What’s There Really To Complain About?
[dropcap]A[/dropcap]fter spending close to 10 days last month in Asia visiting the Taiwan International Motorcycle Industry Show in Taipei and then HJC Helmets’ Vietnam factory in Hanoi, I am pretty tired. Not from the show or the factory tour, but from the nearly 60 hours of flying time to get there and back. Of course, if you think about it, complaining about flying halfway around world and back in that short amount of time is a little ridiculous. We should be pinching ourselves for being alive in a time where we can sit in a plane going roughly 500 mph while watching movies or reading a book! Back in the days of horse and buggies, it took 60 hours just to get to the next state!
I say it’s progress that we can complain about the luxuries we have today, such as slow WiFi… these are first-world problems. In other parts of the world, they are growing fast – double-digit-type fast, and starting to reap some rewards from their new economies.
After traveling so far and seeing so many different perspectives of the industry, it is clear that motorcycles are universally popular with passionate riders, just like we have here in the U.S., only with a twist. Riders in Asia are commuting to work daily on a scooter or in some cases a motorcycle. And because they ride so much of the time, they are more attuned to their surroundings than we are. Riders have crazy traffic they have to maneuver through like Supercross riders going for the holeshot! Hop on a train, however, and just about everyone is relaxed and texting on their smart phone. In fact, Taipei offers free WiFi if you sign up for an account. I didn’t learn this fact until the end of the trip, but good to know for future visits.
With the aging of the baby boomer generation, we need to recruit more young people into motorcycling – we’re talking millennials. I recently read a report that said millennials have surpassed boomers as the biggest percentage of Americans. This is very significant and will likely affect the industry for the next 40-50 years from the apparel you stock to the motorcycles you sell (See Robin Hartfiel’s story, New Faces of Motorcycling, on page 24).
I would like to thank the folks at TAITRA and HJC for their kind and generous hospitality during my travels.