By Brian Price
There is still some great motorcycle journalism left, or, HEY check out UPSHIFT Magazine
If you're like us, you pine away for the glory days of moto-journalism. In other words, Cycle magazine. That magazine had a unique hook unrelated to any specific genre, such as tests, technical info, racing or travel. Cycle magazines skill was that it was riveting. It was incredibly written, thought provoking, and fantastic to look at....once you picked it up, you didn't want to put it down.
Much of today's moto-journalism is simplistic and pathetically uncreative. Reading email is more interesting. But, what really disturbs me is the ongoing ruse that everyone seems to be participating in; that the crap being shoveled at us, and the people shoveling it, are worthy of their titles. They are not. On balance, I know media is hard right now. But filling it up with talentless people and tired ideas is not working. It just means you have a hard job, and you suck at it.
A while back, an industry colleague from the motocross side of the business named Simon Cudby launched a new Adventure-slanted magazine, UPSHIFT . If you do not know Mr. Cudby, he is a superlative photographer. Simon is also very well connected in the motocross world, so connected that you cannot picture one without the other. Simon is a rock star in motocross.
When UPSHIFT launched, I confess I rolled my eyes. My prediction was that this would be another example of someone from some other part of the industry, in this case motocross, trying to be an ADV magazine, and sucking badly at it. You know, Flatbills in the backcountry and all. Being so tired of that, I scoped UPSHIFT through a very critical eye. It has plenty of ads, and some MX faux pas, like Ping's ridiculous red MX boots in a CRF1000 video, which I immediately went at them online for. You see, this little segment of the sport is one of the few remaining parts that have not been turned into sugary bubble gum by the industry, and I am protective of it.
But I was wrong. Somewhere a few issues in, UPSHIFT hit a stride. It has a commercial tinge to it, but that is drowned out by some really good writing, and absolutely stunning photography. As good as the photography is, and it is, there is something even better: they are writing big stories. UPSHIFT is actually working at it, hard, and their results seem to indicate they get it, and they are having fun at it.
UPSHIFT has travel stories on trips to places we all wish to go. Iceland, Mongolia, South America, India, Tour of Idaho, etc. plus a lot of other stuff that is non-formulaic, and really interesting.
The real heart of the magazine is, of course, the photography. Motorcycles of all kinds are a great subject, and Simon has proven that. But there is something about adventure riding, more than racing or any other part of the sport, that is more soul-stirring. Great ADV photography stops time, blocks out your other thoughts, and makes you wish you were there, in the photo.
UPSHIFT nails that.
- Brian Price