Squid to Fogey: Four Phases of a Motorcyclist

1. Birth

You’ve bought your first bike. But first you have to hide it from your parents or your wife. You have to figure out a way to lock it to the carport, or in a storage unit. But you didn’t really think about where you’d put it, once you got one.

Everything is as intimidating as it is new, exciting, as it is frightening. No matter how old you are, you’re born for the second time, given another chance to live life the way you’ve always wanted to. The roads are your freedom; your wheels are your ticket to the most amazing day you’ve ever had. This is your shot at adventure, to renewed vigor, your escape from the mundane – but at a price.

You drop your bike a hundred times for stupid things like missing your footing at a gas station, or haphazardly moving your bike in the garage. You curse words you don’t remember learning. What you wouldn’t give for an indestructible brake or clutch lever. But that’s okay. Nothing a sticker and some zip ties won’t fix. Oh, and you’re the butt of every joke with your riding buddies. They call you a ‘squid’ and make fun of your chicken strips. You really have to learn what that means.

The other day, you took one hand off the handlebar and felt like Evil Knievel. Some might say Malcolm Smith or Jason Britton. You have no idea who the hell they are, but everyone has supposedly ridden with them. You might have even popped a first gear wheelie by accident. You really need to figure out how to do it on purpose because that was AWESOME! You talk to every rider you meet and ask a hundred questions to which, unfortunately, there are a hundred, completely contradicting answers. So you find forums to get your information and learn all about that thing called ‘trolling.’

You find a good group to ride with and you grow.

2. Childhood

You never miss a bike night, or a stunt show. You click ‘going’ to every bike event on Facebook. And afterward, you leave a smiling mug shot on their page. You take pictures and video of EVERYTHING. You ride everywhere, anytime. Who needs an invitation? You’re happy to go it alone. You might have even ridden all the way to Arizona just to touch the border at 3:00 am because you were bored, before turning around and heading back home. My name is Danger!

Someone says you should try the ‘twisties.’ Someone shows you how to do wheelies; or you watched YouTube and learned yourself. But now that you know how, you can’t stop. It becomes a habit and the tickets start piling up. You know the motor cops’ names that operate in your city or your favorite ride spot by heart. You start learning where all their hiding places are.

You go to the motorcycle conventions just to watch the stunt shows and sit on new bikes. You’re not buying one right now, but making a list because your beginner bike feels too slow – time to move up.

You’re learning who all the professional Moto GP riders are and you follow all the stunt riders on Instagram. You spend every night at the stunt lot, and then ride some more after, just to see how fast and far you can go before your gaslight comes on.

You start getting pretty good at this whole riding thing, but the tickets are getting old. Damn the popo’s for profiling. But hey, at least you’re finally getting rid of your chicken strips. Only…it’s scaring the shit out of you. So you decide its time to try some more training, or maybe track days. And then you grow.

3. Adolescence

Just like teenage angst was a cliché the first time, not much has changed the second time around. You have your click you’ve fallen into whether it be the vested riders, the stunters, the canyon carvers, the retro-emo boom or the track junkies. You pick one and talk crap about all the others. Sure he’s fast, but he can’t wheelie like me. And vice versa. You get the picture.

You’re doing track days every month. You’re commuting miles and miles to and from work. You’re racking up seat time, miles and credence. You know everything and you’re still staying out late riding with your buddies.

And then …

Somebody crashes. Everybody crashes. You crash. The unfortunate mishaps come in threes, only to end very badly. Maybe you’re in the hospital for the first, second, third time. Maybe you’re going to your first, second, third funeral. Your family is getting worried and they’re on your case. They don’t understand you. Maybe you don’t understand you either. All you know is riding is who you are now. Maybe you’re lucky enough to meet a partner who understands and accepts it. They’re the ones who hold your hand after surgery, the ones who stand by your side at the funeral. They’re the annoying one who blows up your phone while you’re splitting lanes through traffic at the worst possible time. You make a note to put it on silent, but you don’t think about the feeling they get when you don’t answer.

But you’re good at this now. You can’t quit. You race. People know who you are. You’ve climbed your way to the elite. Everyone in the canyon inflates your ego by constantly reminding you how fast you are, especially if you’re a girl. It’s extremely addictive and despite the run of bad luck, you keep pushing harder and harder, as fast as the bike will go. Maybe you even competed and won a championship or two.

