank’s Last Drive

because he died in the back seat of his Cadillac in 1950.

Well, it was a combination of he had a lot of problems.

He had drug problems. He was an alcoholic.

Everything going wrong at once.

Yeah, but he died on his way to a gig

in Ohio and he followed mostly Route 11 across the south.

And so we we drove that Cadillac across.

But the car I bought specifically to do that story, I like the car anyway.

But it’s a nice excuse to to dabble in a car that you’re interested in. Nothing w ill

shrink a garage like a ’53 Cadillac. Y eah, I know it’s 18 feet long.

Wow. So I had a ’66 Caprice.

That was a beast of a car, a beautiful car but man did that shrink a garage.

Yeah. Yeah.

When I restored the Cadillac there was a guy who works

for the Petersen Museum out in California who called me up.

He read the story and he said, that’s a beautiful car.

It’s exactly the car that I grew up with.

My parents had one the same year, identical green color, same interior.

Wow. And he said, you will eventually look

at that car one day in your garage and say, that thing’s too big

and then you’ll want you’ll want the garage space.

So I will come and buy it from you.

In fact, I’ll do it right now.

So about a year later, I ended up selling it to him.

I called and he came and got it. That’s awesome.

Yeah, he’s still got it.

So there’s just something cool.

Well, people that buy and sell and fix cars.

Yeah, yeah.

A lot of people I have,

I have a lot of friends who they buy a car and they hang on to it

forever and I admire them for their loyalty to the brand or whatever.


I’m kind of my friend Richie Mayer who does the same thing,

calls himself the patron saint of lost causes because you’ll see.

Some rusty old car and say, you know, no one else will fix that thing up unless

I buy it and do the work and I save, I must save this car.

So I’ve had a lot of those episodes where

I spot a car and, you know, that poor thing is lost in somebody’s backyard.

I better get that out of there and fix it.

I always think of Jay Leno or somebody like that.

He’s just got hundreds of cars,

maybe thousands of cars and employees to take care of those cars.

Yeah, I just I feel like I couldn’t appreciate all that.

Well, he’s quite a good mechanic himself.

I’ve worked with Jay Leno on a couple

of stories and I’ve been up to his museum several times.

And he was really quite a good mechanic himself.

And he he doesn’t just acquire things.

I mean, he really knows those cars. He knows the history.

And he’s one of the most knowledgeable car people I’ve ever run into.

And he he loves them.

I mean, he’s got wonderful motorcycles and and cars.

And he’s not he doesn’t just acquire them.

He’s really into the history. And.

Yeah, and he does.

When I went up there to do a story

with him some years ago, I walked into his shop and he was

wearing coveralls and he was on a creeper underneath


I don’t think it was a Stanley.

It was it was a steam car, a double.

I think it was a Doble steam car.

And he was changing the transmission oil.

So just look at the Haynes Manual.

Get the Haynes manual on it.

It was about a 1914 Doble.

I said, well, I guess I don’t know those cars very well.

Yeah, that’s crazy. Yeah.

It’s interesting because when he talks to people about a car,

a lot of times he seems to know more than the person who has it.

Yeah, he, he does.

It’s it’s almost like he has to sort of fill in the blanks.

It’s like, I’ll let you take over,

but you run into that yourself sometimes when you go into a motorcycle or a car

dealership and you realize you’ve read more about it than the person who’s.

Yeah, you know, some guy who’s got to sell 20 different kinds of cars isn’t going

to pay as much attention as you do because you’re focused on it.

And yeah, you did all the research. Yeah.


And this guy is just trying to get it off his lot.

Right. Yeah.

It’s two different priorities. He may or may not be

an enthusiast for that kind of particular car.

Yeah. Hood, how do you pop the hood.

So I want to talk about your writing career.

Let’s downshift to

when you first started and you decided I’m going to be a writer.

Well, I

kind of did it by default.

I went to journalism school at the University of Wisconsin

and about after about three years of journalism school, I decided that

I’d sort of taken most of the courses I wanted to.


I suddenly got the hot idea that I should become a doctor instead of a journalist.

That’s a 180. Yeah.

So I dropped I changed my major from journalism to premed,

and I foolishly signed up for about ten credits of biochem and physics.

And I got about

not quite six weeks into that second

semester, my junior year, and realized I was going to get about a D minus average.


Which would keep me out of a medical school anywhere on Earth.

And so I dropped out and I actually walked

out of a biochem lab and walked down State Street in Madison and joined the Army.

Oh yeah.

And so another 180. Yeah.

So journalism to med school to the Army .

And so I ended up in Vietnam.

I went to Fort Polk as an infantry and for infantry training,

and they sent me to Vietnam and I was there for fourteen months.

And then I got out and went back to journalism school.

All right. And

finished up in journalism.

But when I got out in nineteen seventy one, I graduated with a journalism degree

and it was a time when a lot of newspapers were closing all over the country.

The, you know, Chicago Sun had closed and

there were all these people in big cities who had a lot of experience writing

for newspapers and they were all looking for work

and a lot of them wanted to get out of the big city.

And so I would go to these smaller

newspapers around Wisconsin, Baraboo, or someplace like and

the editor would sort of he would open

a cabinet and say, I’ve got twelve applications here

from people that used to work for the Chicago Sun or whatever we’ve got, you know.

And he said, let me look at your resume and your qualifications.

And of course, I had about three things on my resume written for the Cardinal or something.


and, you know, it looked hopeless to me. Yeah.

So my landlord, our landlord offered me a job installing rain gutters.

OK, so I worked for two years and

for a sheetmetal company installing rain gutters on houses in Madison.

And but the whole time I was doing that, I really like cars and motorcycles.

And that’s what I was spending all my spare time on.

And I had already started racing

an Austin Healey Sprite, A bugeye Sprite, OK.

And with a little money that I

had a nd

so I saw that I got tired of putting up rain gutters because I thought I probably

wouldn’t live very long, and nearly fell off a roof a few times.


so I took a job as an apprentice mechanic

at Foreign Car Specialists in Madison and started out.

I worked on mostly British cars, which are kind of my

my weakness and a soft spot, whatever.


so I worked there for seven years as a foreign car mechanic.

And but I wanted to get back into journalism and I did a lot of writing.

In the meantime, in my spare time, what spare time I had.

I kept trying to write magazine articles

and letters for the newspaper, and I wrote two novels that I ended up

throwing away because they got rejected by everybody. You never publiches them?


In retrospect, they weren’t very good.

