Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Godspeed Christian!

One of the major points stressed in motorcycle training is “risk management.” Wearing safety gear, riding sober and riding within your limits are all parts of the risk management equation. Regardless of how safety conscious we try to be, there’s always the unknown, the X factor.

On July 15th Christian Neuhauser, the Editor & Publisher of RoadRUNNER magazine was bitten by the X Factor while merging onto HWY 40 near his home in NC. I haven’t heard a final verdict on the cause but instead of merging into traffic, his sidecar rig merged into a tractor trailer truck, at speed. The ensuing accident blocked traffic for 40 hours. Christian was the only fatality.

I've had the pleasure of riding, racing, dining, laughing and arguing with Christian. Looking back, all those moments were too short and too rare. I'll miss him.

He loved to ride and he loved motorcycles of all kind. He was Austrian born and his readers benefited from his Teutonic need for quality, precision, and the inability to settle for the mundane.

The profession of motorcycle journalism is populated by a small cadre of unique individuals. Underpaid and overworked we don’t complain because we're envied by so many, especially those who are forced to live lives of quiet desperation. For that reason alone magazines like RoadRUNNER are necessary, if only to remind us that there is a light at the end of a tunnel.

When one pays this price for God and Country we deem them martyrs, hold ceremonies and build statues. Motorcyclists, and especially motorcycle journalists, being such a minor portion of the population, never receive recognition in the larger sphere. We become just another highway statistic.

Therefore its up to us riders, and us alone, to keep the flame burning in honor of Christian, those who went before him and those of us destined for a similar fate.

Christian’s remains were returned to Austria for his last ride.

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