The best aspect of motorcycles is, of course, riding them. The next best is hearing stories about the people who ride them and those who build them. 

The tales from builders and restorers fascinate me. Not much of a mechanic myself (If I have a crescent wrench, then I don’t need an SAE and a metric set, do I?), I’ve been gaining a greater appreciation for the knowledge and expertise of those who can do what I cannot. 

I’m spellbound by experts who can identify a headlight sitting on a shelf as a 1920s Indian piece or take a crusty old bike and restore it to concours levels of quality. I’m reminded of past AR stories about guys like restoration expert Steve Huntzinger (Dec. 2022) and the inimitable Dale Walksler (May 2023) from the wonderful Wheels Through Time Museum (Jan. 2023). 

Related: Wheels Through Time Museum: Time Travel Does Exist

Recently, I was captivated by the story about Jesse Swickard, who got bored during the Covid lockdowns and rather than binge-watching Netflix on the couch, decided to build a custom chopper from an empty frame. 

Oddly, I find parallels between these technicians and my job. 

As a writer, I start from scratch and need to devise a path from a blank page to something that will be worthy of our readers’ attention. As an editor, I sometimes begin with a barn-find analog, a story from a contributor with excellent bones that needs only a few new parts and a bit of polishing to be spectacular. And then there are the submissions that are missing several components and require a full rebuild to avoid being lost to history. 

While I may never be capable of restoring a bike or building one from the frame up, I’d like to think the experience gained from my duties at the helm of AR might be edging me closer. Now where did I put that crescent wrench…

Rubber-Side Down Building Stories Evans Brasfield
I was fortunate to see Evans Brasfield at motorcycle events a few times this year. His hearty and rollicking guffaws will forever resonate in my ears.

Evans Brasfield 

April 1, 1962 – Sept. 13, 2023

As motorcyclists, we never want to hear about the death of a fellow rider, but I feel it’s my duty to a friend to publicly acknowledge the recent loss of Evans Brasfield. Evans was a motojournalist for nearly 30 years and was perhaps best known among AR readers as an editor for Motorcycle Cruiser magazine. 

We first met in 1997 when I joined him on my first pro photoshoot, and his easygoing nature was much appreciated by this rookie. Our paths would cross through the years at various events, and I was always impressed by his kindness and authenticity. 

While most motojournalists put on airs to present themselves as exceedingly wise and cool characters, Evans Brasfield had an atypical lack of pretense. His published words always rang true, and he was also an excellent photographer. A decade ago when I was editor-in-chief at and needed to hire a new staffer, I readily chose Evans for the job. His diligence and diplomacy earned him my EIC chair when I departed in 2017. 

On Sept. 13, 2023, Evans was riding home on a canyon road after a photoshoot and didn’t make it back to his wife, Karin, and his beloved teenaged girls. Details are scant, but it appears that a car ran wide in a corner and veered into Evans’ path, extinguishing the light from one of the best humans in an industry chockful of admirable people. Grief was felt by everyone who ever knew him. 

“Life is a gift we shouldn’t squander,” Evans once wrote, “either by frivolous risk or excessive avoidance of it.”

Godspeed, my friend.

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