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Old Year/New Year

I feel like I’ve gone back to the future. Back in 2006 I remember going to Utah on my bike and camping out along the way. My primary means of email and writing was by way of a small folding keyboard and a small hand-held HP PDA device running Windows Mobile 5. Fact is, the keyboard was not full size and the text on the PDA screen was small and hard to read. Not optimal, but I’m always game for new technology.

As I write, I’m typing on a full size Bluetooth folding keyboard piped into an HP 7 Stream tablet. The tablet has a 7” screen and I’m having no trouble reading it. Eight years later I’m back into the compact stuff and this may well be my mobile rig for touring on the bike this coming year. Well, at least one.

2014 was also a year we went back to the future with Sound RIDER! We used to have an editorial archive up until 2012 when we rebuilt the site. It’s taken us two years to get it together, but in October our archive went back online. Good news for everyone who enjoys getting in there now and then for some good tips we’ve provided over the years, or just some fun reading.

We also crossed the bridge into social media land. We built a Facebook page, a Twitter page, tied them together and ran the feed onto the Newsbytes page. In other words, we finally figured out how to play the social media game and not be taking extra time to do it. In fact, the Newsbytes page looks better than it ever has as a result.

This was the year we moved our Rally in the Gorge out of Stevenson Washington, over to Hood River. The results although not perfect, were very good with many happy rally goers as a result.

We did a little number crunching this year, tallying crash stats from local news reports provided between July and September this summer. 67% of crashes involved riders on Harley-Davidsons. Wow. Perhaps there’s a message to dealers to support new riders with training rebates? Half of the reported crashes involved a fatality. And the award for dumbest crash goes to the 20 year-old Ducati rider who launched himself off the Sunset off-ramp along I-90 in Issaquah 68 feet into the wetland below trying to elude police. He lived.

2015 stands before us and we have a few goals we're looking at achieving.

While I still love the big screen of a laptop or desktop computer, mobile is here to stay. We’ll be looking at some solutions to render the look of the magazine, event sites and SR! online store differently based on screen size.

We’d also like to double the turnout for the rally this summer, which is a lofty goal, but we believe doable if we do our marketing right.

As we depart 2014 and move into 2015, we’re midway through our 15th anniversary. I look at how this magazine provides community for riders and I have to stop and say thanks to all the readers who read it and all the sponsors that support what we do. Without the readers and sponsors there would be no Sound RIDER!, and although we must have done something right to earn the title of ‘longest running non-club motorcycle journal in the Pacific Northwest’, that is by no means a reason to sit back and relax. There’s always new technology to grasp, another medium to catch onto, but most importantly there’s always new information we can learn and pass on to you, the reader/rider, to better your motorcycling experience.

Cheers!

Tom Mehren/Fall 2014


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