Chris Callen, founder and editor of The Cycle Source Magazine, wrote to me. Chris knows where his motorcycle roots are and never forget about them. He has a great understanding of our industry and a fine analysis of its evolution. When he writes, I read attentively, and you should too. When you are done, comment as much as you want. It’s what my Blog is all about: citizen journalism.
"It seems, as things get harder in this industry, that many people are loosing their patience with each other and getting’ a little grumpy. In my end of this it seems like the magazine world is about to self combust. Rising costs of printing and increased competition from other forms of media like Cable television, Pod casting, and internet based pubs, blogs and forums have made new challenges for print based mags. But that’s why I see it as an interesting new one. Imagine for a minute if we all just gave up and there were no more print magazines, or for that matter, imagine what this industry would be today without them……
The big national builders of today have gained legendary status through recent media exposure on TV Biker Build-Off. But if you look back at mags like Street Chopper in the 70’s you’ll find they were building careers and notoriety for thirty some years before that recent media picked up on them.
Parts manufacturers like 40-year old S&S have had amazing products released especially during the past ten to twenty years and almost all brands of media report on them and other products today. But how about when Iron Works was still called Iron Trader News and was doing stories like the one on “The Tramp III” which was S&S’s Salt Flat racer. Or the articles since then that have covered the bazillion ways to use, improve and reconfigure products from the aftermarket world.
Today there seems to be a book or DVD a month out on the history of something from our industry and that’s good. We are lucky enough to be in something with so much heritage, so rich in values and tradition that it should be documented. But what about the magazines that have carried these stories for generations now. As a matter of fact, if you look closely at those books and DVD’s or television documentaries, many of them are written, directed or contributed to by the same editors and journalists that have been part of the magazine industry for decades now.
Today there is a big movement to relive the past, to do things like they were in the old days and it’s cool again to be a tramp. But I wonder where people who for the most part are too young to remember this bygone era are getting their information from? How do they know what things used to be like?
Certainly not from the new media’s programming or information. These aspects are constantly lost to them. No, in fact, I believe just like myself, these new generation tramps are raiding piles of old magazines like Ironhorse, Outlaw Biker, Old Easyriders and Street Chopper. They’re seeing first hand what the scene was like and reading all about it from people who lived it.
And there in lies the invaluable role that magazines, print magazines, have and always will play; Care takers of history. That’s the one variable that they will forever keep uniquely. Sure, web sites are faster at getting information out, television reaches more viewers faster, but you can’t hang that stuff on a wall, you can’t (most people anyway) take it into the bathroom with you and you can’t tape it up to your tool box. As a matter of fact, for the most part, once these media are finished with a topic the information is just gone and they are onto the next matter at hand. There are no boxes in the attic full of this information. This of course is with exception to some of the great work sites like your Cyril Huze Blog and Bandit’s Bikernet.have brought to the table but my point is, all these media work together. Motorcycling has grown tremendously and it would seem a shame if in its need to go faster and reach higher, it knocked down its own foundation.
So to help the average cat that might not get much exposure to our world, here are a few of my favorite magazines. Some of them are new, some are old, some are underground and some are main stream. Some might be considered my competition but all of them are included in a brotherhood of people who have made a lifetime commitment to reaching the hearts and minds of individuals who love this thing we do. Maybe some of your readers will want to add to this list. Cyril, I hope so. Now go buy a magazine, someone, somewhere is staying up too late, drinking too much coffee and riding to the end of the earth to bring you brilliant pictures and fantastic tales of life and the motorcycle!" Chris Callen, Editor of The Cycle Source Magazine, a national grassroots motorcycle publication..
Chris recommends the following magazines. Street Chopper. The Horse Back Street Choppers. Iron Works. Greasy Kulture. Dice Magazine. Garage Magazine. Thunder Press. Car Culture Deluxe. Ol’ Skool Rodz. Barnett’s Magazine. Now, add yours in the comment section. (picture Sara Liberte)