By Ryan Snelson - 1m
Originally printed in Motoveli Issue 1
Somewhere up the street, circa 1986, I crashed a minibike into the curb and flipped over the handlebars. I was 7 or maybe 10, and had no idea what I was doing. What happened? How did I get here so fast? All I knew for sure was that I needed to go again.
Scraped and bruised, I pulled the pull start and got back on, this time coasting back down the street to the group of kids who were watching. One of the older kids owned the minibike, and he got mad that his bike appeared broken. I thought maybe the handlebars were just bent a little, but he pushed me, and so I pushed back—then we got into a mini fight. Later, the kid apologized, and we shook hands. Everything was fine—except now I was obsessed with motorcycles.
Riding continued through adolescence, where I pedaled bicycles around the neighborhood with friends, and jumped curbs along the way. At some point, it made sense to grab the point-and-shoot camera and a camcorder. Friends would jump over stuff on makeshift ramps, or see how long someone could pedal a wheelie. I learned photography as a result of shooting bicycles and dirtbikes— developing photos in a darkroom and editing riding videos with a VCR.
Ever since then, I became an obsessive documenter of riding. Back then, it was just about recording jumps and tricks to prove how big you went. Nowadays, it's the little things, like simply going for a ride and not dying. I take photos on and off the bike wherever I go. To me, even the smallest riding moments feel important and accomplished.
It's 2018 now, and I love and hate technology equally. I remember what it means to not be connected, but I also appreciate what being connected means now. As a designer, I’ve always wanted to do a proper motorcycle project. My initial thought was to invent an app or do something else with hardware. But, after a while, I realized that the problem isn’t about riding itself or finding new ways to help us ride better. The problem lies in capturing what happens after the ride.
There’s no shortage of unlimited free riding stuff online. We’re buried in candy content, and it's all jammed into social media competing for our likes and attention. Our culture now favors instant gratification, and uses our content as a commodity to power those platforms. But like Phife Dawg from A Tribe Called Quest once rapped, “Too much candy is no good, so now I’m closing the shop.”
Motoveli is a motorcycle magazine for people who love to ride. We’ll do what we always do—go riding, take pics, explore places, and talk about stuff. Some of these rides will inspire design experiments and long-form storytelling. The ride becomes the process of making the magazine, and vice versa. We’ll shoot quick and unfiltered with phones—everything is imperfect and black-and-white. The plan is to see what happens. The only rule is that the process of making this magazine can't interrupt the fun of riding.
My hope is that you will value the project enough to inspire future issues to be released three times a year—matching the three riding seasons in the Northeast. If you enjoy reading Motoveli, please consider supporting the project directly by buying issues or getting involved at motoveli.com.
I’m honored to know a community of riders and creators, and I’m thankful for their support and contributions to help make this premiere issue.
Thank you for reading.