Back when I was a pimple-faced mouth breather, toward the end of my senior year of high school, I decided that the President of the United States of America would no longer be my focus as a career path. Actually, in all reality I had no clue what the hell I wanted to do with my life until my uncle threw me the keys to the utility closet of his motorcycle dealership, Fred Cummings Motorsports, in Bakersfield, California.
Working a few days a week after school kept me out of trouble and more importantly, taught me some valuable life lessons. “It’ll be good for you,” my mom repeatedly nagged. At the time I wasn’t aware that working there would help mold me into the man I am today. When I was teenager all I could think about were chicks, man! I couldn’t see what was right in front of my ignorant-but-know-it-all face. When I first took the job, I immediately regretted it.
Let’s just say that I wasn’t doing the most glamorous of tasks in the beginning. In fact I was almost ready to quit after the first week. “Mom, Dad, I want to quit. I hate the job. It pretty much sucks. I don’t like to work. I just want to be a bum for the rest of my life,” was pretty much a part of our dinner table discussions. Maybe it was because I didn’t feel challenged from the monotony of wiping down the same dusty used bikes every single day that were never going to sell; or the fact that I’d occasionally gag from the smell of old chew-spit that coated the service center trash cans I’d have to empty; or the best one, cleaning out the “debris” from the service toilet as my uncle called it because someone took a behemoth dump that clogged the toilet and ultimately flooded the bathroom floor. And guess who cleaned it up. Yep. Yours truly.
Being an optimist (I can hear my wife laughing now), everything inside me told me to hang on, so I stuck with it. And it’s a good thing that I did because in a few short months-and after graduating from high school-I went on to work full time at the dealership, graduating in another sense to prepping motorcycles and watercraft in order to get them in running order after they were purchased from the showroom floor. Bye-bye, debris!
All day I rocked out to my favorite tunes on my Sony Discman (iPod? What was that in 1997?) while hooking up throttle/choke cables, filling the batteries with fluid and charging them, and of course, filling up the oil and gas tanks. Just knowing that what I was doing was contributing to the camaraderie of the dealership was rewarding. And I loved it. I loved that folks would soon be having the time of their lives aboard a Sea Doo GTX, a Gixxer, or hell, even a good old Honda Elite after they were ready to be fired. Oh, and of course, there were the moments we’d have to testride the vehicles to make sure they were up to snuff. It was pure bliss.
Sure enough, I moved on from my uncle’s dealership to pursue my bachelor’s degree because I did feel the need for more, but thankfully I had the opportunity to work there. It taught me the value of hard work, which I apply to my current position here at Baggers. Which brings me to my next point.
Recently, there have been some changes here at Baggers. Change is an interesting thing. It’s scary, but it’s also exhilarating. But one thing is for sure about change: it’s inevitable. With that said, I’d like to say bon voyage to my colleague, mentor, and friend, Eric Ellis, as he moves on from Baggers and Source Interlink Media’s American Motorcycle Group to pursue other business ventures.
Eric brought me aboard as an editorial assistant more than six years ago back when the company was still operating under the Primedia umbrella. You see, I’ve always been around bikes in one form or another-bouncing up and down in the womb on my mom’s Trail 90-but I wasn’t extremely familiar with the custom cruiser world, not until Eric and the rest of the crew at HOT BIKE showed me the ropes. Eric and I have been through a lot together, creating and planning magazines for many years. I wish him all the best on his travels through this crazy world.
So now you’re stuck with me. But that brings a new approach to the custom touring motorcycle segment. I’m an enthusiast first, editor second. Bringing you the freshest industry trends in baggerland, whether it’s new motorcycle reviews and road test articles, the hottest parts and gadgets in the aftermarket world, or the exhilarating touring stories where you live vicariously through the author’s words, there’s a lot to look forward to in the future. That will continue to be my goal for Baggers with quality being paramount. I live this lifestyle. I breathe this job. It’s who I am. And I can assure you that Baggers will be filled with content that will once again fill your heart with anticipation to read the newest issue on the newsstand, and for those subscribers, getting the mail will be even more fun than it already has been. I can’t promise that you will all love what I put in the magazine, but I can definitely promise you this: you’ll have my all, my everything. I’ve never half-assed anything in my life and I’m not going to start now. Who’s coming with me?
Your Fearless Leader,