Blog Archives

You Meet the Nicest People

Back in 1963, Honda Motorcycles ran an advertising campaign that proclaimed, “You meet the nicest people on a Honda.” I’d like to amend that to “You meet the nicest people on a motorcycle.” Period. It doesn’t matter the make or the model, bikers are some of the nicest people I’ve run across in a long time.

I stopped out at Indian Motorcycles in St. Paul today and dropped off some copies of Ride Minnesota. Although owner Art Welch wasn’t interested stocking the book, he has graciously allowed me to snag a little counter space in his beautiful store. Can you believe it, almost every motorcycle on his show floor has been sold? There’s a lot of pent-up demand for Indians (Polaris has done a good job of marketing them). I hope the long winter and pent-up feelings extend into book sales, too.

I also stopped next door at St. Paul Harley Davidson. The folks there haven’t yet decided whether or not they’ll take the book, but John in the parts department invited me to a seminar on motorcycle touring that he’s giving in April. I’m already booked that day, but I appreciate invitation and the enthusiasm. In fact, so many people involved in motorcycling have been so helpful and encouraging.

I saw some bikers on the road today, and there were quite a number of folks buying parts and new batteries for their bikes to get ready for riding season. The temperature hovered around 45 degrees, but the weather was an ever-changing mixture of sleet, snow, sunshine. It’s the annual wresting match between spring and winter in Minnesota.  Still, it won’t be long until the rumble of a well-tuned motorcycle is heard again.

“Beyond the Bookstore”

Record snow depth on Michigan's Keweenaw Peninsula is 139 inches.

Record snow depth on Michigan’s Keweenaw Peninsula is 139 inches.

Once you’ve sold the first 100 copies of your book to your family and friends, you have to work a little harder. I just received notice from Amazon that the book I ordered, “Beyond the Bookstore,” has  shipped. It’s supposed to be filled with ideas for unconventional ways and means of selling books. I’ve been doing some of that on my own, making appearances at motorcycle dealerships with a saddlebag full of copies of Ride Minnesota.

Showing up at unexpected places is a fun way to market a product, if somewhat time-consuming. In the next few weeks, I’ll be at Northway Sports (September 28), the Twin Cities Book Festival (October 13, sponsored by Rain Taxi) and the Home Improvement & Design Expo (October 19-20). I have no idea what to expect from the last one, but Northway is going to loan me a hot new motorcycle to attract attention and keep me company in the booth.

Showing up at unexpected places reminds me somewhat of motorcycle touring, when you often find things at unexpected places. This summer Ralph and I took the Lake Superior Circle Tour. One of the great places to ride along the way is the Keweenaw Peninsula in Upper Michigan. That’s where we came across this gigantic thermometer that measures snow depth in the area.  It’s something we never expected to see. The record snow depth, by the way, is 139 inches. I’m damned glad I didn’t have to shovel it.