Friday, September 15, 2000

Winning Awards!

Excuse me a moment, I’ve just a couple of more connections to make. Could you hand me that screw driver, yeah, the one with the green handle. OK, the relay is secure, now I’ve got to reconnect the ground strap. Where’s that 10mm wrench? Ah, done at last.
Step back a bit, this could be loud. “BLAAM!”.
Oh that sounds good, nothing like an air horn. Watch out, I’ve got to hit this button a couple of more times.
“BLAAAM,” Think I woke the neighbors yet?

Hey, sometimes you’ve got to toot your own horn, after all, who else is gonna do it for you? And I’ve got what to toot about. I earned two major awards this month.

The first is the 2000 APEX Award for Publication Excellence (thumb through this magazine and read that sentence again) and the second is a BMW Motorcycles 300,000 Mile Award. Neither award is on par with a Pulitzer prize, which arrives with a six figure check or an Oscar for which I could dig my Tux out of mothballs, buy my wife a slinky satin dress then parade for an international television audience. So instead I mounted an air horn on my bike.


As with all journeys, there is a story behind them. Comparatively, the BMW Award was much longer in coming than the Apex award. Well, maybe not. I started learning printing in seventh grade at the Orangetown Junior High School. I learned how to set type by pulling each letter out of a California type case and placing it in a composing stick. I printed assorted business cards and invitations on a pilot press. By the time I got to High School, photo offset had taken hold and I was printing the school paper, along with being the photography editor. I still have samples of all that old work. during my Senior year in High School I got a job on the local newspaper. I’ve often said that if it wasn’t for wood shop and graphic arts I would have never graduated High School. I studied photography in college then returned to New York City to work in the advertising business. Eventually I opened my own studio in downtown Manhattan and worked as a fashion photographer.

There is a fabulous, little known fact about the fashion business in New York City; from Memorial Day to Labor Day no-one works on Fridays or Mondays. They all have country/weekend/vacation houses that they must go to. So not only can’t you book a model but there are no photographers, make-up artists or hair dressers either. It was the perfect field for someone who wanted to spend weekends traveling by motorcycle. At the coffee maker on Tuesday morning everyone would be talking about so-an-so’s party at the beach and I would tell tall tales of two wheeled travel. I’ve often thought that my career in the fashion business might have reached greater heights had I attended those Hampton beach parties, but truthfully I was happier being in the middle of bum*#@^ nowhere, sweating in my leathers while gassing up my motorcycle at the only filling station within a two hour ride.

The BMW Award started with my first serious motorcycle. I bought an ‘83 BMW R 80 ST. I didn’t start out to be a Beemerphile. I was shopping for a motorcycle to travel long distances and happened to like the R80 when I saw it. It’s inaugural voyage was to the first Rocket City Rally in Huntsville Alabama. Nine hundred and sixteen miles. Cockily, I figured I could do it in eighteen hours straight. I loaded my camping gear, kissed my wife good-bye and hit the road. Four hours later I crossed the Delaware Memorial bridge, my butt was so sore I pulled into the Howard Johnson’s Motor Lodge and got a room. (Mikes Famous Harley-Davidson is now on that very spot.)

I finally made it to Alabama around noon Sunday. I rode into an empty campground. There were a couple of members of the Alabama Beemer Club still cleaning up.

“Hey guys,” I called as I took off my helmet. “I just got in from Brooklyn, where’s the rally?”
Well, I missed the Rally, but those who where there took me on an incredible ride that encompassed all the Poker Runs and Tours that they had during the Rally, after which they argued over who would buy me dinner and who’s lawn I could camp out on. That weekend trip turned into ten days and I made friends that I’ve kept in touch with all these years.

After 140,000 miles, 10 rear tires and 14 front tires the R 80 ST became a K 75 S. I wanted a bike with more current technology and more power to carry my ever increasing collection of camping equipment. Then in 1985 I bought a K 1100RS. On September 20th of this year the K 1100 RS will be mine after 60 payments. (At 1.9% APR!!! If you want a BMW, you’ve got to check out BMW’s financing deals!)

Both the motorcycle and the magazine have launched me on more journeys that I have the ink to print. I’ve ridden across the Mojave Desert and the Alpine mountain range. I’ve been lost in the back woods of North Carolina. I rode moto-escort for a photographer as he shot pictures of Lance Armstrong crossing the finish line at the Core States Classic bicycle race in Philadelphia. And I’ve stayed awake for days finishing this publication so all of you could read about it.


“I’d like to thank the Academy and the Board for these Awards, a special thanks to my wife who stood by me all these years and my parents and professors....”

Aw, screw it!


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