In This Issue
when roadracer randy renfrow lost his thumb in a crash, he had his big toe grafted in its place. Belgian off-road racer Gaston Rahier was not a tall man. At 5-foot5, he had to launch his BMW rally bike by running alongside it, but he won the Dakar all the same. Bessie Stringfield started adventuring on motorcycles at 19 by tossing a penny at a map and riding where it landed. By the 1930s, she was crossing the country solo on her Harley-davidson, a young black woman on the road in a country that wouldn’t guarantee her the right to vote for another 30 years.
Acts of endurance separate motorcyclists from common travelers. A thousand miles in the car? You might measure it in podcasts. On a bike, it’s enough to push Lily Brooks-dalton to the edge as she attempts an Iron Butt ride, on page 70. Every motorcyclist learns that our machines have demands, and their ability to perform requires we improve our own. At the highest levels of competition, they even dictate the shape of our bodies, which we investigate on page 46. And they extract a toll, too, as we learned after visiting racing icon Malcolm Smith on page 62.
But they reward and inspire us too. Whether you’re doing hard time, like the author of Megaphone on page 98, or hard miles like Andrew Oldar, who tackled one of the toughest roads in the United States, our shared sport provides no shortage of new stories. That’s why our magazine has endured since 1912, has remained important to us through depressions, recessions, and world wars. It’s because every ride exposes us to the world, and because motorcycles make endurance riders out of every one of us.