Now, you know, thinking back, I,

I think I understand why they came back in the mail.

There’s a lot of people that have been published that their books aren’t that good.

Yeah. Yeah.

So anyway, you’ve got to be persistent in that business.


but eventually I, I wrote a story for a motorcycle touring

story about a trip that I took with Barb, my wife and our Norton broke.

I had a brand new Norton 850

Commando and that I bought in Madison and we took we decided we’re going to ride

out to the West Coast and go to Seattle and visit Barb’s relatives in Idaho.

And we made it as far as

just north of Yellowstone.

And it seized a valve. Brand new? Yeah,

brand new it and the valve hit the piston and we’re running on one cylinder.

So we went laboring into Missoula,

Montana, and nobody. There were no Norton dealers anywhere in Montana.

And I didn’t have the tools to pull the the cylinder head off and so on.

So we

we ended up

putting the bike on a Bekin’s moving van.

We pushed it across town to Bekin’s place, and they they shipped it.

We shipped it back to Madison.


We took the rest of the trip by by bus and train.


as our editor said, Allan Girdler said, came home riding on our shields, you know,

no motorcycle.

And anyway, I wrote a story about that trip

and I spent a lot of time writing it.

I took almost the whole summer and I kept writing it and rewriting it.

And I thought, I’m just going to keep

working on this ’til they just can’t turn it down till

I always joke. I said I worked on it till I thought even

I like it, which is apparently a concept that hadn’t occurred to me before.

And so I sent it in to a writer, which at that time was Road Rider

magazine, because they published a lot of touring stories.

And I waited weeks.

And finally it came back and the editor said, “Well, this is, it reads, OK.

But unless you have spectacular pictures, we wouldn’t be interested.”

And all I had was a few snapshots.

So I was very depressed by that because

I’d worked on it so long and I just threw it in a drawer.

And my friend Lee Heggelund said, “Well, aren’t there any other motorcycle magazines?”

And I said, “Well, Cycle World and Cycle are the two big ones.”

And I said, “But they published very few touring stories.”

Cycle World does occasionally.

And he said, “Why not send it in? You’ve got it.

Can’t hurt you.”

“I suppose it’s a stamp.” Yeah.

So I sent it in. And lo and behold, Allan Girdler,

who is the editor at Cycle World, liked the story and and

called me up and said they’re accepting it and going to print it.

And he sent me a nice note and said, if you have anything else that you want

to write about, send it in and we’ll take a look at it now.

So this really encouraged me.

And so I did my second story, which was

I bought one hundred dollar Honda 50 step through.

All right. And a friend of mine who was a bicycle

racer, John Oakey, and I took a trip to Pike’s Peak, Iowa,

and we compared the efficiency of pedaling.

And you were. Yeah, I was on the scooter.

I remember that.

So we compared the efficiency of a Honda 50 and a

and a bicyclist racing Stella racing bicycle.


we concluded that the I think the Honda got one hundred and

one hundred and sixty eight miles per gallon.

And at the end of the day it used whatever the gas prices were at the time.

It used about eighty seven cents worth

of gas and John had consumed four dollars worth of energy bars that I didn’t

bother to eat, so anyway, we had fun with a story and they published

that, and then I did three more and I kept sending them

in and finally I decided it’s time to hit them up for a job.

Yeah. And so

I wrote a letter to Allen and said if they

ever have an opening, I would love to work full time at Cycle World.

And I got a very nice letter back from him.

But it said it said, damn,

we just hired a new tech editor from England named John Nutting.

And if we had known you were interested

in working out here, we would have hired you.

But you sound so happy in Madison with all

your friends and your motorcycles and cars.

I said to Barb, “I’m going to have to start sounding a lot less happy with my life.”


but anyway, as luck would have it Cycle, World paid for John Nutting and his

household to move to California from London.

Wow. And he came to California with his fiancee

and she hated California for some reason and wanted to go home.

And so he was only there about a month or two months.

And she went back to London and she said,

if you want to get married, I’ll be in London.

So he moved back and quit the job.

And I’ve always thought I should send her

a bouquet of roses or a thank you note or something.

And because Allen then called me and asked if I wanted to work for Cycle World.


actually at that point,

I had just taken a job as a service manager at the Volkshaus in Madison.

And I came home late in the evening on a very

snowy night, and it was cold out and raining or cold out and snowing.

And we had had some unpleasant customers who picked up their cars.

And I had a splitting headache.

And I came home and Barb said, Oh, I’ve made your favorite dinner.

And I said, I’ve just got to take two Excedrin and lie down.

I’ve had a bad day.

And so I’m lying upstairs listening to the wind whistling through

through the trees outside our window.

And the phone rang and it was Allan Girdler and he said, “Peter Egan,”

I said, “Yes.” He said, “This is Alan Girdler.

Would you like to work for Cycle World?”

And I said, ” do you read Raymond Chandler detective novels?”

And he says, “Yes, I do.”

And I said, “That’s me knocking at your door.

I’ll be right there.”

And he just laughed and he said, “OK, come on out, fly out.

We have to interview you.”

And so I flew out for an interview right before Christmas.

Wow. And they decided to hire me.


Alan said after he said, “You’ve been hired,

we talked to the publisher and the assistant publisher and all these people.”

And he said, “I suppose you have to fly home, don’t you?”

And he said, “We’re really shorthanded here.”

And I said, “Well, it’s Christmas in two days.”

I said, “I’d hate to stay here over Christmas, and leave Barb home.”

And he says, “OK, well go home.”

And he said, “Turn around Christmas morning.

Maybe you can hop in your car and drive

out here because we’d like you to start January 2nd.”

So I just came home and went right back

to California and we spent ten years out there.

Wow. And it worked out


I worked for three years at Cycle World and.

One day, C ycle World, was at

on Monrovia Avenue, fourteen ninety nine, Monrovia is a real nice building,

was the Road and Track building and Cycle World was downstairs and Road

and Track was upstairs and both magazines were owned by CBS.

So Road and Track, did they have a bigger distribution than Cycle World?

It’s like, yeah, yeah.

Road and Track had,

I think close to a million readers and Cycle World at that time was

four hundred thousand.

Maybe I’m not, I’m not. I’m just.

That’s about what they were.

Somewhere between three hundred and five hundred thousand.

All right. And

but one day John Dinkel, who was the editor,

Road and Track came down and offered me a job at Road and Track

because he knew I had been racing.

I had raced cars all through the 60s and motorcycles both.

