“The future’s in the air
I can feel it everywhere
Blowing with the wind of change”—Scorpions (1991)
When Reg Kittrelle founded THUNDER PRESS in 1992, his intention was to provide a source of information that was sorely lacking in the motorcycle world: where to ride and find event information. This quest quickly grew into one much broader, to bring our readers news from the American motorcycle community, including event coverage, touring stories, motorcycle and product reviews, and much more.
Eventually THUNDER PRESS expanded to a national publication, while still maintaining its local flavor through regional editions and local content. And now, the wind of change is upon us once again. With the shifting economy in today’s motorcycle market, and based on reader feedback, we’re returning to our roots, moving to a single national edition starting with this issue.
Our family of editors, columnists and contributors will continue to report on regional news, but in a way that conveys different aspects of local content. Our regional columns have been reworked into a new feature called Locals’ Corner where our roving columnists SunDancer, Raine Devries, Loretta Jackson, Hazel Perry, Fred Nabkey and new columnist Bryan Harley will address one subject each month: an interesting shop, person, place or organization in their area. And we ask you to email them with suggestions on who, or what, to feature.
Another new feature, Depth of Tread, written by longtime THUNDER PRESS columnist Susan Swan, will delve more deeply into deserving motorcyclists that do something good for the community. In Susan’s words, “Depth of Tread speaks to those who lean in, putting the force of their intentions behind their chosen course and leaving a greater impression. It will be uplifting, and we can all use some of that!” Susan explains more in her first column in this issue, and asks you to write in with your nominations. Susan will also continue her Where Am I? feature, expanding it to the entire country.
A huge resurgence of interest in flat track racing has seen new competitors as well as spectators show up at racing venues all over the country, many in conjunction with rallies and other events. In fact, Harley-Davidson just announced that as part of its 115th anniversary celebration, the Motor Company is presenting three races in and around Milwaukee rather than focusing on big-name music acts. And Indian has made its FTR750 available to privateers, which the racing world is starting to embrace. I know one New Jersey motorcyclist that doesn’t even race but bought an FTR750 just to add to his moto collection.
With this renewed enthusiasm for flat track, we’ve expanded our Competition section, moving it online so we can offer additional racing schedules and much more racing news. In the print edition, we’ll be bringing you exclusive content on racing, from flat track to hillclimbs. And, starting with the May issue, we’ve just signed on with new columnist, Trevor Monn to share with you his hooligan flat-track racing adventures on his Ironhead Sportster.
To make some sense out of the ever-changing moto world, our friend Bob Kay, well-known motorcycle industry pioneer, has initiated a monthly column called Kulture Clash, where he shares his knowledge and opinions about the motorcycle industry and culture, from aftermarket manufacturer discussions to the challenges of bringing younger generations into the fold. Speaking of manufacturers, we are also presenting more motorcycle and product reviews, plus insider peeks into various manufacturers with industry veteran and former THUNDER PRESS editor Robert Filla and Contributing Editor Felicia Morgan. Felicia will continue her hugely popular contributions such as the Cannonball Characters series as well as her Free Range column. And we’ll be introducing a new column on motorcyclists’ rights to help keep our sport, our shared passion, strong and free.
Grant Bourne, a retired U.S. Marine, left the Corps looking for a purpose, something greater than himself. He is now a man with a mission, and premiering in this issue is his monthly column Ride Out of the Darkness, Grant’s year-long 100,000-mile ride across the country to raise awareness and funds for suicide prevention. On a lighter note, award-winning custom painter JoAnn Bortles is starting a fun new column called Shop Dogs, featuring the pups that are part of the team at motorcycle-related businesses. In these pages she features her own shop dog Dolph. We’ll be conducting a contest on this theme later this year.
We motorcyclists love road trips, and even if we can’t get out as much as we’d like, we love reading about other riders’ adventures. So in the January issue, THUNDER PRESS introduced the Savage Roads feature where biker musician Pat Savage kicked off his international motorcycle travel series with his stay at the Davidson cottage in Scotland. Our website hosts his online exclusive tales of travel in Jordan, India, Norway, Italy, and soon, Mexico. We’ve also introduced The Folded Map, featuring a city, town or region that motorcyclists would want to visit, and Diner Dash, where Amy White and others describe their favorite diners and luncheonettes. For both these columns, we invite you to send us suggestions of places to travel and enjoy comfort food while on the road.
Last year, DanDan the Fireman, who rips around the Arizona deserts on his specially-modified Sportster, partnered with THUNDER PRESS to present his videos on desert riding, product installations and reviews, motorcycling and safety tips, and commentary on the industry in general. And more recently, acclaimed videographer and owner of Runnin’ Rabbits Films, Rebecca Cunningham, shares videos of her motorcycle adventures all over the country, from the Motorcycle Cannonball to Camp 5 in Sturgis and more.
The rest of your favorite columnists, Sam Jones, Kip Woodring, Ernie Copper, Rob Campbell, and Buckshot will keep entertaining you with their unique views and experiences. And we will continue with event coverage and touring across the U.S. and beyond, but now all in one place! Plus, you will be able to write in with your favorite places to visit, or people to nominate for one of the new columns. You’ll still be able to pick up your copy of THUNDER PRESS at your local dealership or biker-friendly business. And if you can’t get there monthly, you can easily subscribe at thunderpress.net/subscribe.
So sit back and enjoy the ride. And spread the word; THUNDER PRESS, bringing you the voices of the biker community, is rollin’ strong! One for the Road