A distilled history lesson of how we got here…
Volume 1 – The Prequel
Summer 1996 to Summer 2002
I started riding motorcycles in 1996 here in Washington, yet it was the summer of 2002 when my perception about riding changed. After purchasing a new motorcycle in May of 2002, I was looking forward to the upcoming summer because now I had a good reason to skip class. I was a student attending Washington State University in Pullman, WA, and the summer of 2002 was spent riding motorcycles every opportunity. I made time for any motorcycle ride I could discover, and I was always trying to meet every motorcycle rider. I met Jason Huston (mcjunky) on the side of the road, as he stopped to put his wet weather gear on, and we were the only two sportbikes who joined a pack of BMW sport tourers, riding the entire day in the downpouring rain.
Next came the WSU Motorcycle Club, which was created and registered with WSU as an official club organization. We used the club as a tool to meet up with other students who rode motorcycles. The club became very popular, with several of us riding nonstop – Travis Hudon (wsurc51), Brian Kopek (brikwsu), DJ Maclean (Badoogas), Chuck Cassius (r6fireman1996), Jess Cisco (ninjazx10rida), Bill Anderson (Bill Anderson), and Brian Neely (speedbump).
In those days, the problem was getting everyone on the same page for a ride. You could phone 10+ people to plan a ride at 9:00, and when a few people couldn’t make it until 10:00, we had to call all 10+ people back to let them know of the time change. After the ride, it was always a hassle to email everyone any pictures from the ride – everyone wanted to see them but not everyone would get them. Needless to say, an online community would have made life easier.
When everyone graduated from college, we all went our separate ways. The WSU Motorcycle Club popularity quickly dissolved, and any level of organizing rides went with it.
After the summer of 2002, I met Jeff Gramling (Guff) at Eastern Washington University in Cheney, WA. I wanted to use my experience with the WSU Motorcycle Club to make something similar happen for EWU.
We applied to become an officially recognized student club, and we were one signature short of making it happen. When the winter season came, we decided to wait until a later time to try something, especially since no one would be riding motorcycles in Eastern Washington over the winter months.
After a hiatus of life, in the winter of 2004, Jeff and I stumbled back to the idea of starting a motorcycle club for EWU. This time around, we helped another group start the process, and it became a small, unorganized, completely dysfunctional EWU Motorcycle Club – which only amounted to one BBQ in the rain, which we did ride to with Ramona Bowman (crazylady).
While we were between life and school, our time was spent riding as much as possible. I tried to start a local online community, through a Yahoo EWU Group, but it was never used.
It occurred to me the EWU Motorcycle Club would ultimately have the same fate as the WSU Motorcycle Club. Every rider who was in school was going to graduate, and every rider had different ideas of fun when it came to motorcycle riding.
By this time, I was very active in several Internet online forums, yet these communities were specific to the makes and models of my motorcycle. I was not involved with anything regional for Eastern Washington, which led me to thinking about making something that would cater to Washington motorcycle riders. I felt if everyone graduated and moved off to the various areas around the state, we could have one umbrella site to still communicate.
On February 23, 2004, I conceived the idea of Washington Riders, and it sat dormant with no plan on when to start using it or when to build a community around it.
Volume 2 – The Circumquel
When I think of the summer of 2004, it was spent riding, riding, and riding. That’s all we did. I had left Pullman, was living in Spokane, and I still stayed in contact with many of the area riders from college. The barely used EWU Yahoo group was still online, which introduced me to Eric Staggs (Fighterama) and Brian Walters (mvbrian). Of all the motorcycle group rides I did that summer, it was meeting a local Spokane motorcycle chapter called R2X that changed things.
After riding with R2X, the idea for a website came up and I created an online community for the R2X group. The R2X rides and riders were awesome! While R2X was focused on being a local group of riders, Jeff and I were still interested in doing a website for motorcycle riders in the entire Washington state. The R2X riders were amazingly fun, I had so much fun riding, and I spent considerable amount of time building a website and an online forum community to help with the vision and intent of R2X.
Building upon that experience, I felt it was the time to start something up of my own. Using my own resources on every level, I started to work on the a new web project and the Washington Riders community went live on September 28, 2004, with Jeff Gramling (Guff), Jafar Fallahi (Jafar), and JR Reyes (jezterr) coming onboard to start this new community.
Times were very rough trying to get the Washington Riders community active. We spent the first couple months telling everyone we rode with in college. At the Friday opening of the 2004 Cycle World International Motorcycle Show in Seattle, I stood in the rain and handed out over 1500 paper flyers to everyone coming into the show, with only 1 person eventually signing up afterward. It was a very difficult time starting a motorcycle forum during the winter months.
During the 2005 riding season, activity on the Washington Riders community had been picking up immensely. It become apparent that we needed to add Oregon and Idaho regional sections to the community because many of our rides/riders were branching out into nearby states – Eastern Washington riders were constantly riding in Idaho, and then John Byrne (Johnny-B) moved to Southern Oregon and pushed the idea of giving Oregon a presence on Washington Riders.
Idaho Riders was conceived on June 1, 2005, and Oregon Riders was conceived the next day on June 2, 2005.
Initially, Oregon and Idaho were added as motorcycling clubs within the Washington Riders community, however I wanted to eventually give them designated sections, allowing the three state regions to be underneath one Pacific Northwest site. And with that, the idea for PNW Riders was conceived on June 28, 2005.
Less than a year after Washington Riders was created, I spent the entire Thanksgiving week working on a major overhaul to the forum, migrating the site to a new server, and PNW Riders went live giving Washington, Oregon, and Idaho equal representation under one regional site.
Volume 3 – The Sequel
While PNW Riders was growing and evolving as a community, there had been discussions about getting away from the term “rider” and putting more focus on “motorcycle” because that was the common term that brought riders together. The idea for PNW Moto was conceived on May 30, 2007 and PNW Motorcycles was conceived the next day on May 31, 2007.
Summer 2015 to Winter 2016
Due to some unfortunate circumstances, PNW Riders devolved into a shadow of its former self, and a collective decision was made to retire involvement with the PNW Riders community.
Moving forward with something fresh and new, and taking the necessary time to completely rethink everything that goes into a community, PNW Moto went live on January 20, 2016.
To be continued…