And I’d been a car mechanic.

So I I’d done a lot of racing with both.


he said, well, you seem to know a lot about cars.

Why don’t you come and work at Road and Track?

So I went talk to Allan Girdler, who had hired me.

I said, I can’t believe that John Dinkel once asked me to work at Road and Track,

and at the time I didn’t have any interest in working for a car magazine. Cars,

this is about 1983 and cars had really kind of

sunk to a low level of performance at that time with emission controls

and they were having trying to sort out their fuel injection.

They weren’t much fun to work on and

or drive at that point, but they were starting to make a comeback.

They’re getting, figuring out how to get horsepower and decent emissions.


and so but anyway, I went to Allan Girdler

and said, ” I got this job offer from Road and Track.”

And Allen said, “Well, I’m leaving in a couple of months

and I don’t know who the next editor is going to be.”

But he said, ” I would take it if I were you,

because you can still write for Cycle World part time.

And you should be writing some car

material, too, because you know cars pretty well.

And you’ve you’ve raced them.”


he said “I would definitely take the job if I were you.”

And I said, “OK”, so I did.

I went to work for Road and Track.

But a few years later I started writing a column for Cycle World.

Allan left and David Edwards took over as the editor and he asked me to write. I

started writing a column for Road and Track first.

First, yes.

I didn’t write when I… T he three years I was at Cycle World.

I didn’t write a monthly column.

I was just a road test editor and I wrote travel stories.

I tested a lot of bikes and I was also the tech editor.

So if people wrote in and said, you know,

“I have a A GS 650 that’s running too lean, what do I do?

You know, can I put washers under the the needles in the carb?”

And so I had to call up various technical centers who worked on those

engines and get all the answers to tuning problems people were having.

So I did a lot of different things for Cycle World.

All right. But

And Barb came out to California, no problem?

Well, yeah, we had a house.

We had just bought a house in Madison. And when I got hired,

we’d had it about a year, I think, and she stayed back and sold the house.

I left at Christmas,

Christmas Day, and she had to sell the house and got there about a month later.

And we rented a house in Costa Mesa in California, Newport Beach area.

And so we were there for ten years.

And she was cool with the move?

Yeah, she was

she was kind of tired of winter, actually. Yeah.

I don’t blame her either.

But she was encouraging.

She had been saying, why don’t we just move to California?

And I said, I don’t really want to move out there without a job.

You know,

I just move out there blind and try to figure out what to do when I get there.

And so when I got hired there

and we were going to move for sure, Barb was a little perplexed.

She said, “Oh, I can’t believe we’re leaving behind all of our friends.”

And all of a sudden the reality of it kind

of dawned on her and she’s a little reticent, a little hesitant to move.

But she she was really happy out there.

She’s an avid gardener and raising plants and so on.

So she was able to, you know, have things all year long out in the backyard season.

Yeah. Yeah.

So we had a good time out there and enjoyed it.

But gradually I think both of us just got tired of the traffic.

Mostly it’s really what drove us out.

And I realized I was working for both magazines.

I thought maybe I could move back to us.

We could move back to Wisconsin.

Barb, my wife Barbara is a physical therapist.

OK, so actually she supported me in our early marriage when I was racing.

I probably wouldn’t have had quite enough money to race even a

an old sports car without her help, but she had a real job.


anyway, we moved back here and

I said, I think I can.

I talked to both editors and said maybe I can work out a contract where I could work

from home and do what I’m doing and write for both, keep my two monthly columns

going and do a feature story each month for each magazine.

So it’s this early ’90s.

Yeah, this is 1990. We moved back here.

This is pre Internet.

Yeah, pre Internet.

It’s still the magazines were doing very well.

It was a good time for the magazine industry.


So you essentially did what Tim Ferriss suggested in The Four Hour Work Week

a couple of decades before he wrote the book.

Yeah. Work from home.

Yeah. Yeah.

Work wherever. Really.

Yeah. I did a lot of traveling,

I mean working for two magazines that do a lot of road testing.

I was

I retired about, partly retired, about three

years ago for four, four years ago actually.

But the just like the traffic drove us out

of California and being stuck on the interstate, I really got tired of flying,

running the airports and waiting for luggage.


you know, at the point at the time I retired, I thought, I don’t really care if

I ever see the inside of an airport again because I’d be gone all the time.

And I get stuck, you know, coming home from something.

You’re coming home from Europe,

get stuck somewhere in Chicago for two days, missing a flight.

And it’s kind of it sounds glamorous, but and it’s fun.

It’s fun to do the stories, but the travel is not as much fun as the travel.

The travelling sounds amazing. Getting stuck in the airport for two days, that’s no good.

Yeah, no, no, no. That’s.

So anyway, I was glad to come back here and build a garage.

I wanted to have room to build a workshop.

This is very cool. This is impressive.

Even just the heat that you have. Yeah, it’s nice.

Yeah. That was a must.

I said I’ve got to have heat in a in a workshop because I’m not I’m not

going to work and snowmobile boots with gloves on and on.

I’m trying to restore a car. That’s no fun.

And I want to ask you about when you first started and you’re rewriting that article

that was essentially pre computers that didn’t take up a room.

Right. So are you typing this stuff?

Yeah, I typed everything on a

I had a manual typewriter and I had a Selectric, OK, but I had a

a small portable typewriter that I typed on all my early stories and so on.

So when you were rewriting it, is that just I typed the whole thing over again.

I actually like the process of writing on a typewriter.

I was very hesitant to go over

to a computer because I would type a whole story, finish it and then reread it.

And there were things I didn’t like or

things I thought I should add or leave out.

And you can’t do that with a typed page

and you can’t send in a manuscript or you cut it up with scissors and tape.

And so I would retype the whole story.

And while I was retyping the story,

I would think of other things that I should add or take out.

All right. Or a different way to phrase something.

And so usually when I sent a column or a story and I had about ten versions of it.


I mean, I would send in three typed pages, double spaced.

I would have 15 pages of

typing for other versions of the story. Sure.

And when the computers came in,

some, you know, the word processing people came in and put

put them put them in our offices.

And we had to sit through a couple of days of being tutored in how to use a computer.

And Tom Bryant, who was the editor at Road

and Track, and I neither one of us wanted to do that, said

Tom Bryant, the editor said, “Just leave mine out in the hallway.

I’m working. I work on a typewriter.”

Wow. And we all had Selectric.

So at that point, you know, IBM Selectric, but I still liked I still like typing

in some ways better than working on a computer.

