The final bike in this week's ChopCult panhead trifecta is a machine that captivated me at last month's CustomBike show in Bavaria. Its builder was an elusive cat who failed to heed my repeated calls for more info, so these grainy, badly lit photos will have to speak for him. When English is your second language, sometimes not even Google can save you.
While vainly digging around for more info on Fiele and his stylish machine, I stumbled upon a fantastic cache of another man's knowledge about many things motorcycle-related—not just panheads. Lt. Jack "Force" is a military vet and amateur historian whose dedication to presenting the facts and opinions about bikes and life is good reading. Jack's spin on the MoCo post-WWII is thorough, and his story on the dream bike of my childhood, Yamaha's RD350, is also educational.
As you can imagine, the Googles come in handy when it's time to do research on people, places and machines. The deeper I wallow in this scene, however, the harder I find it to imagine how we survived without a search engine to move us. How many times per day does the average American dig for dirt on the information superhighway. My personal crumb trail on Google is massive, and includes assorted morsels I'd rather some people not know about. Suffice it to say I'm glad I learned how to empty my cache.
On the subject of browsers, there are many, and ChopCult works great with most of them. I haven't tried Google's Chrome browser yet, but one brainy player I know swears by it. Personally I'm a fan of Safari, but not everything I do on the web works as it should with Apple's browser. When this is the case, I switch to Firefox. This is the same tip I give to ChopCult readers who might be having difficulty with log-in, and it usually solves their problems.
As good as Google might be at finding things, nearly as much important stuff on the Internet gets lost. Things like subtlety, nuance and sarcasm, for instance. Billdozer and I extinguish several pissing matches in the IT sandlot every week, and most of these skirmishes are the result of insensitivity or ham-fisted communication skills. You can avoid such fallout by applying what I call "the bar" standard to your comments and threads. Before I click "send" I always ask myself, "Would I say these things to a man's face if we were sitting in a bar?" If the answer is no, I re-write in a way that reduces ambiguity and removes doubt. It's hard to apologize for being a dick after the fact, and Google makes it too easy for the stupid things we say and do to haunt us for eternity. Trust me on this one.