In 2004, digital photography was still chiseling away at film, and smartphones with cameras that amaze weren’t yet on the horizon, which means my visual record of a one-time-only first time is a little sparse. One thing that hasn’t changed since my inaugural experience riding in the dirt, at high altitude, with breathtaking scenary around every turn was the time-tested, steady-as-she-goes Honda XR650L. Sturdy, dependable, predictable, perfect for the task at hand. In this case, transporting a Big Twin and Sportster mostly Florida riding profile through the fir and spruce forests of the West.
With a nod towards a simpler time, when digital distractions were non-existent and Saturdays meant itching to get out of the house and on the road, this piece does a little off-roading into the unique geography that makes up the Oakhurst-Yosemite-Huntington Lake triangle bordered by the Sierra Nevada mountain range.
Next to “What came first?” the most difficult question asked by non-riders is what’s it like to ride a motorcycle. It’s a question that’s given rise to countless variations of the same t-shirt, all to the point that if you have to ask you’ll never understand.
Which brings me to this wonderfully expressive short by motojournalism. Two guys, reflecting on a lifetime of deep friendship and mutual respect, made possible by a jointly shared love of offroad riding.
I’m still not sure if it explains what riding’s like to someone who doesn’t. But it sure worked to raise my pulse a couple of notches.
who ya gonna call? twitter: a lifeline like no other
This post on USA Today last August got me to thinking. Could this have been me on any number of Cycle World Treks? Well, yes it could, as a matter of fact, given my woeful state of experience and not really that nimble riding style.
The story concerns Leigh Fazzina, a mountain biker in Connecticut who broke her neck on a downhill leg, but could easily apply to any number of scenarios. Being able to tweet when a voice connection is tenuous or impossible becomes a significant asset. Toss in location awareness and you’ve got a very sophisticated rescue tool in your pocket.
In a major head turner in the world of off-road, Scot Harden, long time former marketing director at KTM, announced his departure after a short-lived reunion with his original and current employer Husqvarna.
Harden said it, “…was certainly a tough decision,” but left plenty for others to speculate on as far as where he’ll land next by saying that, “… there is some exciting new terrain for me to explore.”
His departure signals what in all likelihood will be his last involvement with the BMW owned Italian manufacturer of originally Swedish off road rides. The Southern California rider began his career as a factory rider for Husqvarna when it was still a Swedish owned company, a position he’d hold for over a decade before moving on to other OEMs.
During his time with KTM Harden scored major successes on the world rally stage, most notably his Red Bull sponsoredDakar and Baja teams, before returning to Husqvarna in 2008.
Powersports industry headliner Scot Harden moves from KTM back to Husqvarna, where his corporate involvement with off road riding first got its start.
After charting KTM’s performance course for the past 20 years, a stint that includes significant Baja and Dakar marketing coups that linked the orange and black mark with energy drink apex predator Red Bull, Harden will now split his time between his West Coast home in Temucula and Husqvarna’s New Jersey headquarters.