Missing Links

October 7, 2021 | By Mike Seate


History has  a strange way of disproving the latest trends. Take print magazine, for example. In this smartphone-obsessed nation, magazines are rapidly becoming relics of  a less hectic past and are vanishing faster than brains free of Internet influence. Ah, but the same used to be believed about vinyl records which have, some 30 years after being relegated to history’s dustbin, are suddenly treasured, sought-after cultural necessities. Being in the print magazine business, we’ve heard all sorts of unsolicited “advice” about finding the proper way forward, but for “Cafe Racer” continuing as we have for the past 14 years seems to be working just fine. In fact, one reader offered what’s proving prescient advice when he suggested that given time, enthusiast publications like ours will eventually become more popular than ever due the transient nature and lack of verifiable information in most online content.

He pointed us to England’s bustling magazine trade where, on average, newsstand copies of periodicals sell nearly four times the number as they do here in the U.S. The overseas thirst for printed motorcycle journalism seems so downright insatiable that copies of decades-old bike mags are now selling for outrageous sums. Such is the case of old copies of “Link
” the digest-size membership monthly once delivered to members of the cafe racer organization known as the 59 Club. This London-based church charity was the first to try and improve the public image of leather-clad motorcycle riders and the membership grew into the thousands during the peak of the original ton-up era. Today, the club soldiers on in London and a few other locales and copies of “link” are now considered cherished collector’s items among riders who weren’t even born when the streets around the club’s Paddington parish roared with the sounds of British motorcycle engines.

Frankly, we’re flattered to have sold completely out of several issues of “Cafe Racer” magazine over the years and like “Link” some early copies are now commanding silly money among collectors. Who knows- in a few years time, magazines both great and small may regain their rightful place in a world that just might grow tired of the Internet’s endless array of penis enlargement ads, vaccination misinformation and fake political news. Until then, thanks for keeping print alive.