A little end-of-the-year philosophical discussion was being held in our smallish group of the CREW last month. We’re a group of over 150, but with most riding groups, the actual core riding group varies from 25 down to 10, depending on the popularity of the ride. After that discussion, I chatted with Tom Lucero who asked why, exactly, are some better attended than others? Is it a popularity contest? Are some rides better than others? Are some presented better than others? To that, I say—yes. To all. Sure—some rides are way better than other rides. Why? Were they planned better? Do they go to cooler places or have better routes? Do their reputations precede them? Again, yeah. I can count on some rides always being excellent, depending on who throws them. When mentioned that perhaps some of our own rides might be getting stale, I suggested we step outside of our cushy box and attend someone else’s ride. I swear by ABATE’s Polar Bear Ride. It’s always a great ride, with a thoughtfully-planned route. Have we, as a group, attended it? Nope. Why not? We didn’t think of it? We weren’t reminded of it in time to plan it? We didn’t know how much fun it was? Why aren’t we (and other riding groups) attending other folks’ events like we used to? Is it leadership? Publicity? Heaven knows we here at THUNDER PRESS and ABATE’s Bailing Wire do their very best to make the info available to us. Why aren’t we making use of it better? Our group does a great job of planning rides, as I’m sure do many of your own groups. But are yours getting stale? Same ol, same ol? Hit up our calendar pages and find a new event once a month. So much work goes into the planning for these day-long events—try them out! You might start changing your group plans more often! January’s a little slow for riding because the weather’s a little unpredictable, so I won’t go into any here. Instead, happy birthday to a bunch of you folks! Starting with my own nephew Aaron Weigand! And Allison Woods, hope you’re planning a fun day. Amy Broich, you’ve got so many pals, I know they’ll make your birthday special! Ana Storton—you have a super-fun day. Bobbie Mars-White, take a day off and have some fun! Brad Valdez (Halle’s little brother!!), hope your day is great! And Charity Privett, you have fun too. Dave Adams, have a great birthday. Frank Waldrop—you have so many folks that love and admire you, I know your birthday will go just great! Founding member of both Pomona Valley H.O.G. and ABATE #19 Hank Hallmark is celebrating this month. Hope it’s good, Hank. Bunco buddy Helen White is celebrating this month—both her birthday and retirement. Yay Helen! Jackie Oppenheimer, hope your birthday’s fun. Aptly-named January Jeffers is celebrating this month too. As is Jeffrey Kuhns—hope both your birthdays are excellent! Jen Esqueda, have a fun birthday. Kelley Cox, hope you have a fun birthday. Kevin Shaw, have a great day too! Mike Myers—hoping you have a nice birthday. And longtime wrecking yard riding friend Paul Wilson, hope your January birthday is good. Another longtime friend is Richard Hestlow, who is also celebrating this month. Richard Morrow, have a good day. Rjoh Riise, hope this year is another good one for you. Happy birthday to Ron Downing too. Saralyn Delk, wishing you joy this year! And to The CREW’s Anna Chavez—happy birthday, honey! Tom Sullivan, have a fun day. Same goes for Trudy Brown. Walt Gaston, make this year a year to remember. Suzie Nellis, hope this year’s birthday finds you well on the road to recovery and out enjoying life again! My oldest friend in motorcycling (and mentor) Janie Gott, hope your birthday is wonderful! Mary Wallgren, miss you honey; hope your birthday is wonderful up there in the frozen north! I have a guest room ready if you want to drop in to visit. Neal Parisi, hope this year’s birthday finds you taking lots of great photos opportunities! Abe Inge, hope your birthday’s cool too! Sharon Mulvihille-Anderson, missed you at the PV H.O.G./ABATE 19 Toy Run, so happy birthday too! Congrats to the winning team(s) for my annual Scavenger Hunt! I had a pretty darn nice turnout and everyone reported having a good time. Congrats are in order to all of you attending. Your participation helped out our annual end-of-the-year party. Ron and Christine Vanyo, thanks for the great Christmas party!… Valley V-Twin and Desert Motorcycle Riders are bringing Accident Scene Management’s “Basic and Advanced Bystander Assistance Classes” back to So Cal on the 21st and 22nd. Learn what to do and what not to do at the scene of a motorcycle accident. Only a few spaces left! Classes will be taught by Teresa “Trauma Mama” McClelland and Valley V-Twin’s Halle Fetty. Sending healing thoughts and prayers to John Delk and Sgt. Jeff Merritt… That’s it for January; see you all next month. Stay dry and get some riding in! Hit the desert, or some place a little warmer. Enjoy your rides!