ORMOND STRIP, FLA., MAR 12–Dead-tree technology, antiquated paper media, vanity publishing—we’ve all heard it at least a few times. Print media is in its final death throes—long live the keyboard and the online press. But those same generalized predictions of doom have been expressed before. Like when Harley came out with their first swingarm, the Duo-Glide in 1958 (there are more rigid-framed bikes on the road than ever). And of course Electronic Fuel Injection would completely eliminate the need for conventional carburetion (tell that to S&S who continues to sell a phenomenal amount of Super E carbs). And despite all the efforts of PETA, leather is still the biker’s choice for road survival (and tasteful good looks) despite some serious competition from man-made materials.
Even those who lament the “death” of all those trees to feed a media hell-bent on devastating our green planet are having a hard time justifying their case since environmentalists have reported that print media is actually a lot cleaner than using a computer. (Most computer recycling companies are, in reality, waste brokers, shipping massive amounts of complex plastic and electronic trash overseas for dumping, causing horrific impacts in a number of developing countries.) The Editor’s Choice Bike Show was offered as a way to promote bathroom libraries of a more conventional nature.
Devised by Editor-in-Chief of Cycle Source magazine, Chris Callen, the Editor’s Choice Bike Show invited 16 of the print industry’s elite publications to participate in a concerted effort to highlight print media in the motorcycle industry. And it included all the heavy hitters—our favorite female editor Marilyn Stemp with Iron Works was there, as was Big Joe Knezevic and Dain Gingerelli in support of American Iron and Motorcycle Bagger. World-famous moto-photographer Michael Lichter was on hand representing Easyriders magazine, along with Englishman and Nurse Nut from The Horse-Backstreet Choppers and a long list of others. No
matter the class—bobber, chopper, rat, touring—if it was custom, there was a magazine there to represent it. Handling the judging chores for THUNDER PRESS was our North Editor, Marjorie “Shadow” Kleiman and myself, South Editor. Each publication would select one bike they felt best suited to their particular demographic and present an award along with a feature article in a future edition. And although Daytona Bike Week is noted for orchestrating some of the more nonpareil bike shows in the nation, you dangle 16 opportunities to score a photo spread of your personal creation in a national publication, you’re gonna stir up some attention.
Held at the Broken Spoke Saloon, the Editor’s Choice was sponsored by Twisted Tea and ramrodded by Heather Walker, assistant operations manager for the Spoke. Registration opened at noon, but a series of thunderstorms rolled through the area at the same time, which extended the deadline until 4:00 that afternoon. On top of the trophies and the photo shoot awarded by each magazine, an additional 12 classes would receive awards from the Broken Spoke and Twisted Tea. On top of everything else, there was no fee charged to enter your bike in the show. So by the time the rain had stopped and I arrived around 2:00, the tall cover that extends between the band stage and the open-air bar was packed with entries. And what an eclectic gathering it was, ranging from tasteful custom vintage models to an extreme Ironhead Sportster that had to be at least 12 feet long. Choosing a winner would be a challenge even for this talented group.
We had been asked to pick our favorite three just in case there was an overlap and two magazines each selected the same bike. Surprisingly, Shadow and I came to a consensus rather quickly without much bickering. But of course with that many magazine judges scrambling to get the one bike they felt best tailored for their rag, there were some conflicts. Instead of settling the matter with knives drawn, each of the parties had a pow-wow, discussing the merits of their nominated machine, eventually coming to a compromise without bloodshed. (We were here to show the unity of print media, not to concentrate on our differences.)
In the end, 60 bikes ended up entering, some on the spur of the moment—like Bobby Seeger, owner of Indian Larry Motorcycles, who rode in on his personal bike just to check things out and it was mandated he enter by the powers that be. He ended up winning the Easyriders Editor’s Choice award along with top honors in the Bobber Class. Shadow and I chose a sanitary build by Bill Dodge with Bling Cycles of Daytona (you can see that feature on page 24 of this issue).
The show was a great success and Callen hopes to repeat it throughout this year and into the future. And it was refreshing to see the loyalty of our readers in such a tangible way. Bikers remain traditionalists; slow to change, clinging to what has been proven to work. This rag you’re holding is evidence of that—so enjoy your dead tree, ’cause it still rocks.