I don’t do it anymore. I do everything on a word processor.

Sure. But at the time it was

and I’m not I’m not sure it really saved

any time going to word processing and computers because,

you know, I used to spend a lot of time re

typing things, but now we spent a lot of time trying to figure out why

the computer doesn’t work or why the printer doesn’t work or what,

you know, it’s you lose whole days waiting for a wise person to show

up and tell you why, why it won’t print or, you know, a tech person.

I used to solve this problem. I know.

I know some

people are calling me in a crisis now and say, is this really a crisis?

But when you get there and you see what they’re doing and you’re like, all right,

well, I still like I still like typewriters mechanically.

My dad ran a small town newspaper

in Elroy, Wisconsin, but he was also a typewriter repairman.

Wow. He repaired typewriters as a sideline.

So we always had Underwood’s old

Underwood, you know, manuals and a Smith, Corona’s and so on sitting

so well. I get the engineering that goes into some of those typewriters.

Oh, yeah, they’re.

beautiful machines . Probably more engineering than in the wing of


It’s their beautiful machine, actually, there’s a huge movement now for people

to buy and restore old typewriters there, there are clubs and websites and all

kinds of things for people who collect old typewriters.

You know, that’s awesome.

So you come back to Madison, you’re writing for Cycle World and Road and Track.


And then I guess, did you publish a book at that time?

Well, the only books I published are collections of things I’ve written for.

I’ve never I’ve never published a book

that I sat down and said, I’m going to write a book.

I would get a call from Motorbooks International.

And they’d say, we’d like to do a

collection of your columns for the last four years or whatever.

Would you like to do that?

And so I would say sure.

And I would go through and edit it

and then, all right, send them in and then read the proofs and so on.

Sure. But

so without talking crazy specific dollars, what convinced you?

I guess. Let’s just talk about your first article.

Did they say, hey, we’ll give you a couple of bucks?

They paid me three hundred dollars

for my first four or five stories that I did freelance.

That’s really not that bad in the 70s?. It w asn’t not bad.

But it was a losing proposition.

I mean, I was doing it to try to get a resume together because

I think the third or fourth story I did

was I took my Honda 400F to New Orleans and went down highway

down the Mississippi Highway

and mostly Highway 61.

And I’m a big blues fan musically.

I love Delta Blues and New Orleans music and so on.

So I wanted to go. I’ve always wanted to see I’d read all

these books about the Mississippi Delta and the great,

you know, the blues men who came out of there and most of them, right?

Yeah, most of them. The others.

There’s one area right around Clarksdale,

Mississippi, that’s just somewhere within it, within about 70 miles.

All of the great blues musicians, B.B. King, all these people came out

of there, M uddy Waters. Something in the water there.

Yeah. Yeah, well, it was it was a culture there.

They had big farms, big plantations, and they had juke joints.

And you could make money entertaining.

You know, on Saturday night,

there were big people who had been working hard all day in the cotton field or

wherever, and they really wanted to get out and have a good time.

So there all these small clubs.

And if you could play music,

all right, you know, you could make probably more money doing

that than you could picking cotton or hoeing or something.

So a lot of those guys who had talent saw that as a way out of farm work.


so I took my 400F down to New Orleans.


of course, I didn’t even have a credit card at the time.

I didn’t have a credit card for years.

And you would take cash along on a trip.

So I think I had three hundred dollars oh.

For the whole trip and I had to pay for a hotel in New Orleans.

And so I was in New Orleans for a couple of days after I got there and

I thought I’ve been this hotel for three days, I better count my money.

And so I counted my cash out on the bed and realized if I paid my my hotel bill,

I was going to have about eight dollars left.

Oh, that’s to get home. Yeah.

And no other no options.

And so I quickly checked out

in the morning, paid my bill and and I calculated that if I could pay for my gas

on the way home and stop about twice at a McDonald’s.

So anyway, I did that, I, I rode until I couldn’t ride anymore

and then I’d pull off the highway with my Honda, like in southern Illinois.

I pulled off the highway and just pulled in behind a municipal garage that had big

piles of sand and salt, you know, for highway maintenance.

Yeah. And just flopped on the ground,

covered myself with my tent because I was too tired to put it up.

And then I get up in the morning and go again.

And and but when I got home, I had spent three hundred dollars.

And I’ve been gone for a week and a half and written a story for two weeks and I

got three hundred, I got three hundred dollars.

So, you know, it wasn’t it wasn’t a money making proposition. 300 in revenue and

three hundred and twenty in expenses.

It looked like I was employed but I wasn’t really getting rich but ah yeah.

Look three hundred dollars.

But anyway it was I needed to get published somewhere in order to get

a resume so I could go, you know, OK, here’s what I can do.

All right and all right then.

That’s an important thing in writing and journalism to show somebody

something that you’ve done that somebody else approved of.

But it’s it’s that breaking through the first time that’s so hard.

It’s all right. It’s hard to get somebody’s attention.

And I was very fortunate

that Allen Girdler, who was the editor at Cycle World, happened to like that story.

He read it and liked it.

Another magazine editor read it and went and.

And send it back to me.


so there’s so much timing involved,

if somebody else had been there, I would have gone back to work, you know.

So what would have happened if the bike actually made it the first time?

Well, I’ve thought about that.

I think I owe a lot to the unreliability of Norton Commandos, because

if I bought a Honda 750, we would have made it and made it all the way home.


I’ve often joked that if we’d had a BMW

that were they were famous for reliability at the time, I,

I don’t think I could have sold a story that said a young couple makes a complete

trip on BMW motorcycle without a breakdown.

You know, it’s so interesting.

I love that story because I had a ’79 Malibu wagon that broke down all the time.

My first car. And I can attribute, well I can attribute

to being in this podcast because of that, because, just cause and effect

from me wrenching on that thing because I didn’t have a choice.

Right. Right.

Just because you become a mechanic, end up in printer repair,

to get a call answering service, to do business coaching.

To do a podcast. Yeah.


Say thank goodness that that was a piece of junk.

There’s so much chance involved in in writing and journalism and timing.

The fact that I worked for Road and Track would that would only have happened

because Cycle World was in the same building.

Right. You know, I never would have gone

to Road and Track and applied for a job or I was I liked Cycle World.

I didn’t want to I wasn’t even thinking about changing jobs and

and nobody would have known me at Road

and Track in a different building with a different company.

But the fact that we’re all in the same

building was an opportunity that I hadn’t even anticipated.


