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Sound RIDER! @ 20

Part 5: The Online Magazine

Sound RIDER! the magazine is at the heart and soul of everything else we do. Long before we did a rally, offered tours or opened an online store, the magazine led the way as our first asset.

Magazine? Some ask. Some think it's a blog. But it's far closer to a magazine than a digital self-constructed diary that a blog is.

In fact, back in 1999 the word 'blog' was just taking hold as authors scribed their daily accounts of the world around them. We were creating a digital version of a local magazine complete with news articles, used bike pages, a calendar and extensive listings of the dealers, clubs and organizations that make up the fabric of the Pacific Northwest motorcycling community. Blogs don't do that.

As time went on the local print motorcycle magazines - so to speak - folded. I recall sitting in a meeting with a local sports print magazine group about the possibility of giving Sound RIDER! life as a print publication. The suitors reviewed another local print moto publication and across several white boards we deconstructed the associated expenses and time required. At the end of the exercise we all agreed Sound RIDER! was not heading to the printing press anytime soon. Instead, the publication at the center of our exercise was gone six months later.

It was the magazine that spawned, first, an online store. When no shops had any interest in carrying some of the items we were reviewing, we took it upon ourselves to make them available to readers direct from us and built our first online store.

When riders were holding closed competitions to ride the 3 Pass Blast from Seattle to Leavenworth and back, using European rally rules (fastest speed) we tossed out an open game for everyone else to play developing our own event using American rally rules (best time based on the distance and legal speeds along the route).

When we saw what was happening in Canada with a style-specific rally during an editorial trek north, we created the Rally in the Gorge to focus on style-specific enthusiasts who had no rally of their own locally.

But all the while, columns were being penned and coming to the surface on a monthly basis.

We've had some great writers contribute over the years including David Hough, Nick Ienatsch, Dr. Gregory Frazier, Coleen First and others.

At one point I wanted to grow the offerings even more with a few regular columns. From that the 'Tips & Tricks' column was spawned and remains a quarterly favorite. There is a vast database where all those tips are stored that will someday become a book of its own.

'Back in the Old Days' was a series run throughout 2016 that contrasted what it was like to ride motorcycles 100 years ago compared to today. Although not as robust as TnT columns, this series may be expanded into a book in the future.

Looks like I've got a few books I need to get to work on.

We often publish articles with an evergreen slant to them. We want them to be informative for months and years to come. But time moves on, so often we will review a previous article, update it and re-publish noting the update.

The task these days is to continue to reach the next generation of riders. They are out there, not in the numbers as in previous generations, but we see them every month. I'm 20 years older so my challenge is to stay abreast of the current trends and make sure we're in the places where our next readers are hanging out. I also have to be mindful that an article written by myself, or another older editor, is going to be useful to a 25-year-old newbie.

Advertising pays the bills and advertising shifts are always occurring. Local dealers continue to play an important role in sustaining the magazine. And it's not just big box stores. Smaller shops and local service providers are there each year keeping their names in front of our readers. You've got them to thank for this magazine.

This year Motorcyclist magazine announced the death of their print publication, but a plan to continue to publish in digital. Personally, I've been getting rid of every print subscription I can when a digital version is available, so I tip my hat to any print magazine that sees fit to shut down the press and go to digital only. Without a page count restriction, the door is open to expand the content. That's a good thing.

The fact you're reading this means you're a Sound RIDER! reader. Without readers there would be no reason to do this. Thanks for sticking with us. We look forward to continuing our mission of providing quality content to everyone who takes the time to read our magazine.

TM/July 2019


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