I’ve always loved motorcycles. I’m gonna say it stems from first picking up a Ghost Rider comic book (#35, “Death Race,” way back in early 1979, from the wall rack at the Readmore bookstore on Spring Mountain and Jones). Johnny Blaze, the Ghost Rider‘s secret identity, became my personal favorite hero and I proceeded to collect every appearance of the character in the Marvel universe up to that point. It was one of the first times I completed a project (thanks in no small part to AAron, who would get me back issues for birthday and bar Mitzvah presents from Tom and Mary and the Friendly Neighborhood Comic Book Store on Charleston and Valley View) and I think it certainly affected a lot of the rest of my life.
So when I was 19 or so, I traded m Fiat X-19 for a Kawasaki KZ-1000 (never having ridden a motorcycle before) and taught myself to ride, which was the start of my motorcycle love affair. Then, a few years later, when I was living in Los Angeles, I became friendly with my neighbors, the Marshes, who were anglophiles and fencers and, yes, bikers. We were having dinner together one night when they told me about a new project they were working on, a motorcycle magazine called LA Bike. I jokingly suggested they should have someone like Joe Bob Briggs to write biker film reviews. Cynthia, the editor, turned to me and said “Great idea!” then, after a pause, “wanna do it?”
Naturally, I said “sure” and sat down to figure out what to do. Somewhere along the line there, I created Skids Poppe, an ex-motorcycle gang member turned journalist who I figured would be up for the task.
And he was. He did a good job writing biker film reviews and then moved on to write other things for the magazine, even as it morphed, first into CA Bike, then US Bike, then Street Bike and by then I was gone.
Skids, however, was not. He went on to write for Scope Magazine in Vegas, VQ Magazine, and Iron Horse… he even recently wrote for David. Then, when it was time to write a bigger piece, Skids once again came to the rescue and wrote a full, 91,000 word mystery novel called Poppe Culture (unfortunately, there were issues with the book’s original publisher so hopefully it’ll soon be back in print/e-Versions and available for purchase and when it is, I’ll change this sentence).
So what’s the point of all this?
I recently found a bunch of old (old) writings from the LA Bike days and decided to post them at some point soon. It’s about 35 pieces or so, divided between Spokes (video reviews) and Poppe Charts… (general editorial essays). These are all about 25 years old and generally pretty bad. But hey, everyone starts somewhere, right?