Will I Care About This When I’m 80?

Francis Gangley, Gadsden Alabama

D-Day survivor and motorcycle enthusiast Francis Gangley, Gadsden Alabama

Editorial – Scott Cochran

I’m sure it’s happened to all of us at one time or another. Pumping gas, putting on your gear in a parking lot, or eating in a restaurant. A total stranger will walk up to you and start a conversation about motorcycling.

It happened to me in Gadsden Alabama. I was at a restaurant counter waiting on my order when 82 year old New Jersey native Francis Ganley walked up and asked me if I was on that motorcycle outside.

Over the next few minutes, I learned Francis stormed the beach (Omaha) during WWII, and when he came home he bought a used Iron Head HD for twelve dollars! When he recalled the decades he’d spent riding various motorcycles, you could hear the longing in his voice to take one last ride before his passing. But, he knew that wasn’t possible. He said he couldn’t trust his knees, and watching him walk, you knew that was an understatement. The strength was no longer there to balance a bike, or even straddle the seat of a trike.

My food arrived, and I thanked Mr. Ganley for the conversation. I told him how much respect I had for him, and wished him a good day.  After lunch, I was outside getting ready to gear up when Francis appeared and asked me if I minded if he took a closer look at my motorcycle.  “That’s a good looking bike” he said, as he walked around it. “I had a FLH once with leather saddlebags.” I could tell there was something he wanted to ask but he wasn’t sure it was appropriate.

“Would you like to sit on her?” I asked.  “Do you mind?” He replied.  “Be my guest.” I said.

I moved in to help steady him in case he decided to straddle the seat as most would, but Francis sat down sideways, gently reaching to the handlebar. What he did next caught me completely off guard.

A big smile lit up his face and he twisted the throttle and playfully said, “VROOM VROOM!”

As his smile faded, Francis said, “I’d give anything to be able to take one last long motorcycle ride, but my knees won’t let me. But I sure do miss it.” I took his photo and thanked him again for his service to our country. He stood by and watched as I cranked up the bike, waved and rode away.

An hour later, as I was carving the twisty roads along Lookout Mtn Parkway and Little River Canyon in North Alabama I caught myself obsessing about deadlines, balance sheets, and business opportunities. I pulled off at one of the overlooks. As it was a Monday afternoon, it was deserted and peaceful. The only sound was the occasional bird and the tick, tick, tick of the v-twin as it cooled.  As I sat there I thought about that old man and our conversation. Here I was, doing the one thing that he longed to do, and I wasn’t fully appreciating the moment.

Sitting there I realized how important it is to occasionally view your life from the perspective of your future. Asking yourself, “Will I care about this when I’m 80?” is a good way to prioritize your life.

I wanted to go back and find him and apologize. I wanted to go back and shake his hand and tell him that from now on I will enjoy every minute I get to spend on two wheels because one day (If I live long enough) that pleasure will be taken from me, just as it has from him.

But there was no going back. Even if I did, I wouldn’t know how to find him.

Godspeed Francis. I hope you feel the breeze one more time before your day ends..

Until next month, ride safe, and always take the road less traveled.

Lucky Facebook Fan Will Receive Lifetime Subscription

April 26,2011 – (Swainsboro Ga) Sometime in the next twenty four hours, one lucky motorcycle enthusiast will visit the USRiderNews Facebook Fan Page and click “like” and instantly win a lifetime subscription to USRiderNews.   Sylvia Cochran, President of Thunderwind Publishing said  the magazine remains committed to print but has embraced social media.  “We’re excited to reach this milestone” said Cochran.  “Social media is another way to engage our readers and USRiderNews has the largest Facebook fan page of any motorcycle specific magazine.”  Cochran added, “Connecting motorcycle owners and riders with our advertisers is part of our mission.  The other is to educate and entertain our readers and fans.”

About USRiderNews:  Founded in 2000 as Dixie Rider National Motorcycle News by Scott & Sylvia Cochran. Dixie Rider quickly grew into the most widely read advertising-based, free publication in the southern United States. In 2004, a unique state insert program was launched to bring local news and ride reports which are unavailable in other national motorcycle publications. In 2005, responding to readers and advertisers request, the name was changed to USRiderNews and distributed nationally. In 2010, a Facebook Fan page was established and quickly grew into the largest online presence for any motorcycle magazine.  The print edition of USRiderNews is published monthly by Thunder Wind Publishing and is available free in motorcycle dealerships and at events, rallies and online in flipbook format.


Polaris Acquires Indian Motorcycle

MINNEAPOLIS (April 19, 2011) — Polaris Industries Inc. today announced the acquisition of Indian Motorcycle. The business was acquired from Indian Motorcycle Limited , a company advised by Stellican Limited and Novator Partners LLP, U.K. Private Equity firms. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

“We are excited to be part of the revitalization of a quintessentially American brand,” said Scott Wine, CEO of Polaris Industries Inc. “Indian built America’s first motorcycle. With our technology and vision, we are confident we will deliver the classic Indian motorcycle, enhanced by the quality and performance for which Polaris and Victory are known.”

With this acquisition, Polaris adds one of motorcycling’s legendary brands to its strong stable of Victory cruiser and touring bikes. Indian will operate as an autonomous business unit, building upon the potent combination of Polaris’ engineering acumen and innovative technology with Indian’s premium brand, iconic design and rich American heritage.

