I’ve Published a Few Pieces

Yes, nothing has been here on the blog or newsletter in many months, but that’s because I’ve been working on other things. See, this page doesn’t make me money, and when I write for pleasure I do it on a typewriter, not here. But just because things are quiet here doesn’t mean I haven’t been up to stuff.

The main things I’ve been up to don’t revolve around writing so much as setting up the next big phase of my life. Six months after the 2hearts1horizon trip, I’m still vagabonding around. The plan is to sell a house I own but haven’t lived in for a decade. Using the money from that sale, I’ll be purchasing my own little slice of planet Earth where I can have a true base of operations. No more compromise: space between neighbors, ample nature, and a lot of work space for my many projects.

I’d love to rattle off all the things I’m looking forward to, but I’m here to give an idea of what’s on the horizon: not specifics.

I’m fully engaged with the upcoming Veterans Charity Ride to Sturgis again, where I’ll once again pilot the camera rig for Sara Liberte, the official event photographer. I’ll also be trying to give more of a hands-on feel by doing take overs for the Russ Brown Motorcycle Attorneys’ Instagram page. I usually add photos and a few ad hoc videos each year, but this time I want to be more consistent and give a “you are part of the ride” vibe. That means recording more and enjoying the ride less, which has to be balanced since I also act as a veteran mentor for the people who are on the ride for the first time. Balance must be maintained.

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I’m also involved in a new and much bigger version of the Hoody Hoo Throwdown, an event I helped put together in 2019. We had a successful opening in Las Vegas and a not-so-successful 2nd event at the Hollister rally. Now it’s coming back as a full-day, stand alone event with bands being the central focus. This will be more of a rally and concert than a moto-scavenger hunt, but we’ll still team up with Rever to provide that: it’s just going to be one facet of the event now instead of the central piece.

It will be in early November so there’s not a lot that can be announced yet, but it should have some of the standards like food trucks, vendors, slow drags, bike show, and hopefully some mini-bike racing. More will come on that as it develops.

As for writing, I’ve only put out a few published pieces this year, which is finally starting to change. Only two articles have come out with my name on them, both on the Russ Brown blog. On the plus side, they are pretty cool. The first is Part 2 of my interview with Allan Lane, a Philly-based biker who is involved in a bunch of moto-related endeavors, including Sportbikes Inc., an online magazine. Part 1 came out on Dec 31, so it doesn’t technically count as an article from this year, but it’s still available on their blog of course.

The second was a really cool interview with Rusty Coones. Most people know him for playing Rayne Quinn on the TV series Sons of Anarchy, but he is a real-life biker and holds a high position in one of the biggest 1%er clubs in the world. He also is big into building custom bikes and cars, plays guitar in the band Attika 7, and even knows his way around electric-powered vehicles. He was a thoughtful and gracious guy to interview, and I’m really happy with the piece. It’s a full-length spread, which is hard to sell on the internet, where attention spans are so short. The guy just had so much to say that I didn’t want to short the reader.

Rusty Coones biker on harley motorcyle
Rusty Coones

I’ve also finished a piece on Hessian Spike, who is heavily involved with the biker rights movement. I got to interview him in person and he was a gracious host who had endless stories to tell. He also continued the trend of destroying the biker stereotype by being a smart businessman, an architect, and dedicated to health and good living. Television and pop culture (and the government) want us to think of bikers as one-dimensional people who ride wild, fight hard, and leave only chaos in their wake. The bikers I’ve dealt with so far have shredded that concept into confetti, and I enjoy telling their stories in a different light.

Look for that piece on the Russ Brown blog in the coming weeks.

Currently I’m drafting a piece on John Barker of the Combat Hero Bike Build. They make custom motorcycles and give them to combat wounded vets. More than just putting hand controls or a trike conversion on an existing motorcycle, they deliver bikes (and usually some riding gear) that are turn-key, ready to be entered in a bike show. The piece will probably be out in a month, but I’ll have it submitted within a week or so.

I’ll be doing some profiles on the riders participating on this years Veterans Charity Ride also, and I’ve got some more interviews in the works as well, about a 9/11 memorial ride and some others. It’s tougher doing interviews since you have to tell a linear story that’s compelling to the reader, but use quotes from another person. I’d like to pitch other stories and write for more varied outlets, but the work is coming hard and fast from Russ Brown so I’m chasing the stories that are coming at me.

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I still haven’t started on the book about my trip with Kate, but I look forward to it. I still go through my notes and have some outlining done, but I want to have a new house I can set an office up in and knock out some writing in a more cohesive way, as opposed to slapdash writing that comes from a sense of duty more than passion.

It will have to wait, but if I’m going to do something that big I want it to be good: something I can take pride in and genuinely give an experience to the reader that’s worth far more than the price of the book. In the meantime, you can always look for me on Instagram. I’m still on Facebook but not nearly as much. They screwed up the algorithm enough that it no longer feels like a place to connect with people or keep up on industry news. I’m on Linkedin or ezines for that now, and Instagram to keep up with friends who live far away.

-Johnny

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