OddBike's USA Tour
My name is Jason Cormier, and I am the Editor of Odd-Bike.com, an independent website that specializes in the profiling of rare and unusual motorcycles.
I've long been a passionate motorcycle rider and freelance writer, and OddBike is the culmination of my passions and skills as well as an archive of some of the rarest, most unusual and fascinating two-wheeled machines that have ever put rubber to pavement. As I am a historian by education and a mechanic by hobby, I pride myself in writing detailed profiles that detail the historical context, cultural impact, and technical information of these interesting motorcycles.
I maintain OddBike in my spare time as a non-profit website that is free of sponsorship or advertising. I believe this allows me to write without hindrance and without anyone to answer to, and my articles reflect this freedom. However for certain (more ambitious) projects I require funding from you, my readers and supporters.
This campaign is, at its basis, to fund my journey by motorcycle this October 2013 from my home in Montreal, Quebec, Canada to visit several key locations in the Southern United States, for the purpose of collecting information, interviews and photographs to use in at least three upcoming OddBike features. These features will include:
- A visit to the Motus Motorcycles factory in Birmingham, Alabama.
- A stop at the Barber Motorsports Museum in Birmingham to cover the 9th annual Barber Vintage Festival.
- A visit to Bienville Studios in New Orleans, Louisiana to interview motorcycle designer JT Nesbitt about his upcoming Bienville Legacy project.
- NEW A visit to the Wheels Through Time Museum in Waynesville (Maggie) North Carolina to profile and photograph the 1917 Traub V-Twin.
This journey will be undertaken in mid-October 2013 and will take approximately two weeks, round trip. I will be using my personal 1997 Ducati 916 to perform the journey. It may not be the most appropriate touring rig, but it has served me well over the years and I wouldn't do it on anything else.
I will maintain a travelogue of the journey on the OddBike Facebook page, with the intent of eventually writing a detailed ride report.
This journey is more than a simple trip across the USA, it's an opportunity for OddBike to grow by showcasing several unique independent motorcycle projects that have been under-represented in the traditional motorcycle media. I aim to correct that with my own blend of intelligent technical analysis and insight into motorcycle history and design. And I feel the best way to do this is to meet with the individuals in person and examine their projects first-hand.
What I Need
To complete this tour I require funding for the following expenses:
- Some basic touring gear and maintenance to prepare the 916 for the journey
It really is that simple. I am only seeking the funding I need to complete this trip, which will be a round trip of approximately 5000kms over a period of two weeks.
Other Ways to Help
If you can't contribute monetarily, I would greatly appreciate if you shared my campaign and OddBike via social media, and of course I encourage you to read my writing and contribute your opinions on Facebook and the OddBike website.
I am also seeking accommodations along my route to keep expenses to a minimum - if you have a couch and a safe place to park my bike, please get in touch with me and we can discuss.
September 3rd Update
Update on the OddBike USA Tour Campaign
I want to personally thank everyone that has supported, shared and/or contributed to the OddBike USA Tour. I’m really psyched up about this trip and the enthusiasm I’ve gotten from my followers and riding buddies has been great. However we are still a way off from the goal, so I wanted to clarify some details and better explain what my intentions are with this campaign (and what it represents for OddBike’s future).
As I would expect with any campaign that asks strangers to contribute money, I have received negative feedback. I’m a reasonable man so I can completely understand why some may have some hesitation, but I think in general the poor feedback I’ve gotten is due to a lack of understanding more than any ill will.
Several months ago I was discussing the future of OddBike with a follower who made an interesting suggestion – keep OddBike independent and free of sponsors, but ask the readers to fund topics directly. His idea was to campaign for a specific goal – “ I need X dollars to write an article on Motorcycle Y”. I put the idea in the back of my mind.
Last month I was invited to Barber by that same follower. He suggested that I visit several of the manufacturers in the area (those being Motus, Confederate, and Bienville) to profile them in my own inimitable style. He reminded me of the crowd sourcing idea, and gave me a verbal kick in the ass to quit dreaming and start doing.
Thus began the OddBike USA Tour. It was a spur of the moment idea that has the opportunity to make myself known to several independent American marques - brands who have been neglected by the traditional media, but who deserve to be covered in depth. Right up my alley. It also allows me to take photographs that I can use for future publication, an important thing when you want to get serious about writing – no matter how good your writing is everyone wants unique, high-quality images.
I could have easily just campaigned for a plane ticket and a couple of nights at a hotel, doing everything in three or four days. But that’s boring. That’s what a traditional motorcycle journalist would do. I’m not a traditional journalist. And I wanted to make it an adventure, a journey with its own perils and challenges. I decided I would do it on my Ducati 916, which is my only vehicle, spending two weeks on the road and covering over 5000 kms. To keep it cheap and interesting, I’m camping most of the journey, with a few couches to crash on along the way.
Is it a vacation? Can’t say it isn’t. I am taking two weeks off work to jump in the saddle and blast across the USA. But I will be working the whole way. When I’m not riding, I will be visiting stops, taking pictures, conducting interviews, and of course writing. I hope that the information I gather on this journey will be enough to write at least 3 top-notch articles with my own pictures to accompany them, maybe as many as 5 or 6 if all goes well – and that doesn’t include the in-depth ride report I’m working on.
In the interest of full disclosure here is a break down of the projected expenses:
- Total funding amount – 2000$
- Net after Indiegogo fees – 1800$
Accommodations (camping fees) 300-400$
Gear (specifically: luggage, tent, sleeping bag, and a few
odds and ends to get the bike prepped) ~300$
Thus my high estimate is 1600$, plus another 200-odd bucks of “oh shit” money, not including the 5-ish percent I’ll lose converting CAD to USD.
I was hoping to setup some incentives to donate – namely mugs and T-shirts – but quickly discovered that I couldn’t afford to custom print anything in small quantities, never mind the exorbitant Canadian shipping rates to send stuff around the world. If I were printing 50-100 shirts at a time, it would be worth it. But not when I am printing 10 or 15. Not to say I won’t get some OddBike items lined up for future events and giveaways, but this time around it would just be eating into my trip budget.
That being said, feel free to ignore the “perks” on the Indiegogo site when deciding your contribution. Donate 5$, 10$, or whatever you please. No need to stick to the “guidelines”, and every little bit helps. I appreciate every contribution no matter how modest.
Please remember that I run OddBike free of sponsorship and advertising. I work full time in another, unrelated industry and work on OddBike, solo, in my free time. I write and publish my work for free, and make no money off OddBike (full disclosure – I have sold one article for a whopping 40$ but otherwise have provided all my articles free of charge). This campaign is the beginning of a new concept where you, my readers and my followers, will directly fund my writing. That way I only have to answer to you, not to some corporate sponsor. Independence and free opinion is what sets OddBike apart, and it’s what I aim to maintain. But for more ambitious projects, I need your help – and rest assured the OddBike USA Tour will not be the last such endeavour, there are still many weird, rare and odd motorcycles out there that I hope to profile with your help.
Thanks again and I look forward to hitting the road in October.