The Muniac on the Tomahawk Trail, MI 10/01/2004

Hello everyone and welcome to After my 30 year absence from motorcycles, Jeannie and I purchased two Yamaha XT225 bikes in June of 2003. How we got involved with all this is a long story and perhaps told at another time. My motorcycle license (typed on card stock by an IBM electric typewriter) had expired back in the 70s and Jeannie never had one. I guess you could say we did the usual things to get back in the saddle, like downloading the Motorcycle Manual, taking the exam, practicing, taking the operator's test, etc. When it's all done you just get an "M" endorsement on your driver's license. I've got to say the riding test was much tougher than expected (a good thing) and two applicants before us laid their bikes down on the track and were disqualified on the spot. That really didn't inspire confidence. All the time spent on daily practices rewarded us. When our names were called, we passed on the first go around. At that point we were completely street legal.

The XT225 is a dual sport bike (we called them enduros back in the day). Over the next stretch of time our travels would make good use of this feature. From the beginning, our focus has been the XT225's trail riding capability. Jeannie and I started our first trail rides in October of 2003. Compared to many that makes us new kids on the trail riding scene. With that said, we laid our sleds down plenty in the woods, Jeannie broke a bone in her foot, we got banged up, busted lots of stuff on the bikes and had some close calls. Even so we both enjoyed the experience and adventure of it all. That enjoyment has lead us to practice more off-road and acquire as much trail riding skill as possible. All of this was intended to allow us access to outdoor adventures greater than what's here locally. Motorcycles, especially ones with off-road capabilities, create a unique opportunity to explore and experience terrain. Anyone that has run bikes (on and/or off road) over the years already knows this.

In years past, Jeannie and I have always had fun meeting people that enjoy similar activities. You just can't beat a good group to go out and enjoy things with. To that end I registered the domain in January 17, 2004 with the hopes of reaching out to other riders of the XT225. Like so many things in life, if you don't try it you drop dead never knowing. Some simple stupid internet research turned up XT225 information but nothing out there quite emphasized the "social" side of riding the way I envisioned it. Yahoo news groups with their heavy commercial and marketing interests just don't cut it for me. My hopes with were to fill this niche and connect the XT225 community together in unique ways. The center piece of is its BBS with thousands of posts being contributed by hundreds of bike owners. Contributors include complete newbies, those revisiting bike ownership after an absence from the sport, experienced riders, those increasing their fleet size with the XT225 and those replacing another bike with the XT225. Because versions of the bike exist worldwide our community has reached global proportions. My goal is to keep comfortable, simple, fun and effective. Often times in our high tech world with information overload everywhere, less is more. Officially is privately owned but in practice it belongs to its members. As such we don't need BIG business interests horning in with corporate business modeling, banner ads, spam, cookies, data mining, deceptive marketing tactics or any other mass marketing devices that pose distractions to the bike theme. That's not to say the site doesn't have a commercial ingredient. It most certainly does, in the form a relevant products made available by innovators, individuals and small business owners. I can live with this and I think everyone else can too. These people own bikes, ride them, understand the environment and love the sport just like everyone here. In short they are one of us and we all connect through our enjoyment of owning and operating a motorcycle.

I like "old school" values where people are polite, say please/thanks, respect rights, help out and generally get along with one another. Surprisingly I've had to do very little to create this ambiance. I think it's the XT225 bike itself. This motorcycle doesn't seem to draw the "outlaw" biker types and/or the rebellious young set. We don't need insults, cocky posts, junky content, venting arguments and filth here. If you want that there are plenty of places you can go on the web to get your fix. Repeated offenders will be banned from the site. Heretofore I've never had to do that to anyone.

Visitor numbers to have grown from a couple back in January 2004 to thousands per month. A google search on the keyword "XT225" will pop us out in the number 2 spot. The increase in the site's popularity helps us all and proves people enjoy visiting, contributing, meeting other bike owners and getting questions answered. The best indicator of this enjoyment is the return visit. Now the BBS is pretty much busy with posts 24x7 and just about any question gets answered quickly. The amount of knowledge we have as a group is now staggering! I'd be very hard pressed to think up something our group couldn't handle like another day at the office.

Critical mass for a web site is important. Our site is small enough to be comfortable, personal and friendly yet large enough to be a valuable resource with impact. As mentioned earlier, the social side of bike riding is important and it pleases me to see so many people making new friends. It's also nice to see riders actually hooking up with other riders for rides in and around their home towns. Some have even traveled to a neighboring state to score a ride. The internet, as great of a communication tool as it is, shouldn't take the place of saying hello, smiling, calling on the phone and inviting a hand shake. If you can get a ride in too then so much the better. My personal thanks to everyone that has helped make a great place to visit. Such a task is beyond any one person. I look forward to continued improvements to for which there is always room. In the meantime, be well, be safe and go ride!

Best - Muniac on 5/1/06