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When I was asked to take over the Society reins last September, I was thankful for the opportunity and honored for being trusted with the leadership of an organization that was found on passion and enthusiasm over 33 years ago. I have big shoes to fill! Don Lawson has done a fantastic job in managing the club for over 15 years years so I have my work cut out for me.
From my end, here’s what I have in mind for the Society in the future. First, we need a bigger online presence to expand our lines of communication. I have already started that with this new website, a simple design that will allow visitors to stay informed of the Society’s activity and interact with other members and with our ever growing Facebook page that generates a great deal of traffic with 650 owners from all over the world posting photos and sharing technical tips. The Facebook Society page is a closed group, meaning it requires my approval before you can have access to it. This is necessary to keep the true to the Society’s spirit avoiding diluting it into a general motorcycle space. I get about 5-8 requests a day, mostly people with legitimate interest in the XS lineage but there are always a few questionable people with questionable motives for joining in.
Second, I would like to grow our membership base in a national level by promoting the Society and introducing it to a new group of people. The newfound general interest for café racers, bobbers and anything out of ordinary, sprung a whole new generation of artists – mostly youngsters – that are building all kinds of bikes using the XS650 engine, some breathtakingly beautiful, others a bit on the weird side. Regardless, they are carving these noisy sculptures with TIG, MIG and that twin engine that we never get tired of listening and they are showing them off at the many rallies and gatherings that have been popping all over the US. Fall/Winter is Florida’s riding season and we already had 3 major classic-café shows with 4 more scheduled for January and February. Bringing this new generation into the Society will further diversify our roster and bring some color (and interesting motorcycles!) to our rides and rallies.
With life becoming more online, we need to continue to move on the same direction or face extinction. In a few weeks, the members-only area will be ready allowing visitors to read the newsletter online or download and print at home. This will not only allow us more flexibility in assembling and publishing the newsletter but also giving readers the choice of only printing what they want (cam timing tips!). For now, a hard copy of the newsletter will continue to be mailed to members but it that will optional in the future.
There are many ways you can reach me, via the Society’s Facebook page, email (firstname.lastname@example.org), or by simply commenting any posting here. Looking forward to 2014 and many more miles!