One day, you realize that very few of your riding buddies are left. The person who held your hand before is probably gone, replaced by a newer, more efficient model. Or at least one that doesn’t complain as much.

Now you’ve crashed a hundred times, fixed your bike countless more and you’re tired. And then you grow.

4. Adulthood

You still commute to work because you have to, but you’re not splitting lanes thrice the speed of traffic anymore. That’s for kids. You’re not waving your fist at other drivers either. You haven’t crashed, or dropped your bike in quite some time, but you may still get a ticket or two because everyone knows cops have stiffies for motorcyclists. No, but really, you appreciate what they do, and are thankful when they pull a ladder from the roadway that you might otherwise would have hit.

You don’t really go to many events anymore unless you know friends might be there. You’ll definitely ride to a Moto GP race, visit the local speedway or take your vacation at a motorcycle rally nearby. But you’re over the whole bike night thing.

Your chicken strips are back and that’s okay. At least you don’t have to spend as much money on tires. If you do get a wild hair and feel like scrubbing in (on a perfectly fair day – not too hot or cold), you leave really early, you know, before all the squids get to the mountain. You still do track days, but you ride in the intermediate group. The demon comes out long enough to get your adrenaline going, but not long enough to satiate your thirst.

Your gray hairs are coming in a little early. You scoff at hearing about ‘rider down’ on the radio. You’re a member of the AMA. You’re an instructor. You’re an explorer and you fantasize about a cross-country trip on the bike. You might even take it because you finally have the PTO to cover it, since you don’t call in sick to work all the time anymore. You don’t go conventions because there’s nothing there you haven’t seen at the dealer or in the magazine. You like the bike you have. Still, a second one would be nice. You know, one for commuting, one for track. But that’s mostly all talk.

You still keep in touch with your still-living riding buddies, but mostly through Facebook. You still see them once annually at a rally or bike meet-up, maybe even lunch. But they won’t make fun of you if you drive.

The great thing about getting to this point is you’ve passed through the guillotine and survived. You can take your bike apart and put it back together which saves you a ton of money on maintenance. Your insurance rates have FINALLY gone down.

You know your boundaries. You’re smart. And you can complain all you want because you have experience. You know what you can and can’t get away with. You know the consequences and which rides are worth the risk. You’re picky about who you ride with and for good reason.

And yet, the squid completely ignores your advice. No big deal. You shut up and nod your head, confident with the fact that you don’t have to prove yourself anymore, especially to him/her. The new rider asks you a question and you take the opportunity to mentor. You give him him/her the hundredth different answer, but don’t argue when they say someone else told them different. At least you tried. And you hope they grow.

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No Stunts, No Guns, No Glory

12074835_702524810785_1146938723333636868_nI’ve been learning a ton about people on Instagram. I search daily for new pictures of tattooed people and their bikes. Early on, I came across a stunt rider named Dane Britt whose rambunctious Mohawk, ambitious stunts and multiple tattoos matched up with MotoInked’s IG perfectly. But what stood out about Dane was his guns, and I don’t mean the muscle kind.

As owner of K&D Guns & Ammo, he’s the first stunt rider I’ve come across who’s also a gun enthusiast. In mean ways, people who love guns and stunts are a lot alike; they’re both misunderstood and legislation is not kind to either of them. So how are you supposed to find happiness in a country where both of your major hobbies are frowned upon? Well, if you’re Dane, you have an indelible optimism that can’t be crushed by haters.

281244_10150244604956029_5590221_nHere’s what he has to say about why he loves guns, bikes and tattoos.

MI: Tell me about K&D. Where does your passion for bad ass weaponry come from?

DB: K&D Guns and Ammo is my gun store. I have one partner, Keith, and we just opened the doors in August of 2015. I come from a family of hunters and gun enthusiasts and just like to shoot. For years, my dad has been asking me, “What is your goal with all of this networking you do? You can do motorcycle stunts and sing to people for a little longer, but your body won’t last forever.” So for the past five years or so, I have been narrowing down what I wanted to do outside of entertainment. Guns are the other thing that I really enjoy, so it just fell into place. I always try to make things I enjoy into my job. Keeps life wayyyy more fun! 😀

MI: You’ve got a lot going on, on your YouTube channel, i.e. singing, dancing, stunting and guns. What do you like doing most? 