“We are delighted to have reached an agreement with Polaris. Polaris will utilize its well-known strengths in engineering, manufacturing, and distribution to complete the mission we undertook upon re-launching the brand in 2006: harness the enormous potential of the Indian brand,” said Stephen Julius, chairman of Indian and managing director of Stellican. “Polaris is the most logical owner of Indian Motorcycle. Indian’s heritage brand will allow Polaris to aggressively compete across an expanded spectrum of the motorcycle market.”

Novator Partners LLP is a London based alternative investment firm founded and led by the investor Mr. Thor Bjorgolfsson. An avid motorcycle enthusiast, Mr. Bjorgolfsson said “After a troubled past, our goal was to bring the legendary Indian bikes back on the roads. The initial phase of that project is done and now our great partners at Polaris will carry on the work to realize the full potential of this classic American brand.”

Conference Call and Webcast Presentation
Tomorrow, April 20th at 9:00AM (CT), Polaris Industries Inc. will host a conference call and webcast to discuss the acquisition, as well as the first quarter 2011 financial results. The call will be hosted by Scott Wine, CEO, Bennett Morgan, President and COO and Mike Malone, Vice President-Finance and CFO.

A slide presentation and link to the audio webcast will be posted on the Investor Relations page of the Polaris web site at www.polarisindustries.com/irhome approximately 30 minutes before the conference call begins.

To listen to the conference call by phone, dial 800-374-6475 in the U.S. and Canada, or 973-200-3967 internationally. The Conference ID is #36643140. A replay of the conference call will be available approximately two hours after the call for a one-week period by accessing the same link on our website, or by dialing 800-642-1687 in the U.S. and Canada, or 706-645-9291 internationally.

DOWNTOWN GADSDEN TO HOST “GADSDEN BIKE FEST” MOTORCYCLE RALLY

GADSDEN, AL—FEBRUARY 22, 2011—There are two types of motorcycle riders- those who seek out the best roads to ride and those who seek out the best rallies to ride to.  Gadsden, Alabama has something for both: a good location in the middle of some of the best riding roads in Alabama and a new rally to ride to.

On May 13-15, 2011, motorcycle riders from all over the Southeast will be welcomed to the inaugural Gadsden Bike Fest, presented by USRiderNews, in conjunction with the Etowah County Tourism Board and Downtown Gadsden, Inc.

Etowah County Tourism Board Executive Director Hugh Stump, also a motorcycle enthusiast, said Gadsden has a vibrant motorcycle community and will welcome riders with open arms into Gadsden and the surrounding area.  “We are excited to bring motorcyclists from across the region to experience the great riding and hospitality that can be found in Etowah County.”  Stump added, “They’ll be sure to find a great weekend of fun riding, along with great food and music.”

Located in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountain range, Gadsden is located on I-59, and State Highways 278, 431, 11, and 77 also provide access.  “We have motorcyclists come through Gadsden all the time and the comments I hear are how much they like the town and the roads in this area,” said representatives for the local Best Western Hotel and Suites, who first approached Scott and Sylvia Cochran, owners of USRiderNews with the idea to promote a motorcycle and music festival in Gadsden.

“They came to Helen, Georgia and met with us during one of the motorcycle events that we promote and convinced us that Gadsden would be as welcoming to riders as Helen.” Sylvia Co­­­chran, with USRiderNews said.  “We made a couple trips over here, met with potential local partners, and fell in love with the town and the area.”  Cochran added, “A bike fest is a perfect fit for downtown and we think it has the potential to grow into one of the premier motorcycle events in the Southeast.”

The three-day event will bring riders downtown to interact with local shops and local and regional vendors, bike games, a poker run and outdoor entertainment from local as well as regional music acts.  Local businesses will sponsor the “Hot Rods and Rides” Bike Show and Invitational Car Show.  Kay Moore, Executive Director for Downtown Gadsden, Inc., said “Downtown Gadsden is looking forward to a great weekend as we welcome motorcyclists to our historic downtown.  We know they will enjoy our wonderful restaurants, stores and boutiques.  We are excited to showcase our area and make them feel right at home.”

USRiderNews believes the number of motorcyclists that could visit Gadsden and the surrounding area during the rally would be very significant.

A tentative schedule of events is listed below:

Friday May 13th.

12 noon:  Vendors open and entertainment on Downtown stage
3 pm:  Bike Wash competition
9 pm:  Kick-off party with welcome from the City
9-12 pm:  Local bands and street dance
10 pm:  Miss Gadsden Bike Fest preliminary

Saturday May 14th

9 am:  Vendors open
Live Music Downtown stage all day
10 am:  Hot Rods and Rides Bike Show & Invitational Car Show begins
12- 1 pm:  Bikini Bike Wash Competition
9 am- 12 noon:  Poker Run Registration, last bike in @ 5:30
6 pm:  Bike Games
8:30 pm:  Miss Gadsden Bike Fest finale – Downtown stage
9 pm- 12 am: Live Music and Street Dance- Downtown stage

Sunday May 15th

8-10 am: Pancake Breakfast – Downtown (benefits local charities)
9 am-2 pm:  Vendors Open
11 am:  Christian Motorcycle Assoc. Worship Service, Downtown
2 pm:  Vendors close

Additional contacts:

Scott Cochran, Event Producer, USRiderNews, 478-494-3760
Kay Moore, Executive Director, Downtown Gadsden, Inc., 256-547-8696