I think I'm finally getting old enough to understand a few things I never did before, things like the long trajectory of a person's life. Things like, the reason I have always liked motorcycles is that they're not just motorcycles: They're symbols and metaphors for bigger things and ideas, projections of character and creativity. When I was younger, I'd look at someone's success and think, "Yeah, I could've done that, given different circumstances," before I realized successful people create their own circumstances. When I first heard of Erik Buell and rode a couple of his early motorcycles, I didn't laugh, but I did assume this guy must be some sort of crackpot Harley reactionary. Later I learned nothing could be farther from the truth, and when Buell's XB line of fuel-in-frame bikes arrived not so many years later, I was able to appreciate what a lot of work and perseverance must've gone into putting such a machine together, what a long time some embers have to be banked, and maybe even more importantly, that the mechanical aspects were probably the easier ones. Dealing with slippery people, fickle organizations and byzantine corporations, having the red carpet rolled out, having the rug yanked out from under... why do some people give up early on while others just keep plugging away? It's fun to try to find out. And Erik Buell's a great person to ask.