DB: HAHA! This is tough. People ask me this a lot. I think I enjoy drifting motorcycles the most. It is the best rush for sure, and it’s very rewarding when I put my drift videos on YouTube and kids all over the world can find it and learn from it.

MI: How long have you been riding?

DB: My dad started my brother and I riding when we were two years old. My grandfather started a motorcycle business in 1976, and my dad took it over in 1995, so myself and my brother both grew up in the motorcycle shop.

So much energy, so little time!

So much energy, so little time!

MI: What bikes do you own?

DB: I currently own a 2007 Harley Sportster, 2004 Yamaha FZ1, 2009 Suzuki DRZ 400SM, and a 2005 Kawasaki KLX 110.

MI: What is your favorite thing to do or place to go on a motorcycle?

My favorite thing to do would be drifting the Harley on a clear, flat, smooth, open parking lot somewhere.

MI: How many hours do you have into your tattoos? 

DB: Ummmm, ummmmm…..That’s spread out over a lot of years, but I would guess maybe 60-80 hours.

MI: Who were the artists who did the work?

DB: There have been several over the years. Jesse Collins has done some. Right now, I always use Jimmy Sparks at Rockstar Tattoo. He has a great shop, and a good attitude.

MI: What is your favorite tattoo?

DB: Favorite tattoo is probably the “Custom Made” tattoo on my chest. I take a lot of pride in being “different,” or “Custom,” and tend to stray away from things that would make me boring or unoriginal; if that makes sense.

You can follow Dane Britt and K&D on Facebook.

Meet 5E11EVEN: Maker of the Moto Self Portraits

Eddie B. himself (edited of course)

Eddie B. himself (edited of course)

Photographer Eddie B., a.k.a. 5e11even, is the modern marvel of the moto-self-portrait. His portraits create a masterful, digitally refined union of rider and machine. Every portrait is the perfect blend of bike life and imagination, with sci-fi inspired graphics and color that keeps the eyes wondering through the photo. His portraits are so attention grabbing, they’re accumulating more likes on Instagram than twenty-something college girls. So who is the guy behind 5e11even media? Read on to find out.

MI: Tell us about yourself.

nikkizx6r-1511: My name is Eddie B. I’m from Honolulu, Hawaii. As a digital media specialist, I have experience with web design/development, graphic/print design, photography and videography. I have been in the industry for about 10 years now, sampling each part of the digital media spectrum. I started as a web design intern at a local design studio and since then, I’ve branched into many different creative avenues, including marketing.

MI: Cool. How long have you been riding motorcycles?

rc8-guy-vanquished511: I started riding 2 years ago on a 2012 Ninja 250. Then I moved up to a 2013 Ninja 650 and am now riding a 2014 Ninja ZX-6R. Even though I haven’t been riding a while, the bike life has been a pretty awesome experience. I’ve met a lot of people because of riding and my edits.

MI: When did you start doing digital art?

511: My digital art and photography has an interesting story. After doing web development for a good seven years, my workplace needed help with content creation for marketing. I’d been shooting casually for a good three years, but not really taking it seriously (it was just a hobby) and I did a lot of car shoots for the local car scene. Since I knew how to use a DSLR, they appointed me to create content, which was mostly studio photography for products and the artwork we create.

ej-zx6rMI: Your photos are pretty amazing. What kind of camera do you use?

511: I currently shoot with a Nikon D750.

MI: What it’s like being a photographer?

511: At first I hated it because I wanted to be a web developer and not a photographer. But after doing it for a while, I kinda started to like it, as photography can be technical. I’ve found inspiration in photographers like Von Wong and Zach Arias. I learned more techniques through SLR Lounge, F-Stoppers and a bunch of YouTube channels. Now I’m shooting bikes since I’m part of the bike scene.

couplezx6rMI: Right on. How did you develop the the moto-self-portrait?

