Letter Of The Month

Youth Racer

Our son is very excited to be a part of a sport that’s not a traditional sport. He loves to race! He was a little intimidated by the faster quads that he had to race with in the youth class at his first GNCC, but he finished.

For most of his 2019 season, he raced Peewee and Intermediate. He knew he was going to be racing the Youth class in 2020, so he figured why not give it a shot at the biggest race of the year—the Ironman GNCC in Indiana!

We are extremely proud of his ambition and excitement for the sport and only hope it grows more every year with him! We really enjoy it!

Misti and Derick Sanders | Martinsville, Ind.


Highway 1

I enjoyed Jeremy Beuttler’s story about his trip on the Pacific Coast Highway from Moro Bay to Monterey (“California Cruising,” February issue). I first traveled that highway on a motorcycle trip to the Southwest in 1973. I was struck by the variety of its beauty and the absence of development.

I had the opportunity to revisit it again three years ago after visiting friends in San Diego. I was shocked that after 40 years it was still as undeveloped as it had been when I first saw it. My wife loved it, taking in the elephant seals near San Simeon, watching a whale and calf breaching in the distance around Gamboa Beach, along with the natural scenic beauty.

Unlike Jeremy, I have traveled other highways noted in the April 2011 issue, notably the Bear Tooth Highway and Going to the Sun. Although I love this stretch of the PCH (I’d go back again), the other two are more to my taste.

My favorite ride will always be the Icefield Parkway from Banff to Jasper, Alberta. I think it is the most beautiful road in North America.

I suggest anyone going to the PCH stop and stay in Solvang. It’s 30 miles northwest of Santa Barbara. Plan to go hungry; it’s Danish pastries heaven. I’d also recommend the Monterey Bay Aquarium, and while you are there, yes, stop at Hog’s Breath Inn, among other places.

Dale Durchholz | Bloomington, Ill.

Safe And Sound?

I have been an AMA member for a while. You have some articles I don’t agree with. I like a lot of them, but every now and then I take issue with them.

In your January 2020 issue, the letter titled “I See You” was very concerning. It’s very concerning that you made no comment as to the author’s actions. Obviously, he was driving at the time he developed his plan to take that picture. Even if he was stopped, he was still using an electronic device while behind the wheel. Bad idea. How much time did he spend planning this? How long was his attention not directed at traffic? How long was his self-driving mode engaged? Did he confirm that the self-driving mode was working properly before taking his attention off the road? Did he ever look at where his car was driving itself or was he too busy planning the photo shoot?

That is the very definition of distracted driving.

If you look close at the very large display screen in his photo, which partially blocks his view, you can clearly see four cars displayed. You really have to look hard at the display to “see” the motorcycle on the screen. Plus, it’s clear that he has five different apps running at the same time. So, where do you think his attention is focused? I also wonder why his eight cameras, 12 ultrasonic sensors and forward radar do not pick up the cars crossing the intersection. Does all that technology not work the way it should?

Despite my comments, I don’t dislike Teslas. They are very nice cars. They do a lot of good things. But with all of the AMA’s fight to keep motorcyclists safe from distracted drivers, why does the AMA condone someone doing exactly what you preach not to do? In his state, is it okay to use electric devices while driving? Or, is he breaking the law?

Ed Brock | Oak Grove, Ore.

The faceshield didn’t survive. Timothy did.

Thanks, Ed. In practice, we give members wide latitude in their letters. We correct factual errors when we have enough context to do so, but lacking that, we leave it to the community to police itself and publish competing opinions when submitted, as we’ve done with your note here.

Head Protected

I enjoy American Motorcyclist magazine. I have been an AMA member for over three years. A member’s letter in the January 2020 issue “Brain Saved” really hit home with me. Like Mr. Gardner, who wrote that letter, I have been riding for many years, since the 1980s.

In October 1991 a friend and myself were out on our motorcycles after work. I was wearing my friends extra helmet. Around 9 p.m., after riding for a few hours, we split up to go to our respective homes. A couple minutes later, a 16-year-old driver in his parents car did a left turn from a side street in front of me. I was going between 30 and 40 mph.

Like Mr. Gardner, the helmet saved my brain and my life because the helmet smashed into the drivers windshield. I had other injuries but I was still alive. I had cracked the second vertebrate in my neck, broken two fingers, and chipped some teeth when my jaws hit together. I ripped off the handlebars with my legs as I went over them.

Thanks to my friend’s borrowed helmet, I survived to ride another day, even though it took 16 years to get back on another motorcycle. Now at 58 years old, I still enjoying riding as much as I ever have.

I don’t always wear “ATGATT,” but I have always wore a helmet on every ride, even in the states where it is not mandatory to do so. When riding, a helmet will always be my constant companion.

Timothy Yates | Rome, N.Y.