American Motorcyclist March 2018

Member Letters

Letter Of The Month: Innovating Answers

Letter Of The Month: Innovating Answers

The AMA has been objecting to increasing the ethanol content in gasoline for quite some time now. I think they have spent some money and political capital to try and keep our bikes and small motors running without damage. This is a good cause, and I support the AMA’s efforts as being honest and proactive.

However, I think it is now time to shift the focus from what will not work to what will work. The fuels that Americans are using today, and will be using in the future, are changing for many reasons—environmental, economical, practical and even logical. It is time to get these machines running well with whatever the Environmental Protection Agency or Exxon or anybody else provides us. It could soon be all we have.

I propose an attitude of innovation and survival. The love of two wheels will survive no matter what it takes to keep them running. American manufacturing and innovation can adapt and thrive. Us old bikers remember the change to unleaded gas in the ’70s. All-new valve guides were the answer.

I hope the AMA will see things this way and promote and support new technology including electric and alternate fuel powered bikes. There are ways to keep these older machines running. We will do it no matter what blend of fuel is available.

Steve Forst | Des Moines, Iowa

Thanks for the note, Steve. The AMA supports, and encourages its members to support, technological innovation in all areas. When it comes to manufacturers, that support goes both ways. For example, this is an exciting time for electric-powered motorcycles and their future is bright. Electric motorcycle manufacturer Zero Motorcycles provides an AMA membership with each new Zero motorcycle sold. As technologies advance, rest assured the AMA will continue to fight for safe fuels that have been approved for use in motorcycles by the EPA and by manufacturers.


Remembering Robbie

Robert “Robbie” Robinson passed away recently while riding his motorcycle in Blackwater State Park near his home in Milton, Fla. A lifelong motorcycle enthusiast and AMA member since 1972, Robbie competed professionally in enduros, hare scrambles and occasionally motocross. His favorite event was the Gobbler Getter AMA National Enduro in Maplesville, Ala., in which he competed or attended every year since 1968.

In the early years he was making dirt bikes out of street bikes before there were dirt bikes. I’m talking the big heavy Triumphs, Hondas, Jawas of the day. These bikes were crude and ugly!

Dad wrenched for my uncle Skip Cunningham when they raced the big new England motocross tracks like Grafton and Pepperell. They were among the first to see the Europeans race.

Along the way, Dad had a bike shop and two sons who both raced. It was a way of life.

Dad always had street bikes as well, and he and my mom Noreen traveled regularly to Colorado, Texas and Kentucky for motorcycle events.

Dad was always a strong advocate for AMA. His love of motorcycling helped inspire a new generation of riders. He, along with my younger brother Trent, hosted a yearly fun run hare scramble and cookout. Participants came to ride and hear the stories from the old man that did it all—and to eat his award-winning BBQ, but that’s another story.

Robbie Robinson will be greatly missed.

Troy Robinson | Robertsdale, Ala.

Thanks for this tribute, Troy. The AMA Board of Directors recently named your dad a Friend of the AMA when determining its annual awards.


Earning Respect

Gary Stroup’s letter (“Image Matters,” January issue) regarding two times in which he experienced dangerous encounters with other motorcyclists struck a chord when I had a similar experience with four or five large cruisers that swarmed me while riding westbound on I-20 in Columbia, S.C., on Jan. 20.

While in the far right lane riding at the speed limit, one of the bikes passed me on the right while the others passed on the left, all riding at 15 to 20 miles over the speed limit. The event also took my breath away.

Obviously, not all riders are on board with the idea mentioned by Mr. Stroup that motorcyclists “are trying to earn the respect of our four-wheeled driving friends and a place on the roadways with them.”


Marshall Swanson | Columbia, S.C.

Colorado Adventure

Just read your article about riding double on an adventure ride in Colorado (“Beyond The Pavement,” January issue). Some of that (such as the Schofield Pass area) is not for the faint of heart. Riding double through that is something else. Kudos for hanging in there.

Good article. It brought back memories from riding there a couple of years ago. Our club tries to go every two years and all those areas were extremely familiar.

Marvin Grant | Chester, S.C.