511: I am currently a college student taking college classes part-time online. I just started to dabble in Photoshop and having been playing around with photos I’ve taken. I already had the graphic design experience so I started playing with edits. I learned double exposure photography trying to combine my bike and myself. I totally failed at that and thought, “Screw it, I am gonna fake it in Photoshop!” So I did and it totally evolved from being monochrome to full color with effects. I do other edit styles as well, but it’s the portraits that have made me known.

floyed-IGMI: Sweet. Where do you get your inspiration?

511: There are a few inspirations for my graphic design/art background such as Abduzeedo, Hydro74, NoPattern and Red Spade come to the top of my head right now. Because of Instagram, I am constantly finding inspiration everywhere!

To have your own portrait made, click here for instructions.

EJet1

Christin “Oki” Voros Tells All about Racing, GirlClutch and Her Tattoos

IMG_0229She’s a tattooed, half-Okinawan riding bad ass who rules the streets of Oceanside aboard her 2008 Honda CBR600RR. She’s also road raced at Chuckwalla Valley Raceway with CVMA racing and took home some pretty admirable finishes before retiring. But Christin Voros, a.k.a. Oki, is known for more than just her racing. She’s a YouTube vlogger that goes by the name OkiHondaGirl, a cross fit junkie saved by God and an advocate for women riders through her organization called GirlClutch.

Oki started GirlClutch–which is a woman rider organization dedicated to bringing women riders together to have fun and raise money for various charities–back in 2010. After a brief hiatus (due to the racing of course) she is revamping GirlClutch to continue her passion for uniting women riders through their love of two wheels. She also has some amazing ink. We caught up with her and she told us a little about why she rides and the stories behind her tattoos.

IMG_0222MI: When did you start riding and why?

CV: I took the MSF Basic Riders Course in 2006 but didn’t get to start riding consistently until 2008. I was riding pillion with my boyfriend-at-the-time and enjoying it, when I started noticing girls riding their own bikes and thought they looked amazingly cool. For some reason, I had never considered that I could be riding my own bike instead of sitting on the back. I somehow got talked into doing my first track day in 2009. I decided to make my bike full-race/track and I raced in the Femmewalla and Amateur Middleweight classes with CVMA from September 2011 until I retired in April 2014 (I got second in the Femmewalla class championships in 2011 and finished top 10 amateur in 2013, dropping about 40 seconds on my lap times). After retirement, I eventually converted my bike back to street-legal with the help of Armando Obregon at AR Motorsports in Temecula, and started going on joy-rides again in May 2015.

Photo by Tony Mino.

Photo by Tony Mino. As featured in SportbikesIncmag.com

MI: What do you love about riding?

CV: There’s freedom in it. I compare it to how a dog feels when he sticks his head out the window, or maybe a jet fighter.

MI: I’ve heard you were quite the prolific YouTube Vlogger.

CV: I’m slowly trying to get back into vlogging haha…It’s kind of hard for me to come up with content because 1) I’m a fair-weather rider (I don’t wanna ride if it’s too hot or cold!) 2) I’m not really the type of person to put my business or opinions out there (unless asked) and 3) I ride around the same places, so content is kind of hard to come up with. Maybe it’ll be an excuse to tow my bike out somewhere and come up with some moto-adventures.

Christin racing at Chuckwalla Valley Raceway as an amateur.

Christin racing at Chuckwalla Valley Raceway as an amateur.

MI: So what’s GirlClutch about anyway?

CV: A community of women riders passionate about all types of motorcycles, who meet every month to ride, empower and support one another.

MI: What are some things in the works for GirlClutch?

CV: We’re planning to have charity or fundraising rides every quarter to benefit charities ranging from the homeless, U.S. Veterans, animal shelters, women’s health…you name it. GirlClutch is giving back to the community. I’d love to be able to make a huge impact on the lives of those who need help. But it takes help, volunteers and teamwork! “Teamwork makes the dream work!”

You may recognize this photo as a viral Facebook and Instagram sensation which features none other than, you guessed it, Christin Voros and Kimiko Donahue.

You may recognize this photo as a viral Facebook and Instagram sensation which features none other than, you guessed it, Christin Voros and Kimiko Donahue.

MI: What other organizations are you involved in?

CV: Right now, just GirlClutch. I also attend Femmewalla, an all-girl track day at Chuckwalla Valley Raceway, benefitting The Unforgettables Foundation, every year. But there is definitely room for growth. 😉

MI: How many tattoos do you have? 

