It has been one of those introspective week-ends. A steady strem of ideas beginning with the 100th birthday of Jacques Cousteau. Cousteau was an idol from my youth. As a kid growing up on the French Atlantic coast, I remember donning my first mask and flippers with dreams of wild marine adventures. My brother and I had a collection of Super 8 Cousteau films, books,even small plastic figures that were constant bathtub companions. I have never scuba dived but I have spent a great deal of time on the ocean sailing, surfing, and fishing. Cousteau inspired my sense of adventure.
With Cousteau as a backdrop, I read in its entirety two very interesting blogs that have nothing to do with classic motorcycling except philosophically. (I'll come to a point in a bit.) These blogs are about getting out there and doing it and I mean living the adventure. The first of these is Sons of Savages written by what I consider the real McCoy. His name is Audwin McGee and he is an artist, philospher (although he wouldn't say that), sportsman, and adventurer. From the little bit of correspondence I have had with him, I know he likes whiskey and hates pretenders. The other blog was listed on Sons of Savages and it is called Logcabineer. It chronicles some guy's time spent at his cabin while fishing, hunting, eating.........living. There's no nostalgia at either of those sites just forward looking, in the moment, enjoyment of life.
Another guy I admire that is getting ready to go on the adventure of a lifetime is Matt Olsen. He is riding the Cannonball Run, a cross-country race across the United States on pre-1916 motorcycles only. Matt is planning to ride a Sears Motorcycle that he is building from scratch. You can read about all about it at Put the Huffle in the Shuffle.
Which brings me to nostalgia and the vintage craze. At many of the blogs I follow and everywhere else there is this buzz about vintage. Vintage this and that fetching top dollar. You see people in Manhattan with Filson, Hudson Blanket Coats, Belstaff, Barbour each one acquiring and outdoing each other in how "authentic" one can get. It exists in motorcycling as well with people dressing in vintage tee shirts and engineer boots recreating photos of another era. It's the worst type of consumerism namely plagiarism When I think that RRL by Ralph Lauren is charging $2700 for torn overalls reminiscent of the Great Depression, it makes me think that the movie Zoolander is a documentary on ridiculous fashion elites. How about this folks. Instead of hitting the flea market for other peoples' lives why not make your own.
The reality is that companies like Filson were built on their reputation for sportsmen. That's right people. That treasured, distressed jacket that you wear with red wing boots to the lower east side for cocktails made with single barrel rye got torn up and dirty by someone clomping around fields shooting at something and not shuffling around New York in Grenson wingtips dodging dog crap. I personally think that you can't hang a head of anything in your house unless you actually shot it. The same goes for all those J. Crew Belstaff Trialmaster wearers that never swung their leg over a motorcycle.
Why the rant? Well it's simple. At a point in history where we could have gotten back to some important fundamentals we just fell back into our bad habits. Buying nostalgia rather than making our own history. Copying rather than inventing, creating, doing. Thanks Audwin for screwing my head back right. Point blank. The day you see me with a Bonneville Salt Flats shirt will be the day that I will have raced there. That project folks is in the works.
I am making some changes and returning to some basic principles. It starts with the counters at the bottom of this blog . I stated at the beginning of this project that it was about community and camaraderie. The counters symbolize the worst form of narcissism and had me clicking it incessantly rather than following my passions. Enough. I'll keep writing because I like it. I want to share and have others share with me. All I have say is get out and do something then tell me about it. Don't live the lifestyle, live the life!
My French grandfather was a motorcycle fanatic and like many genetic conditions it skipped a generation to me. I made the plunge into vintage motorcycling by coming across a magazine that rekindled a passion that I always had as a kid. I purchased and started refurbishing a 1951 Norton Model 7, which is the departure point of this blog. While motorcycling is my hobby, I have found that there is a convergence of many different motor cultures. This blog is dedicated to camaraderie, sharing knowledge, and having fun while exploring the world of classic motorsports. I also encourage others who want to contribute to drop me an email.