I don’t know how you could do that a second time.

I mean, it would never if the timing were a little different, right?

If you get up in the morning, turn right instead of left, you lead.

You lead a different life.

It’s a whole butterfly effect. Or somebody else.

Somebody different hires you that you know, you’re moving there instead of here.

And it’s

it’s always one of the mysteries of life

that, you know, people you meet change everything

very slow.

How, I guess, what have you seen changed

from when you first started to, I guess when you retired, you know?

Well, yeah, things the Internet has been the biggest change, of course, because of

when I was during the eighties

and nineties, working at C ycle, World and R oad and Track.

There was really no other outlet for road testing of motorcycles and cars.

And so people would wait to hear what Road and Track magazine

thought of a new Camaro or whatever and or a new cycle world with a new Ducati.


the magazines had a lot of clout because the manufacturers knew that they knew

that people were getting most of their information from enthusiast magazines.

So they really paid attention and made

sure that you got if you wanted to test a new Honda.

They had a press center in California

to make sure you got the new Honda for two weeks to test .

And also they bought advertising.


so, I mean, Cycle World used to have you pick

up on, say, a nineteen eighty or seventy, eighty one Cycle World magazine.

And when the new Yamaha’s came out, there’d be a twelve page Yamaha folder

in the here are all of our new models and and Honda did this.

All of the manufacturers had multiple page spreads of advertising

because otherwise there was no other way of publicizing what was out there.


And you’re talking to a handful of magazines.

Yeah, yeah.

There only about four for bigger magazines that we’re doing that.

And so everybody knew everybody else and everybody knew the PR people.


I should mention, one of the things that comes up once in a while is that

I get this once in a while and emails

people say, well, you know, you need to watch my website because I’m unbiased.

The magazines got paid off to to like this bike better than another one.

Or they’re relying on if they were relying

on Yamaha for advertising, that they would, of course, like the new Yamaha.

And that was never the case.

That Cycle W orld or Road and Track.

OK, we didn’t know what the ads were going to be or what the ad budget was.

And the editors didn’t even want those

people, the advertising people, to come in and tell us a separate.

Yeah, I remember one time at Cycle World, we picked the ten best bikes

and one of our advertising guys came into our in our

editorial meeting on a Monday morning and he said, I can’t believe you picked

the ten best bikes and there’s no Yamaha or whatever.

I think I think it was it could have been Kawasaki.

Yeah. And they just bought a ten page.

ad spread, we’ve got to come up with one of their bikes that’s in the 10 best

and Allan Girdler just about threw them out of the room.

He was furious.

He said, we don’t care who advertises or how much they’ve spent.

He said, we’re doing this for the readers.

Your job is to handle advertising.

We work for the readers.

Now get out.

And yeah, and that was the ethic that was

there when I was in Road and Track was the same way.

That’s cool.

And we had people who came to Road and Track from other magazines.

And I want to say, you know, lesser magazines, I would say, who

were very unhappy because

other magazines it worked for were influenced by advertising.

We have to do a nice story on this and this because they bought a big ad.

But Road and Track and Cycle World, that was strictly,

you know, verboten. It was.

That’s impressive. Yeah, it is.

It was nice. It’s

it was a wonderful thing to come there

and realize that you’re working for honest people, straightforward people and.

Right. And we all felt that way.

I mean, that’s that’s the core of real journalism is,

you know, telling the truth about things.

And it’s tough, tough practice.

I can imagine even with the website, if Yamaha let’s just say it came to them

and said, hey, we’ll pay X amount of dollars to throw our ad up

there, as long as you read a good article that they

still even will.

A world is going online now.


Mark Mark, Mark Pryor, who is the editor,

would no more put up with that than Allan Girdler would have.

I guess the person that emailed you about their website,

like there’s no difference between print

or web advertising dollars get spent either way.

Yeah. Yeah, they do.


I think a lot of times with with online, there’s so many different ads.

A lot of people don’t even know who’s advertising and who’s.

Well, I shouldn’t say that.

I’m sure the editors know. You know who maybe.

Yeah, maybe.

But it’s a complicated world that’s going on there.

Yeah. Yeah, a ton going on.

So so I guess at what point did you start actually making it financially?

Like I mentioned, Barb eventually said. When I got hired at Cycle World.

It was an actual job instead. Yeah, it was a real job.


you know, all of a sudden it was it was

an actual livable income rather than just scraping by kind of thing.

And the cool first check.

Yeah, it was it was wonderful.

I know it’s real.

I went out and bought a new guitar.

I’ve been doing so

even even now when I get a solo, do a couple of freelance stories

for the magazines, if I get a nice check, maybe I need a new guitar.

So yeah, that’s,

that is impressive because I guess it’s super cool talking to you because you’re

interested in cars, motorcycles and guitars.

Yeah, too many things.

My wife told me that I had too many hobbies. Be better if I weren’t.

My wife told me that I have too many

hobbies and I’m like, I think people don’t have enough.

Yeah. I don’t, I don’t think so either.

There’s no such thing as being too smart and you just know.

Well I wouldn’t know but.

But you don’t know I from talking. Yeah.

Yeah I know it’s, I think it’s fun to have hobbies

and especially now with the Covid thing going on, it’s nice to be able to work

on motorcycles and cars and read and play guitar.

Yeah, I think

motorcycles right now are doing very well from what I’ve not all of them, but

dealers I’ve talked to say that

lower priced motorcycles and sort of family motorcycles like dirt bikes

that kids can ride and are doing very well right now because people are getting out

more and they’re doing more outdoor things.

Yeah, and the same thing is happening with canoes and kayaks.

And, you know, they’re doing and

I just bought a a new guitar last month from Dave’s guitar, and

they’ve got branches in Madison

and LaCrosse, but they had this one up in LaCrosse.

And I asked them how they were doing

financially right now in the middle of the covid-19 thing.

And Dave of Dave’s guitar said

he said it’s very good right now.

And the salesman told me the same thing that I talked to.

He said he said, A lot of people have decided in their

spare time they’ve got more time on their hands.

They aren’t traveling as much.

They should learn how to play guitar.

So he said we’re selling a lot

of affordable, decent instruments, not high end stuff necessarily.

But he said even the high end stuff is selling because people who already know

how to play have got more time on their hands.

And they say, well,

I’m going to get something decent, get rid of this old clunker or whatever.

So he said they’re concentrating more on their hobbies.

That’s cool. So it’s it’s nice to hear some bright

spots where, you know, restaurants for friends of mine who have restaurants.

