Who am I and why the hell should you care about reading my blog?

Avid motorcyclist & freelance writer, specializing in motorcycles & motorcycle related topics, with a healthy dose of good humor, good vibes & general advice on simply being a good person.

Sunday, August 28, 2022

Our Janus Experience, Chapter 1

Chapter 1, Finding Janus 

Before I shut down my socials, I would occasionally see ads for Janus Motorcycles. At first glance, I thought, “hey that’s pretty cool looking” but, being a “Harley guy” for over 10 years, once I noticed that they were small displacement bikes, I just sort of overlooked them and went on with my mindless scrolling (hence the reason for my signing off). I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was overlooking something that was, potentially, going to be a game changer for me.

So, you may be asking, if I kept overlooking Janus while I was on social media, then how did I end up finding it again, after I signed off? Well, the funny thing is, I was actually doing some research for one of my recent blog posts- A Star is Born. You see, I like to pretend that I’m a real writer, so I do as much research as I can before I start writing. Maybe I’m hoping that one day, some big executive at a major motorcycle rag or, even better, a motorcycle company, will stumble upon my blog and want to hire me as a full time writer after I retire from my current job. Who knows. Either way, I realized that I had been writing a lot of posts about making good choices and dealing with stress, and sort of dropped the ball on writing about actual motorcycle related topics

Before I settled on the piece on Star Motorcycles, I looked up all the different companies I could think of, just to see if there was anything new and exciting out, or about to be released. The results were pretty lackluster, so I went with the story on Star. During my research though, I had come across the Janus website and, after finishing the Star post, I went back to the Janus site to spend a little more time there. 

As I perused their website, I started playing with the bike builder with my wife and over the next couple of hours, we configured several different combinations. I read several reviews and we watched enough YouTube videos to make our eyes hurt. The more we watched, configured and read about them, the more excited my wife got about this little motorcycle from Indiana. So much so, that by the end of it all, she was telling me to put a deposit down on one that day!

This was different

My wife has always been very supportive about my moto-addiction. When we were dating, I spent a lot of time working on my car and she was right there with me, pumping brakes, handing me wrenches, or simply sitting there, just keeping me company. Early on, she recognized my passion for old cars and motorcycles and she has been there with me, every step of the way. 

Even though I started on metric bikes, over the years I gravitated toward Harley-Davidsons and, after a few years of being back in the saddle, my motorcycles began to grow bigger and bigger in displacement with each bike I got. Several years ago, we saw the film Why We Ride  (if you haven't seen it, I highly recommend it). I didn't know it at the time, but after seeing it, my wife became inspired. A few years later, she mentioned that she was interested in possibly getting her own bike, so off we went to the local Harley-Davidson dealership! After looking at a few bikes, mainly Sportsters, she became disenchanted with the idea. The primary reason being that they were loud, heavy and more powerful than she was prepared to handle. A couple of years later, I ended up getting a good deal on an 883 and I tried teaching her to ride it, but again... the weight, power and noise was a little too much and after she dumped it in the yard, she was done with the idea again. 

When we were looking at the Janus though, something was different. She was excited about the size and the simplicity of the Halcyon. Her excitement was electric and it didn't take long before the desire to have her own motorcycle was rekindled. Initially, she just wanted me to get one, but after seeing the Janus Experience video of Terry and Mark, she became inspired! 

If you're not inclined to click the link, I'll briefly tell you that Terry and Mark aren't your typical "biker" types. They are regular people that, through Janus Motorcycles, became motorcyclists. That, to me, is amazing! I love that there is a motorcycle company that can inspire and encourage the love of motorcycling in people that, ordinarily, wouldn't give a second thought to riding. Don't get me wrong, I love my Harleys and I don't plan on getting rid of them at all, but the machines (and the culture) can be intimidating for someone that isn't already all-in on the idea of riding. For my wife, seeing Terry and Mark tell their story, was just the inspiration she needed to get on the site and start building her own. We gave it a couple of weeks for the "whim" of it to wear off, just to make sure that we were ready to commit to it and, in that time, we both configured multiple combinations of the Halcyon 250, trying to decide on what we actually wanted. We never even considered the other bikes- the Halcyon 250 was the one, without a doubt, that we both wanted. 

Go Fast, Don't Die

Now, I would be remiss if I told this story without, at the very least, mentioning another little piece of the puzzle that helped in this overall decision. If you've never heard of the "lifestyle brand" Go Fast Don't Die, do yourself a favor and click the link. I love this brand. They are, in a lot of ways, much like the folks at Janus- they are a small operation that is run by people who are absolutely passionate about the motorcycling culture. To the folks at GFDD, it's not about what you ride, your age, your background, your social status or where you're at in your personal journey- it's all about living the life that you are meant to live. I have a small collection of their merchandise because I love what they're doing and I love why they're doing it. In one of their weekly newsletters, they shared a story from one of their events where they were racing around on little mini-bikes. One woman, who was probably closer in age to my wife and I than to our sons, was riding this little Coleman mini-bike around and having the time of her life. Basically, the point of sharing the story was to remind people that speed was just a number, but going fast was a feeling

That pretty much tied directly in with the Why do we ride motorcycles video that the folks at Janus put out. For those of us who have always had the passion for riding, when we started out, we didn't ride big, 800 pound motorcycles. We started out on small, lightweight machines, most of which had knobby tires and were basic enough that we could work on them ourselves. So why then, should we limit that experience based on our age, or station in life? Why do we think that, once we enter adulthood, we have to conform to some unspoken rule about riding motorcycles? Why do we think that we can't enter this lifestyle unless we have years of riding under our belts and have a big V-twin engine in our garage? When did we get conditioned to believe that being a motorcyclist meant that we had to become a "biker." And, most curiously, where did we get the notion that we had to hit a particular speed before we could have fun? The folks at GFDD hit the nail on the head- fast IS a feeling. It's not the number on the speedometer that exhilarates you, it's the feeling that you get as it relates to what you're doing. 

The small size of the Janus engine, and the top speed being 70 mph became less significant the more we both talked about it and realized how we were planning on using these machines. We are planning on riding them exactly as they were intended to be ridden- along the backroads and beachfront drives, through the twisting country roads and down to our favorite coffee spots. 

The next step

After everything, my wife and I made the decision to get in touch with Mitch McLane at Janus and start the process of Janus ownership. The only delays we've had so far have been on our part because we have both been extremely busy at our respective jobs. Mitch was awesome and got our orders processed quickly and easily, then sent our orders to Kate Snyder for processing. Last week, Kate sent us our respective build sheets to review and sign off on, and now we're just waiting to get our paperwork. That will bring us to the next step which is, according to this video, our orders being sent to the production team! 

Hopefully, we'll get that next week... stay tuned!