Editor’s Letter: April 2019

It’s funny how the gears in the mind can grind while you’re riding.

I was out testing the 2019 Yamaha Niken GT, thinking about how it worked, what it feels like, and how to explain it to our readers. Racing down one of the neural highways in my noggin was the thought that my job is to ride motorcycles and report back to everyone on what I experienced.

For years, out of habit and tradition more than anything else, I’ve referred to myself as a motojournalist. While that is undoubtedly a worthy vocation and many of my distinguished colleagues fit that description, I’ve never written into a journal in my entire life. That makes it hard to be a motojournalist, at least from my perspective.

Editor’s Letter: Roaming Motoreporter Don Williams
Author riding the Yamaha Niken GT

As I kept running, my multi-processor mind worked away at that thought in the background while I focused on the Niken GT and the welcome challenges it offered me in reviewing it. A motorcycle with two front wheels that lean doesn’t come along every day—the closest I’ve ridden has been the Piaggio MP3 scooter.

At a break, I was able to crystalize my thoughts about what I do. I accepted the fact that I am not a motojournalist, and likely never will be.

We’ve had, and have, some great motojournalists here at Ultimate Motorcycling, including such luminaries as David Morris (watch for a great Ducati Diavel story from him next issue), Michael Schulte, Gary Ilminen, Jonathan Handler, Shawn M. Pickett, and Jess McKinley. The newest member of that club is Senior Editor Nic de Sena—don’t miss his Vespa feature in this issue.

These are authentic journalists who can write creative rings around me. I’m a pretty good editor, so I can help put the last touches of polish on their stories even as I could never write a feature the way they create one from scratch.

Although I know how to write about the nuts and bolts of motorcycling, I inarguably lack the creativity possessed by the journalists among us. My unrestrained literalism is bred into me, and it’s not likely going anywhere. That’s fine—it gives Ultimate Motorcycling the balance that I think makes it a special publication to read. I’ll comfortably stay in my lane.

At a break, it struck me that I needed to jettison the motojournalist moniker for one that more accurately describes what I do. I came up with “motoreporter”, though a DuckDuckGo search shows that (surprise!) I have not coined a new word. That’s okay, too, as my job description doesn’t include thickening the dictionary.

I am happy with calling myself a motoreporter. It’s what I do. After riding a motorcycle, I fire up the Chromebook or iMac, and report back to you what I experienced.

I love imparting information as factually and impartially as I possibly can. Rather than focus on what I like, as if that’s relevant to you, my goal is to make you feel as if you just ridden the motorcycle and understand precisely what you need to know about it. I’m not journaling—I’m reporting.

While I can’t strive to be your favorite motojournalist, I’ll do what I can to be a valued motoreporter in your motorcycling life. Ride on!

From the April 2019 issue found on the Ultimate Motorcycling digital app