It’s it’s not. Not such a happy time

and bars.

Yeah, I have friends with restaurants

that aren’t doing so hot, retail, small retail, is having a bad day.

Yeah, a lot. Well, a lot.

I mean, that’s that’s the problem is there are thousands of jobs that depend

on people getting out and doing things, traveling and being tourists.

And and that’s it’s an unhappy time for those industries just moving.


It’s interesting you say that because I got my Kawasaki’s super Sherpa.

I guess it was a few, I don’t know, let’s call it half a year ago.

Mm hmm. I didn’t even connect it to Covid .

Yeah. Yeah.

Interesting. Yeah, it’s true.

It’s fun.

Do you have a favorite bike of all time.

I don’t really.

I’ve had I’m almost afraid to admit how many motorcycles I’ve had over the years.

It’s a safe place, OK.

I’ve probably had eighty motorcycles in my life, different brands.

I’ve restored a lot of them.

Sometimes I bought them and

I have friends who hang on to everything and I like like cars.

I like to

my you know, my motto “L ife is short

and after you’re dead is no time to take action.”

Right. Oh, that’s beautiful! I love it. And

so, you know, if I if I think of a new

Ducati that came out, it would be interesting.

I will somehow scrape the money together

and get that and maybe sell something else just to experience what that’s like.

But I usually when I buy something

with a motorcycle, I’ve got some trip in mind if it’s a certain kind of dirt bike.

I’m thinking about taking a trip with some

friends in Mexico and Copper Canyon or somewhere.

And so I’ll say, OK, I need a different bike.

So I see consistency with your bikes more or less

off road ish, or naked.

Yeah, well, actually what you asked what

my favorite bike is, it’s kind of an odd choice for a lot of people.

But this Royal Enfield Himalayan is made in India.

It’s a 411 CC bike that will go anywhere.

And it’s got a lot of personality. It’s kind of mellow.

It works wonderfully on the back roads

of Wisconsin, gravel roads, dirt roads, pavement.

And it’s comfortable.

And I just spent a lot of time on,

especially last summer when you couldn’t really.

Motorcycling is a great way to socially

distance and not see anybody stop at a gas station and you fill up.

And I think, in fact, I did a lot of motorcycling this summer with friends.


we just meet somewhere at a gas station,

go for a ride and then stop at a state park or a county park.


Sit on different park benches and eat an energy bar or something.

And you don’t have to go into a restaurant or

hang out with anybody and you’re out all day.

Yeah, I did that in nature, you know, having fun.

So I did that with a buddy and I had an FZ8 and he had a TW200.

So it’s interesting because once we get

on the highway he’s like, nope. Ye ah, yeah.

He’d go off in the ditch, and I’m like, nope.

Yeah I know. Yeah it’s you give up when you get

a smaller bike, you give up a little highway.

This thing, this BMW I got last summer would

is great on the highway. Yeah.

And I don’t think I would go very far off road with it.

I know people do, but it’s at my age and with the size

of this bike, I don’t really want to have to pick it up if I drop it.

No, I suppose this is like a long way round bike ride.

Yeah. Yeah, they did.

They had it earlier.

They had Charley Boorman and Ewan McGregor had earlier versions of this bike.

They started out with the old I think their first trip.

They were probably still the the oil heads.

OK, the earlier ones so water cooled one but. Nice.


Those those guys, I mean they did it and but you’d see them

falling down over and over again in Siberia somewhere.


What was the Road of Skulls. Oh yeah.

And you say boy those are big bikes to be wrestling through the bog in the swamps.

Yeah, yeah, yeah.

There’s something I guess is pro and con.

You’re covering some ground but the weight of the bike.

Yeah. Yeah.

So this is a great road bike and it handles, it’s very fast and handles well

but I’m, I’m starting to get happier on lightweight

things that, that allow me to go anywhere and hit the back roads and turn around

easily and get on and off some to he said for that.

Yeah we had a buddy with a KLR650.

where he went down the trail and he said, I can’t do that.

Just turning it around was an event. Yeah.

It was easier just to finish up and try to turn that thing around.

Yeah. I’ve made those choices with bikes.

When I have a large bike I’ll, I’ll be riding out in the country and see a

for sale sign for a farm that’s up a rutted dirt road or something.

And I see a nice house, old farmhouse at the top.

I’d like to go up there and look at that place, but not on this motorcycle.

You know, I go back with the Himalayan and go up there in a minute.

Just go shooting up the hill and park it anywhere.

That’s awesome.

Look around, so it’s sort of a freedom machine.

That’s a cool looking bike. Yeah, I love it.

So they

like a feel like they were initially made in England.

Yeah, the Royal Enfield was an English company, OK?


I think like a lot of English companies, they think 1970 or ’71

was the last year they made a Royal Enfield in England. It’s right around

that time and but they had a branch in India because India is a huge

motorcycle market, it’s the biggest one in the world.


so they had a Royal Enfield factory there that was made essentially Indian made

Royal Enfield exactly like the ones in England.

They’re mostly very simple,

single cylinder three, three fifty and five hundred bikes and of

not particularly sophisticated, but easily worked on.

So they’re perfect for India every every little town.

I was in India about 15 years ago

and every town had a Royal Enfield dealership, some little hole in the wall

place that had all the tires and pistons and everything you’d ever need.

And the single cylinder.

Yeah, yeah.

So but anyway, Royal Enfield in

England went broke or went out of business, but India was thriving

and so they just continued to make them in the same that they were essentially

a late 50s single cylinder British motorcycle.

It stayed in production.

Just keep making, just keep making them.

And when I was in India almost all the bikes

you saw were there are a couple other brands or a couple of two strokes,

but most of them were for stroke royal infields.

And now

Royal Enfield in India got a it came under new management, OK,

a big manufacturing company, truck built trucks and other things bought them.


they they got a new young president who decided to modernize the company

and put a lot of money into it and turn the technology around.

And they started a tech center in England and bought Harris frames in England,

which are famous frame builders and suspension designers,

and incorporated that into their tech center.

And so they’ve gone from being kind of nostalgic

50s motorcycles to being quite up to date and, you know, fuel injected and

trouble free.

So I was just going to ask you about reliability.

Well, I’ve I’ve put

6000 miles on this thing without doing anything to it other than change oil.

And I like to adjust the valves myself and change the oil.

But OK, it’s been fun.

And I’ve got a Royal Enfield Continental that I love here, too.