CV: I think 14, if you count my sleeve by its individual pieces, 6 if you count my sleeve as one tattoo. I have gotten work done at Body Temple and About Face (both of which are in Oceanside), Chris at Absolute Tattoo in Claremont (though he’s not there anymore), Robia at Two Faced Tattoo in Fallbrook, Gary at Ace Tattoo in Ocean Beach, and Arnie at Electric Tiger Tattoo in North Park, who has tattooed the most real estate on me.

MI: Which one is your favorite tattoo? 

CV: As most of my tattoos have meaning and a story behind them, it’s hard to pick between my Okinawan folk dancer tattoo and my Phoenix; both are on the outside of my sleeve. The Okinawan folk dancer represents the fact that I’m half-Okinawan and there is something special about Okinawa that makes me feel real strong emotions and homesickness. I think the culture and history is beautiful. I have the Phoenix because it represents the beauty, strength, passion and delicacy of Jesus’s love for me, as well as my own resurrection out of depression and thoughts of suicide.

MI: Have any ideas in mind for future tattoos? 

CV: I follow an artist on IG out of Austin, TX, by the name of Andrés Acosta (@acostattoo) I would LOVE to get a motorcycle/rose hybrid tattoo by him. It’s on my bucket list 😉

 Most Recent GirlClutch Ride Footage

What is GirlClutch?

One of Oki’s Races at Chuck

MotoInked Highlight Reel: Ink and Iron Long Beach

This year, we attended the last Ink and Iron event at the Queen Mary in Long Beach, CA. Next year the event will be moving to the LA area and it will be bigger and better than ever before.

More than 200 tattoo artists attended the 2015 event and about 50 bands played on three stages including Pennywise and Killswitch Engage. The event featured burlesque and pole dancers, the Kustom Culture art gallery curated by Sullen Industries, tattoos and tattoo contests, custom cars and bikes, and much more. It was an amazing event. Please check out Skin Deep UK magazine for tattoo event coverage.

Tattooed Rock Bands of the Moto-ing Generation X

You can’t deny that music has taken its place amongst the riding population as a necessity for a good riding day. We pinch in our ear buds, start the bike and take off, often times with no destination. But freeway miles could be interminable without the aid of good tunes. The other day, on my way home from work, I switched my Pandora to Limp Bizkit, and it took me back to my high school and college days when my youth was fraught with opportunity, drama and a lot of motorcycling memories with friends who have either moved on, passed away or quit riding all together.

It amazes me how music has the power to pull you backward in time to one particular moment so you can recall every detail as long as you hear the lyrics on the radio. And then, just like magic, it stops as the song drops off the playlist comes back again. Here are some of the bands that got my blood pumping then and whose music still has the power to make me chant along at the top of my lungs like no one is listening.

Limp Bizkit

Limp-Bizkit-Ryan-Burchfield

Limp Bizkit is not just a band, but a family of tattoo lovers and artists. Tattoos are a staple to this band’s style. Formerly a tattoo artist, charismatic Fred Durst has always known how to get a crowd riled up with his appearance and outlandish style. He has multiple tattoos that have gained him recognition over the years. Guitarist, Wes Borland, is also an artist who designed many tattoos for Limp Bizkit’s drummer, John Otto.

Korn

kornjpg-80bb01049eaa5911

The rock band, Korn, has played at the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally on more than one occasion in 2009 and 2013, showing their true dedication to the biker culture. Johnathan Davis’s tattoos are controversial and have had people talking for years. Reginald Arvizu, who plays bass for Korn, is also fully tattooed. But judging on their following and the powerful nature of their music, they can say what they like, whether through ink or verse.

P.O.D.

pod2-

I’ve always admired this band for being down to earth. If you’ve ever seen MTV’s cribs back in the day, they walked through the house of P.O.D., which was a modest pad in San Diego. You’d think they were just the boys next door who played music once in a while. Whoda thunk they were grammy award nominees? Band members Sonny Sandoval, Marcos Curiel, Traa Daniels and Wuv Bernardo are all tattooed, humble and true to faith, which explains they’re so incredibly likable. They’re still going strong too. Their new album, Awakening, drops on August 21, 2015.

