Wednesday, February 2, 2011

-new hotbike japan-

i was stoked to see
the new hotbike japan which
features an article on our
cross country trip. they
used kens film ,no digital
and chris did a really cool
drawing for it. i wrote the
words below.

here are a few scans
from the article.

thanks gonz!

It’s hard to put a trip like this into words. Other people have tried to sum up our trip for me and have used labels like
“life changing”
“a hard time”
“a once in a lifetime opportunity”
and “the experience of a lifetime”,
I can’t simplify it into just a few words.
It was long fucking ride.

The crew consisted of Ken Nagahara on a 1968 BSA,
Chris Lindig on a 1969 Shovelhead, and myself (Max Schaaf) also on a 69 Shovelhead.
The objective was to ride from Oakland Ca. To Brooklyn
NY…. with the possibility of riding home, back to Oakland.

Everyday you wake up with nothing else to do but to keep riding. Pack your shit up, drink some of Chris’s campfire coffee and pray that your bike fires up. The bike leaves first, then your mind follows it down the road. You’re at it again, listening to the motor, watching the road ahead, checking over your friends’ bikes as they roll next to you. No talking, rolling towards a destination that feels a million miles away. Some times the “what ifs” consume you. There is a lot that could go wrong, an easy place to die for sure. But when faced with the little fuck-ups; flats, breakdowns, outta gas, or lost…. You just keep looking forward. Get me to the end of the day; get to where the road leads you. America is still beautiful, there’s lots of folks still down to talk.
“Where you boys coming from?”, was a question we answered everyday. On the way to Brooklyn I would answer that question like this,
“We are headed east until we hit the water.”
On the way home I would answer,
“Oakland Ca.”
Gas stops of course are mandatory. With our small tanks those stops happened about every hour and twenty minutes. I welcomed the stops. Fill up, lay down, drink a beer, soda, or coffee…. and just stop for a minute. It became clear fairly quickly that at these gas stations we were the locals’ captive audience. You can’t fight it and have to welcome the conversation that is placed upon you. It was one of my favorite things about the trip. People were friendly. Ken and I ran across two Native-American men outside
of Wyoming who stood and talked to us for about a half hour. They were excited for
us and shocked that we chose to ride these particular machines across the United States.
The word “freedom” was often spoken to us. Freedom is a powerful word, and I thought
of its true meaning often. I enjoyed the freedom from myself, the constant distraction of the road and all that lay before me. The everyday humdrum that had no choice other than to be ignored; food, sleep, and physical pain become secondary. Keeping your bike running with you on top of it was the primary objective. In the beginning we planned on the possibility of maybe only riding one way, the further we rode it became clear that this idea was an impossibility. So we rode the road home as well. Oakland Ca to Brooklyn, Ny and back to Oakland. About 7000 miles.
Now that I’m home I look back on the trip as a chapter in this amazing life that I cherish. Hopefully an experience I can soak up again. –MAX SCHAAF-


matt machine said...

a friend of mine just came back to oz from a stopover in japan and brought me a copy of it...i cant believe the quality of the mags there..!!! anyway was good to see you guys in it and those great shots and words...crazy trip.
max, hope your well mate...

Jerimiah smith said...

i bet theirs a thousand more amazing photos, i wanna see them all! It was great having you guys at the house, Micha speaks of you guys often..

antihero1972 said...

wow Max sounds like a life changing expierence!! ha,ha j/k I couldnt resist.

Liz said...

So cool to see the photos and hear the story. Glad you guys did that trip and came back safe.

Chris Saddler Sam said...

well done guys...
my compliments, once again!


hei max, i forgot...
how long did it take u, for the whole trip??

max schaaf said...

thanks all.
12 days to get there
with a pretty gnarly breakdown.
10 to get home with a couple fuck-ups
here and there.

Nick said...

We did it to BF2 and back, and you described it perfectly.

Anonymous said...


Paul said...

This is extremely well-written; poetic in that stream of consciousness way. Sorry to be a bit 'soft', but damn man...

... said...

Didnt look like you had a hard time putting the trip into words while reading it, damn good job.

John Copeland said...

well said my friend.

jbfrmca said...

nailed it.

Jeff said...

Beautiful... living the dream.

Thanks for all you do and thanks for remembering a couple of Texans.

Seth said...

Thanks for posting this. killer photos to ken! RAD

mindpill said...

very cool.....thanks. you are finding peace.

Bummer California said...

Anyone know where/how to get a copy of Hot Bike Japan if I live in the U.S.? So Rad!

Chris Saddler Sam said...



Zito said...

yes! after riding solo out there from jerz and then down into mexico, i cant think of anything else i want to do more than ride all the way across again.

you said i inspired you to take the trip when i saw you in brooklyn. i figured you were bullshitting me, but man that really stoked me.

you gonna do it again this year? id honestly give up every other single day bike thing (swaps, shows, etc) throughout the year to do that ride again.

Mark Harris said...

You tha man, Max.
Seriously though, great shots, great words. I'd like to see Chris' drawling.

jason webber said...

knucklehead version, my bags are already packed.

Dave said...

Is any of the US mags picking up on your story/trip?
They should!

Anonymous said...

great piece all around! love the timeless quality to those fotos

ND said...

Pretty damn transparent and honest writng.

The ride speaks so many ways through images and otherwise.. good to see you put it out there in text. Freedom.

M. said...

Open road and open sky, true freedom.

circus leo said...

epic! you guys left traces in chopper history

Adam said...

I woke up one morning in Long Beach, and found out that my girlfriend at the time was a little bit of a fugitive. At the time I was addicted to heroin, and crazy as bat shit so I said NY here we come. Long story short... jumped on a greyhound, met an Indian on peyote who dissapeared into thin air, got allota "you aint from round here". and its a fucking long stretch CA to NY.

King Studio Works said...

Well said Max.

Ailton© said...

*PLOP* drinks another one in ya name Mister Schaaf!!!

Anonymous said...

It became clear fairly quickly that at these gas stations we were the locals’ captive audience. You can’t fight it and have to welcome the conversation that is placed upon you. It was one of my favorite

I was one of them locals.
When i saw Max,Ken and Chris at a gas stop i new there was a story
Until we meet again. Peace