Lieback’s Lounge: Anti-Corporate with a Focus on Refining Abilities

testing the R1 in Spain Ron Lieback
Testing the 2020 YZF-R1 in Jerez

Lieback’s Lounge – October 2019

I went to sleep in Texas on Thursday, and woke up in Jerez, Spain, a few days later.

Between was a bit of blur that included many sore muscles in areas I forgot existed due to ripping around the Texas Tornado Boot Camp tracks, along with the realization once again of just how fast pro motorcycle racers are. From Corey West in Texas to Josh Hayes, Michael van der Mark, and Sam Lowes in Jerez.

First, it was Yamaha TT-R125s in flat track style at Colin Edwards’s boot camp, totally beating my lower body. Then I was riding the 2020 Yamaha YZF-R1 and YZF-R1M at the MotoGP and World Superbike circuit, beating my lower body again, along with my core.

testing the R1 in Spain Ron Lieback
Testing the 2020 YZF-R1M in Jerez

This prompted me to refocus on my strengthening my abilities, both physically and mentally. It also reminded me how grateful I am to be part of something much cooler than any corporate job.

As for the physical aspects, I’ve added a few unique exercises to the regime. I need to be in tune with muscles I don’t know about, and this called for additional education on these groups of muscles. I simply ask my pro motorcycle racing buddies, and they provide the answers.

The mental aspect is much different. I know riders who are unbelievably trained and fast, but inconsistent with their riding. That mental block is one of the reasons I train weekly for whatever discipline I focus on. For this year, the target training has been mostly ADV techniques on the big-ole KTM 1190 Adventure R.

This niche doesn’t require a racetrack, and I can do it whenever in the backyard or trails that are less than a mile away. It also required no updates of the stock exhaust; I want to be quiet to not piss off the neighbors, which saved some money on my end.

This is the beauty of motorcycles. Regardless of what type—ADV, sport, cruiser, whatever—motorcycles themselves are always the reminder for both the good and the bad.

Back in 2007, motorcycles saved me from some bad times. The results were so impressive that I focused all of my energy to become part of the industry. They provided the driving force for optimizing my health, and also the relaxing force for much-needed downtime while building businesses over the past decade.

It’s nearly an obsession, one that many within the industry share, especially on the moto journalism side. Motorcycle journalists are not the top-paid people in the world, which proves that the magic of motorcycles far outweighs the money factor. Monetization for motorcycle journos is far more than a paycheck; its the given lifestyle that comes along with the work.

This means a drastic focus on continued rider education, which typically equates to more workouts and more reading. Many of us constantly travel throughout the world on an OEM’s bill. A review of a motorcycle or parts far outweighs the costs associated with sending a handful of journalists to some unique location to test a motorcycle, whether it’s a European MotoGP circuit for the latest sportbike, or Morocco for a new adventure bike.

These trips substitute for lack of a huge paycheck. A few journalists are on the road and in the sky with few breaks. If they had to pay for such travel, it would be well over the $100k mark. That is something you can’t do “on the job” in most places unless you’re a traveling salesman, which is typically considered work, not a lifestyle.

Yes, this notion of a “work” factor. I tell people I haven’t worked in a decade. I truly enjoy what I do, and am mad about writing, riding, marketing, SEO, and creating content marketing strategies that work. I’m always attempting to master everything, but I am wise enough to know that true mastery is impossible. Rather, it’s the journey towards that true mastery that makes me constantly chase something and not become complacent with a situation—aka, stale and super boring.

From most in mass media, motorcycles get a bad rap, especially sport motorcycles due to the obvious dangers involved. I don’t lie—motorcycles are extremely dangerous. There’s no way around that factor, but there’s no one else to blame but one’s self. If you can’t handle a high-horsepower bike, especially from the mental perspective, stay off it and train to handle it.

We are in control of our own actions and are responsible for any decisions we make. We live in a time when anything is possible—it just takes the nerve, patience, and discipline to achieve it.

Motorcycles have helped me improve those qualities over and over during my lifetime, and I expect them to continually be the driving force behind any future progress, from a happy marriage, to a son that’s disciplined to be his very best at all he does (hopefully MotoGP!), to a long career of ethical and enjoyable work—um, I mean lifestyle.