That’s a twin. That’s a good looking bike.

Yeah, it’s a twin. That’s a really nice bike.

It’s a cafe racer and which I didn’t think I would ever buy

again because at my age I don’t really need to be leaned over the bars that much.

But it’s such a nice looking

bike and it’s really it’s really fun to ride.

I couldn’t resist it. So, yeah.

That’s a piece of art. Yeah, it is.

It’s a it’s a keeper. It’s a it’s a good garage bike too.

I like to sit in a workshop in the workshop and look at bikes.


I just wrote a column for Cycle World about my favorite thing is to sit and play

guitar practice while I look at motorcycles

that’s covering it all. So yeah,

I think I said in the column,

it’s like a dual feed of Demerol coming in on two different IV hoses or something.

Nothing wrong with it. Yeah.

Yeah, that’s cool.

So how is the magazine business changed in the past decade?

Well, everybody has cut corners. They keep changing.

A lot of them keep changing hands and some companies put more money

in and others are trying to take money out and not spend as much.

And so it’s it’s very up and down.

It’s so much harder.

It’s a much harder business to anticipate now whether,

you know, whether it’s going to be here next year, whether it’s going to be

in the same form, it was the stability has kind of gone.


And I think it’s a harder business to be in and to make a living in.

You have to you have to do a lot of different things.

It’s I was thinking about that.

So I just put that on the blackboard and you’re doing research

on Google or whatever, and you search and whatever website you land on,

you don’t care. Yeah.

Where before with a magazine you would

hunt down the Cycle World name then to get your information.

So now you look at the website and if it seems like it’s legit, you accept it.


So the name recognition is limited, which is tough.

And then I think, well with magazines,

people are paying for a year, a couple of year subscription.

So you almost had a contract of some kind. Sure.

They could cancel or whatever the magazine subscriptions are.

Ten bucks. Yeah, nothing.

So you had that revenue that was essentially guaranteed.

Yeah. The website you’re relying on ads.

Yeah, you are sometimes you’re relying

on people who are just making homemade road tests,

they’re trying to get a start in video and so on, some of them are pretty good.

I mean, some of them have a lot of followers.

But other people I mean, I we all go online to see how you do this or that.

I went online to see how to adjust

the valves on that motorcycle to make sure. YouTube Uni versity.

Yeah, yeah. And

you know, a couple of them are excellent

and then the other people just don’t have a clue.

It’s like, you know, now this is a wrench. Yeah.


You got to put it on a bolt and then you turn it, you know, this kind of thing.

You go, you go from that guy to somebody

who really knows what he’s doing, who used to work at the factory.

So you got to be careful online, you know, no finer

option on YouTube than that 2X speed .


You know, yeah.

I know that’s fair.

So I imagine people are doing that with this, too.

Yeah. Yeah, yeah.

No don’t fast forward but yeah.

It’s just an interesting even with newspapers.

Mm hmm.

I just interviewed a woman that’s running the Edgerton newspaper.

Yeah. And it’s tough.

Sure it is. Sure it is.

Yeah. Yeah.


we subscribe to the Wisconsin State Journal and

I’ve just got to have a real newspaper in the morning.

I was thinking about that this morning.

So what would I do if I couldn’t get up

and go get the paper and drink coffee while I

look through the paper and then do the I like to do the crossword puzzle usually.

And I think I just I wouldn’t want to sit here and do this online.

I know. I think maybe I’ve worked too much

in a word processor, but I have no desire in the morning to sit

with a cup of coffee at a desk and look at a screen, have a light shining.

Yeah, I want to sit back and a comfortable chair and drink coffee and look

at and page through it and then go back and read something and look at it again.

And I feel the same way about books in print.

I’m exactly the same way.

Yeah I, yeah.

I think a lot of people do, I think

you know e-books and so on just don’t work for me.

I like to flip forward and look

at something and look at the pictures and then reread something.


I like to handle a real book so I don’t

have any interest in reading a book online at all.

I’ve got to compliment you on your last book

because I saw an article on you and I’m like, this sounds like a cool book.

I pick it up, buy it , whatever.

And when it showed up, it’s a it’s almost like a coffee table book.

It’s not huge, but the way that it’s labeled out with the color.

Oh yeah. They did a nice design job.

Incredible job. Yeah.

That’s Zack Miller at Motor Books is a very good editor.

He’s a friend of mine.

And he really he did a beautiful I thought he did a beautiful job on that book.

And it’s interesting because I read three

articles in there and I immediately bought another one from my buddy.

Oh good. Yeah.

We like to see that happen.

I didn’t even know if he read books, but he’s a motorcycle guy.

And I was like, this is cool to look at.

Yeah, they did a nice job, they did a nice cover design.

And I loved the, the artwork and I thought it was

when they suggested doing that, I said,

well I hope they get the right, the right mood.

And he really did.

I mean some of the pictures in there, that’s exactly the picture that should be

with, you know, the state of mind of that story.

And yeah. Impressive book.

Yeah, I like I like it a lot.

That’s a real keeper for me.


So how many books have you pushed out that were.


they started when I was at Road and Track and the

in the mid eighties Brooklands Books in England

used to print softcover collections of things from magazines like they would

have a Brooklands Book, Road and Track on MG.

So they would reprint all of the stories

that Road and Track had done on MG road tests and trips and so on.

And so but they would put out collections of columns too.

We used to have a really

popular and excellent columnists named Henry Manney the third

and back in the 60s he had a big following and they put out a collection of Henry’s

columns, which I have.

And Henry was a good I was lucky enough to meet him.

He was still working when I went to work at Road and Track and wonderful guy.

Okay, but

so they would put out those collections.

And so the first things they did for Road and Track were they said,

“How would you like to put out a collection of your columns from Road and Track?”

And I said, “Sure, that’s fine.”

So the first three or four books I did were Brooklands softcover books.

They were in hardcover. All right.

And then

the people at Motor Books International,

which was up in Stillwater, was Stillwater, Minnesota, or they were.

But they

they decided they could put out a hardcover.

They did one of road stories that I did and.

I think there are three different

hardcover collections of columns in the book you’re talking about is a is

a best of collection. Which I describe as the least objectionable of.



you know, they put that out and it

included some new stuff that had never been published before in a book.

And then some of the you know, the ones that did well from the old magazines.

It was neat how it was laid out chronologically. Yeah.

I thought that was a good idea.

They they wanted to go by decades and they had sort of a representative motorcycle

for each decade and included a picture of that.