Papa Roach

paparoach

Papa Roach recently released a music video for the song “Face Everything and Rise” for their new album “F.E.A.R.” This video featured some fully tattooed motocross riders doing some pretty cool stuff. On the band’s website, their homepage features one of these MadMax-clad riders on their homepage. The band is also fully tattooed, but it’s their style and sound that’s addictive.

LinKin Park

linkin_park_wallpaper_4_by_designsbytopher-d4hjbgd

Linkin Park has always been one of my favorite bands. Pretty much any song they’ve ever made is worthy of a replay. I especially like how band member, Mike Shinoda, a.k.a. Fort Minor, hand painted and signed a custom Honda Fury, to promote his Glorious Excess (Dies) art show at the Japanese American Art Museum in 2009.

All Eyes on Josh Payne

Tattoo Artist Josh Payne

Tattoo Artist Josh Payne. Photo by Tavares Shirley.

If you don’t know who Josh Payne is, you’re missing out. His colorful and outlandish tattoo work is taking the industry by storm and we were lucky enough to run into him at the Ink and Iron show in Long Beach, CA.

Josh a veteran tattoo artist and owner of Ascend Gallery in Cortland, NY. He purchased his first tattoo equipment when he was just 16 years old and began tattooing in his mother’s kitchen. “I started as wrong as you possibly could,” he says. “I fixed a lot of shit as I got older.” Now, 13 years later, Josh has made quite a name for himself as a tattoo artist and his work has been turning heads on Instagram so fast; he’s been causing an online whiplash.

When we saw Josh at the show, he was tattooing a fantastical mad-eyed eagle on an eager client in the bowels of the Queen Mary. Despite the stuffy atmosphere, incessant questions and passing eyes, Josh was completely down-to-earth and approachable with a boisterous, infectious laugh. His carefree, go-getter personality makes sense since he’s a rider too. Josh owns a 1979 Harley Sportster, which has been transformed into an original bobber. Just like his tattoos, his motorcycle is a work of art. He may have sacrificed form for aesthetics though, as he says the bike is “back breaking” if ridden too long. “I pretty much just ride it around town, here and there. It’s a bar hopper,” he jokes.

Josh doesn't do small, simple pieces. He does big, colorful work that makes a statement. Josh did this piece at the Ink and Iron show in Long Beach, CA.

Josh doesn’t do small, simple pieces. He does big, colorful work that makes a statement. Josh did this piece at the Ink and Iron show in Long Beach, CA. Photo by Tavares Shirley.

Of course, anyone who can rump around town on a kidney-killer is bound to be brave. It’s this bravado that makes tattoo conventions fun for Josh, rather than daunting. “I love tattooing at conventions,” he says. “There’s something about being out here in the spotlight that I enjoy. It’s stupid fun getting to meet all the people that look up to you and know your work. Four or five years ago, I was that guy, getting meet the other dudes they I looked up to. It’s crazy and surreal that people know who I am.”

But conventions are not all fun and games for Josh. He averages 15-16 hour days at conventions, especially at Ink and Iron, since he was booked solid, mostly because of his presence on Instagram. “Instagram has been amazing for this industry,” he admits. His client for Sunday at the show was a kid who actually had one of Josh’s earlier tattoos and this tattoo was one of Josh’s viral sensations.

Josh's 1979 bobber.

Josh’s 1979 bobber.

For Josh, it has been a backward, humbling spiral. The more experience he gets, the more the pressure mounts. “Everybody gives me these rave reviews, saying that they love my work, and I still feel like I don’t know what I’m doing yet,” he says. “I feel like the more people that know who I am, the more scared I am that I need to work harder.”

Josh is one of those good-neighbor-type guys that is super easy to be around. That, paired with his artistic ability, makes him the ideal artist if you’re interested in getting some more complicated, bigger pieces of body art done. If you’re going to spend hours with an artist, you want to know they care and are as passionate about your tattoo as you are.

Josh is quite an inspiration because he doesn’t believe in coasting a short distance on natural ability, but rather throttling forward with a passion and desire to be better at his craft. “I feel like every day I just want to be better than I was yesterday,” he says. “I feel like I’m starting to figure out what I’m doing and just scratching my potential, so I’m excited to see what the next few years bring.”