Wednesday, May 20


'Another crisis to help sell newspapers and boost TV ratings more likely!’

Doom and gloom. It’s the staple diet of the mainstream media but you won’t find any of it on the pages of KR.

Like everyone in business we’re feeling the pinch though from where we’re standing we’d much rather be putting out a motorbike magazine here in little old New Zealand than working for one of the big banks/insurance companies/financial institutions in Europe or the United States.

You have to wonder too, don’t you?

Particularly about the fact that just when you and I are getting used to living in more straitened times and circumstances along comes another ‘crisis’ we’re supposed to be all concerned about, Mexican flu! Another crisis to help sell newspapers and boost TV ratings more likely!

While all this is going on of course, the sun is still shining, the birds are still singing and, as I’m always telling people not already into bikes, every day I get to ride a bike is a good day. Speaking of which, over the past year now we’ve been working away on improving the service we offer you the reader. The first – big – move was to flash Auckland-based printer Geon, and you can all see the result of that.

Thanks, by the way, for your letters and e-mails congratulating us on the new look – and feel. They are much appreciated. With the move to a new printer came a physical increase in size of the mag (to full A4) plus a re-design and re-jig inside. There’s still some work to be done on the latter but the main job now is to bed-in what we’ve got then look at better integrating the content of the monthly mag with that of our daily-updated website www.kiwirider.

After years of status quo it’s all-change in the magazine world at the moment with any number of exciting and potentially ground-breaking developments. Do we – for instance – stick with our knitting and continue to focus primarily on a gloss monthly? Or do we distribute out ‘content’ across a mag, a website and – as the BBC’s Top Gear does – a broadly-based, mass market TV show?

We’ve already – as you would know if you’re a regular visitor to www.kiwirider. – added video when and where we can (thanks largely to multi-media guru Big Dave). And we’ve got plans to do more.

The one thing that won’t change, of course, is our interest in anything on two wheels (and sometimes these days three), be it a high-performance sportsbikes (Todd, Campbell and myself), Open class MXers (Ollie), Trail and Adventure Bikes (Ollie, Todd, Campbell, Linda & myself), anything relaxed and capable of handling the Sunday morning papers-and-coffee run (Ian), and anything big and powered by a boxer twin engine which you can ride indecently quickly on gravel (Pete).

Add in the many and varied talents of stunt man extraordinaire Stretch, multitalented all-round Racing Dave, technical guru Michael Esdaile plus columnists Moroney, Nash, Andy Lyver and Andy McGechan and we’re never going to be short of copy…..or opinions. Which is why, though at times quite stressful, putting together an issue of Kiwi Rider is ultimately such a pleasure.

While our colleagues in the mainstream media spend their days dreaming up new ways of making their ever-diminishing pool of readers feel even more worried, guilty or vulnerable to the latest global pandemic, Esdaile and I will be debating whether Aprilia made the right decision building a V rather than a transverse-frame four, or whether it was MV-Agusta or Yamaha which came up with variable-length intake trumpets first.

Ollie and Pete, meanwhile will be loudly and boisterously arguing the pros and cons of Enduro and Cross-Country vis-à-vis MX and SX…and the list believe me goes on…

Of course it’s this sort of discourse that happens when any two, three or four motorcyclists get together. And – in a nutshell – it’s what Kiwi Rider is all about. Sure there’s bad stuff going on in the world right now. But I’ll leave that to newspapers and the electronic media. Our job is to inform, entertain and – the bit I like the best – to inspire you.

Which reminds me. What am I doing sitting here in front of the computer screen at 7.30pm on a Saturday night? It’s time to go home – by bike of course – and sort my gear out for a quick ride down to Te Puke tomorrow.