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Archive for September 2010

Cycle News, R.I.P.

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It’s difficult to not be filled with both anger and sadness after getting the news from my former co-workers yesterday afternoon that the plug had been pulled on Cycle News and that its death was imminent. Anger because it shouldn’t have ended like this, sadness because it did.

But the weekly motorcycle publication that has been a part of my life since my family moved to America in 1971 is gone. I read Cycle News as a child, as a teenager my name could be found periodically in its pages for my racing exploits at South Bay Speedway in San Diego, and as a fresh-faced young man I took a job there. And it was within the hallowed walls of the then Cycle News offices on Signal Hill in Long Beach that I grew up and became a man. Up until last week, my two children, now adults at 18 and 21, had never known their father to work anywhere else.

I was told last night that I should feel vindicated with the publication going out of business just a week after they let me go as the editor after a 25-year run, but I don’t. I knew this day was coming. I just didn’t know it would come so quickly. When pushed to the point where I lost my temper on the way out the door last week, I predicted they’d be out of business in three weeks. I guess betting the under would have won someone some money.

I can sit here all day long and tell you how the company could have been saved, but what’s the point. You don’t hear people speak badly of the deceased in a eulogy and I’m not about to start the trend at Cycle News‘ funeral. The publication was like a good friend and the long list of people who worked there over my 25 years were like family members. Most went in different directions as time passed, but we were and always will be connected in some way through the times we spent at the smoky offices in Long Beach and the newer digs in Costa Mesa. And when I sit here and think about my times at CN, the good far outweigh the bad. And it is the memories of the people that still bring a smile to my face.

I wasn’t proud of every Cycle News that we printed, but I was proud of most of them. For the most part, the publication was put together each and every week by a staff that cared, a staff that often went above and beyond the call of duty to produce a newspaper that people liked, wanted and needed. And we normally did so without hearing much from the people above. Along the way we went to each other’s weddings, we saw each other’s children grow up and we even attended funerals together. We fought, we cried, we smiled and we celebrated together and through it all we produced our little publication that fed the needs of an industry. It was a family of people so big that old names and faces keep popping into my head as I sit here.

So where does it go from here? I’m not sure how these things work, but it concerns me. At this point I’m not sure I should give a damn, but I do. There’s a lot of history there… for every photo on a proof sheet that was chosen for publication and circled with a blue grease pencil, there are 35 other photos of equal importance. There are bound volumes of every issue ever printed, file drawers full of photos of heroes past and present. Of motorcycles from then and now. And I worry that whatever vulture that ultimately gets their hands on the remains won’t fully comprehend what it all means. I fret not for the things that will be saved, but for the things that will probably get trashed. I fear someone going through the wreckage who knows nothing of Dick Mann, of Giacomo Agostini, or of Kenny Roberts or Roger DeCoster.

I wanted to be a part of rehabiliating Cycle News, of bringing it back to life in a time much different from when it reached its zenith. But I was ulimately thwarted in my efforts and now it’s time to move on. I do so knowing that I gave it everything I had.

So as I sit here this morning and struggle with the loss of a friend, I know there are several others out there who are feeling the same. No matter how their time at Cycle News ended, and a lot ended badly, the little weekly motorcycle publication that could probably remains a bigger part of their lives than they may want to admit to.

It’s gone now, but it will never be forgotten.


Written by paulcarruthers1

September 1, 2010 at 2:20 pm

Posted in Uncategorized