Passions Lost and Found

Editor Neil JohnstonOccasionally you lose your way.  That happened to me this fall in the context of OutDrive.ca.  In the intervening months this has lead to a lot of self-analysis, a foray into auto testing and a reconsideration of riding.  In the end I think OutDrive.ca may be better for it, allow me to explain.

2007 started off in a bright and shiny way, with more promise than any other year in OutDrive.ca’s history.  There was a plethora of new bikes promised by various niche manufacturers, some hint of advertising income, and a few champions in the industry even introducing us around.  It all looked good, really good.

And truly from a get out and ride perspective 2007 was, with more bikes, more fun, more track time, and more tours.  The dollars have continued to fly out of the back account, attracted to new motorcycle adventures like moths to a flame… and busting into non-existence just as easily.

Canada’s motorcycle industry is relatively small, at best internet resistant, and frugal.  There was hope though. A major manufacturer wanted to get us some money.

The four hundred dollars offered was appreciated, but little bit of love for OWD died looking at the bills racked up over the past four years of reviewing their bikes.  Other major manufacturers continue simply to ignore our efforts, e-mails, phone calls and other stalking practices.  That’s frustrating, because it leads to unbalanced coverage.

Ducati has been our staunchest supporter, managing to swing us bikes when they can and adverts on a regular basis.  We can’t just be a Ducati oriented media outlet, though.  Or can we?  We certainly explored the concept; it works for auto enthusiast publications.  Plus, it is nice to work with folks who appreciate what you do.

That’s been our experience with most smaller and boutique manufacturers.  More importantly it has been our experience with our readers.  Somewhere in there I forgot to appreciate what I was doing though.  I forgot to appreciate the joy and the freedom of riding.  I forgot that I was sampling motorcycles that some only dream of riding.  I forgot I was riding roads others would kill to be on… Really, I’ve received the death threats – from good friends.

Driving this home was a piece we’ll begin running next week.  Exploring what it is to ride a dream bike, the Ducati 1098S, on an extended tour. Each photo selected held a memory of the ride, more than these pages could ever hold. Finishing the article, polishing it, brought back the experience of riding, its adventure and what it means to me.

So what does 2008 hold?  I honestly don’t know, I’ll fully admit to struggling to understand an industry who like the bumblebee defies all logic.  Our search for a business model continues, even as the industry’s sales continue to soften, but I’ve a couple ideas.

I do know this, well be going places, on the most fabulous bikes we can land, and taking anyone with an internet connection along for the ride.

The passion’s back… and with that comes joy and more than a few ideas.

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