I've been surprised and delighted by the interest The Airhead has aroused around the world. It seems that it's not just in Britain where Airhead Owners feel the need for more information/ advice and mutual support.
I started this initially because when I was the Secretary for the Vintage and Classic register of the BMW Club in the U.K. I was frustrated and at times appalled by the hostility of some of the leading figures to the very existence of a Vintage movement. In the U.K. there is nowhere for vintage or classic BMW riders to turn: no-one is catering for their needs and, sadly, until there is a complete revision of their ideas and the restructuring of the BMW Club the vintage element will always be the poor relation and always vulnerable. And in the U.K. there is nowhere else for Airhead owners to turn.
Hence The Airhead. Conceived not to threaten any existing organisation but to complement and enrich the existing Airhead fair. This is more than a bolt-hole for the disaffected and disillusioned - It should become a source of information and entertainment. If we can build the sort of sharing and co-operation which people in the VCR showed me a few months ago then we can create something which is unique in the Airhead world. Furthermore, it has the added advantage that no-one gets rich, no subscriptions get hoarded away or are spent on unnecessary fripperies. I have no overheads and so every penny received goes towards keeping the Air Ambulance flying - and there can't be many more worthwhile causes.
That's the Why - now for the Where
By 'Where' I really mean 'Where do we go from here?' Again, this will be up to you. Already The Airhead has developed in a way that I never thought it would. The website you are seeing now is the second version in three weeks. I originally envisaged this site to be purely a way in which people could subscribe, so the website was very basic. It's become obvious to me now that a lot of you are wanting more than this so I have re-skinned the site into a form which can develop and grow as demand dictates. This Blog is a good example. It wasn't my idea, but I agree that it can be useful in keeping people up to date with events between editions. besides, I'd rather keep the ezine full of bike related material rather than me waffling on about administrative or other matters. Today, following a request from another subscriber, I added Library pages, to allow the easy download of manuals etc. A forum has also been suggested as a possibility. That again can be added if more of you think it would be a good idea. Personally I would like to develop the site to a point where I can put a truly multimedia ezine on-line. As well as the pdf, you would also have access to a version with embedded multimedia and lots of active links. A long way in the future, but worth working towards. Exciting stuff.
But developments are happening that go beyond the website or the ezine itself. In th next issue you will read an article by Mark Lipschitz of the Maryland Airheads group. He describes events at the Supertech 2 event - a sort of 3 day workshop/seminar/excuse-to-get-together-with-like-minded-folks. It sounds fantastic and, following their kind invitation, the Amateur Mechanic will be going across with a view to seeing whether we couldn't start up something similar in the U.K. It comes back to the ethos behind the Airhead - if no-one else is doing it for us then we'll damn well do it for ourselves. If we can develop the International element of the Airhead then that has to benefit everyone. By swapping ideas and seeing how other countries do things we can adopt and adapt to suit ourselves. We all learn from each other - what can be better?
So - where we go depends on you, the subscribers. We don't have a 'party line' we have to toe, we don't have advertisers' restrictions, nor BMW's fear of revelations about their new models alleged reliability issues. We don't have a heavily censored forum. What we have is an opportunity to go as far as we want. If that means we simply have a good read every couple of months that's great. If we want to develop into an informal, international association that's great too. I've had enough of bloody club politics to last me more than two lifetimes so I won't start a club. But to have a group of like-minded people enjoying sharing ideas and inspiring each others to get on their Airheads - that's got to be Nirvana. Just how big or how small that Nirvana is will depend on you.