Episode 40, in which Jack Riepe promises New Jersey is safe

It’s the holidays, which usually means everybody’s in a good mood. Not so much for one of our listeners, who was kind enough to write in and tell me … well, you can hear for yourself in our first ever Listener Letter Feature in Episode 40.  I decided to follow up Listener Letter #1 with another Listener Letter (we’ll call it #2) in the same episode, but that one is highly informative; the text of that email and an illustrative screen shot are below. I offer a sincere thank you to Michael Ignatowicz for not only listening to the show, but for taking the time to educate me in a constructive way and clear up something I talked about on the show. (By the way, the music under Listener Letter #1 is “Smooth Lovin” by Kevin MacLeod.)


Hi… I really enjoy the diversity of topics that you explore in your podcasts. I also appreciate the candid, self deprecating style in how you put yourself out there. You readily admit what you know, what you don’t know, and what you’d like to learn more about.

I want to offer a bit of constructive feedback on how you discussed Harley’s Q3 earnings in podcast 36. I think it came off as somewhat confusing to the average listener.

When most companies talk about Sales and Revenues, those terms are interchangeable. In Harley’s earnings release, Sales means “unit sales” (# of units) and revenue is the dollar amount resulting from this sales. In the podcast, if you said “# of units” or “unit sales” when talking about sales, it would have been clearer.

The exhibit below from the Q3 earnings release provides some interesting facts about the product mix. Harley shipped 7,000 more motorcycles in Q3 2018 than in the same quarter in 2017. For the 9 month period, shipments are down year over year except for the Touring bike category. Shipping 7,000 more bikes in Q3 when unit sales are down roughly 5,000 bikes during the same period of time could mean that H-D is merely bulking up dealer inventories, but the bikes aren’t selling.

Now, about this episode: I know these discussions from the MOA rally last summer are a little hard to listen to, but this one is well worth the effort. Jack Riepe is a friend and author. I almost say humorist, but I’m not entirely sure he’s so much trying to be funny as he is trying to portray accurately the insanity that is the event timeline of his life.

You can check out his website at JackRiepe.com, which is where you can order his books, including Conversations With a Motorcycle and Motorcycles Speak Louder Than Words. These are both excellent, fun books to read – even if you don’t love motorcycles. I recommend them to anybody who loves motorcycle stories, coarse (at times) humor and the self-deprecating writing stylings of a cigar-chomping, whisky-drinking, K-bike-riding near-madman. I’m not just saying this because I was able to read Motorcycles Speak Louder Than Words ahead of its publication for the purposes of writing a review, either. I truly enjoyed the book. Both of them, actually.

You’ll hear in the discussion I had with Jack how much fun we had, provided you can get past the foul language and references to … non-traditional sex workers. Along the way, we also talked about Jack’s homeland, the smokestack-filled expanses of New Jersey – plus the other parts of New Jersey as well, which he swears are not also filled with smokestacks. Frankly, I’m not sure if I believe him, but I wasn’t going to call the man a liar to his face in front of a crowd of people.

In The News, we take a look at speculation that KTM may be looking to buy Ducati from beleaguered Volkswagen AG; of course, nobody knows for sure if that will happen until it happens. If you so desire, you can read the original German-language interview with KTM CEO Stefan Pierer; my German skills are super rusty so I had to keep digging around until I found an article in English that explained it. World Superbike announced two things recently, 1) a revamp of the typical weekend schedule, and 2) their return to Laguna Seca in Monterey, California. Good news if you live within a few hundred miles of central California!

After that was news about two recent studies affecting motorcyclists, “Allocating Attention to Detect Motorcycles” from Australia and “Neck Brace Effectiveness Case Study” from Michigan.  Wrapping things up this time around, it seems the Rolling Thunder parade/ride in Washington, D.C., every Memorial Day weekend is coming to a close after 32 years, which seems apropos in a world where Harley-Davidson’s sales estimates for the year continue to fall.

There are a lot of things competing for your attention these days. I hesitate to add any more to your list, but it would be remiss of me not to mention my other (new) podcast, 200 Miles Before Breakfast(which unlike CTH is definitely all about BMW riders), as well as a couple of video channels as well, namely Nicht Uber Max (tech videos) and Motorcycle Test Kitchen! (product and accessory reviews plus recipes every now and again, including this amazing cranberry sauce recipe just in time for the holidays). Please swing by, subscribe, comment, review and enjoy.

Have a great holiday everywhere around the world and thank you – THANK YOU! – for listening to Chasing the Horizon, a podcast by, for and about motorcyclists. See you out there somewhere on the road – or off it! Ride safe.