And it was a good way to divide it up in different color.

I’m reading a book on Harley Earl.

Oh, yeah, sure. Great.

Interesting how that, I guess reminds me of your book,

how there’s stuff going on historically outside of motorcycles and cars, but still

kind of interferes or influences that industry.

Yeah, your article, as you can see, the little things that influence that.

Yeah, it’s 40, 40 years of it’s that’s a lot of history and more motorcycle.

A lot of stuff changes over the years.

So yeah, super cool, goes way back.

So if you were to give a piece of advice to someone that was considering writing or

writing a book or becoming an author, article, writer, whatever,

I guess, what kind of advice would you give them?

Well, I, I don’t know the ins and outs of and the finances involved in doing

work on the Internet, on websites and so on.

I shouldn’t be giving any advice because I’m kind of out of that picture.

But I would say persistence is the thing.

I mean, no matter what it is you’re doing,

you got to keep at it.

You know, I mean, I think it was

can’t remember who it was. Probably Hemingway, said a writer is a person who writes,

I love it. Yeah.

And you don’t talk about writing.

You write stuff and then you send it in.

So, you know,

it’s interesting. I presented at this When Worlds Collide thing in Calgary,

because when there’s Covid stuff like that, isn’t it in person.

So it’s remote.

And lo and behold, I’m remote.

I was able to be and I’m talking to these people that are would be authors.

And you’re asking them how many, like what did you write the past six months?

I put down a thousand words or whatever. And you’re trying to write a novel. An 80000 word novel?

In the past six months, you laid down a thousand words unedited.

Mm hmm. Well, there’s a problem.

Yeah. Do you think that there’s no product?

Well, it’s hard it’s hard to motivate yourself to to write if you don’t have

if you don’t think you’re going to be able to sell it or have an audience,

you know?

Oh, I mean, I can’t write another great writing quote.

I can’t remember who it was.

I think it was a French author’s or maybe somebody from England.

I can’t remember who was. But he said said, “O nly a fool writes

for free, you know, without hope of making

money doing it, because otherwise what’s the point?”

Because if people won’t pay for it, maybe it’s not good enough.

And yeah, so that was what was implied.


you know, there’s a certain amount of truth to that.

But it’s I think it’s hard to motivate yourself to write.

It’s a lot easier for me after all these years to have

an assignment or to have Cycle World or Road and Track.

Say we need your column by next Tuesday.

And you you stare into space and you

think, oh, my God, I have to have a column, what am I going to do?

And then you say, oh, I just changed the tires on this motorcycle, you know?


And but otherwise, if if you don’t have that deadline,

there’s not much need it.

It’s a lot of.

I’m trying to think where we were before the camera died.

Talk about making a living as a journalist.

Yeah, the advice is persistence.

Yeah, I think you just have to stay on it no m atter what.


But it’s it’s hard to give direction right now for, you know, a career in journalism

because obviously people still going to broadcast journalism.

I don’t know where, you know, I’m not sure with magazines and online publications.

So I see so many people,

some talented, some not so much.

And they get on YouTube and things like that and they essentially become famous.

Well, there’s more opportunity.

I think now that’s fair for the Internet because you can get

I mean, if people have done YouTube things on motorcycling and if

they’re good, they become really popular in the whole world is watching.

Yeah. And they just did it themselves.

And then they didn’t have to go through the hierarchy of the

magazine editor who likes them enough

to hire them and read s their stuff and they can.

If your real self driven. Yeah.

The barrier to entry is much lower . Yeah.

But then that also brings in a lot of competition and lesser.

Less than great. Yeah.

But I think some of that melts away and

I mean I watch several people who do travel things on motorcycles.


you’ve got this young woman from Holland who does a program called Itchy Boots.

She bought a Royal Enfield Himalayan in India.


And rode it across Asia and did the whole thing herself.

Just traveled and did it with a cell phone, really.

And, you know, a handheld camera.


half the people I know who ride motorcycles have watched that program.


She was on her way up from Tierra del Fuego to Alaska.

She I think she was in northern Chile when the Covid virus hit and she couldn’t travel anymore.

And she had to go home and abandon her motorcycle.

But she had a huge following.

All right.

Probably just did the whole thing herself from the start.

That’s pretty cool.

And there are a couple of people, a couple of very good young guys who were

testing motorcycles to be very funny and informative and know their stuff and

yeah, some hope some of the videos that I see, the editing that they do

like that alone is impressive.

But there, you know, they are able to do that without having to go through.

You know, sort of the pyramid

of journalism and the working their way up to getting to

this magazine or that magazine and without the travel.

Yeah, so that’s very.

It’s interesting, different languages and more democracy.

There is no with a lot of good stuff on the

resume before you’re relying on a dozen people in a given industry

with their magazines and all that kind of stuff.

And now it’s like you got a camera and some time.

Yeah, when I worked for Road and Track it was essentially Road and Track,

Motor Trend, Automobile, Car and Driver and.

Who are doing internationals, you know, Hot Rod was doing mostly American stuff.

If you went to a press introduction, you saw the same thing.

We all knew each other over there.

You know, there is a total of about 35 people at any given time in America

who are going to be writing stories for those magazines.

All right.

And that’s not very many people who know

about cars and know, of course, you have other magazines and so on.

A lot of good writers, too.


I think it’s in some ways it’s easier to be seen or heard now than it was.

Yeah, but the availability is there. But you’ve got to be very motivated to

figure out, you know, what it is you’re doing and do a good job

because there’s a lot of people trying to be seen and heard.

Yeah, interesting.

Well, Peter, thank you so much for your time.

Yeah. Great to great to talk to you.

This is weird because I’m in Peter Egan’s shop here, which is. A lot of

pictures all over, clutter, everything. You know, compared to my garage,

this is this is all right.

But I cleaned up a little bit when I heard you were coming.

I can’t leave that down in the middle of the floor. I’ll push that over there.

This has been Authentic Business Adventures, the business program that brings you The

struggles, stories and triumphant successes here with Peter Egan.

Peter, thank you so much for being on the show. Great to be here.

Enjoy talking. This is awesome.

I should’ve brought a bigger battery.

Hey, wasn’t that awesome?

Peter Egan in Episode 150

on Authentic Business Adventures, Authentic Business Adventures is brought

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We’d like to think you are wonderful listeners as well as our guest Peter Egan

on Episode One Hundred and Fifty of Authentic Business Adventures.

And you know what to do, man.

If you do nothing else, enjoy your business.


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