We went through a whirlwind. We followed the white rabbit into its hole, we embraced the adventure of the exciting and somewhat terrifying world that bootstrapping a business can be. Hugo Moto is now a synergy in between different people, companies, countries, cultures. Mostly it is a concentrated juice of passion for motorcycles and the dream of getting a lot of you excited about riding for the first time, or back on a motorcycle again.
Enchanted by Merlin
Sometime after our last blogpost, wishing you all happy 2017, I flew to London, UK to meet my dad. Together we headed Northwest to Birmingham, where the Merlin Partnership headquarters are located. Fueled by tea and fantastic Thai and Indian food we worked relentlessly on the next step with the Merlin team: Steven the bright leader, and his sons James the designer and Patrick an efficient ginger with a great sense of humor. There was also Nigel, a wise businessman who listened mostly but made efficient remarks, and Mark, a brilliant guy with the perfect mix of British humor and French hedonism. We looked at the new beautiful and technical riding jackets, jeans, and boots the team had come up with for 2017. The line up is impressive , cool and well thought out. We were particularly excited about the Hamstall Outlast Wax jacket and the fully CE armored Axe flannel riding shirt. All this goodness soon available in the U.S. at Revzilla.com and many other awesome shops.
The Pursuit of Pleasure With Hedon
From there we hung further with Mark, Merlin global sales guy who also happens to be an agent/rep for the beautifully crafted Hedon helmets. The word Hedon, pronounced "Head-on" in Brit, derives from Hedonism, something that all of us that ride are intimate with. Mark took us to the Hedon Workshop in London. Tucked away in a very cool looking old brick building, the workshop was busy with a few lovely ladies and gents taking care of business, each appointed with a personal heater to brave the London cold and wet winter in a not so well insulated building.
Mark showed us how Hedon helmets were put together on a large wooden table: the different calf leather colors contrasted with the brass, copper and shiny gold hardware.
He also pulled out a copper leaf helmet, "All laid down by hand!" he insisted, "an art piece for your head or your house really".
This place was inspiring, a Charlie and the chocolate factory of sorts but for riders. At last, Mark opened a gorgeous, jewelry like, black box, inside sat the brand new Heroine full face helmet by Hedon. It was love at first sight; we had to touch it, put it on, get personal with this artistic piece of helmetery. Dad and I looked at each other and smiled; we had to bring Hedon to the U.S.
As it turned out they already had a rep on the West Coast, we asked for the East. And just like that on a business trip that was somewhat preplanned, something magical happened. Hedon along with Merlin was now part of the Hugo Moto ecosystem.
To be honest we get excited by lots of motorcycle products, especially when the design and function are well thought out, but in the end, it is about the people. Later on, as I started working with Ben "the Aussie" global sales manager at Hedon, I knew we were working with the right people. His philosophy and true love for the ride transpired through every of our conversations. Behind motorcycle brands, are exceptional, passionate people that work day in and day out to bring to you the rider products that hopefully bring form and function to your ride. Something that you ride with pleasure for many miles and make your own.
The Not-So-Long Way South
We flew back from London to Montpellier in the South of France. We wanted to meet the mythic Eric Lobo. Eric rode a Harley Davidson around the World not once but twice. No GPS, no credit cards and solo. The first time with a Road King the second time with a Dyna Street Bob with skies, a Hedon helmet, and EMC shocks (rather synchronuous don't you think?) Yes, you read it right, he put skies on his bike to cross the Arctic from Siberia to Alaska and then on to Canada. We met Eric at his house in the South of France near Aix-en-Provence, what was supposed to be a two-hour interview turned into a five hours of Scotch drinking, story sharing, late lunch eating experience. I am still working on the blogpost about this interview, so keep your eyes peeled. Eric is the kind of adventurer everyone wishes to meet, generous, fun and full of fantastic riding stories. Refreshingly, Eric has high hopes for humanity: “People are fundamentally good” he repeated a few times.
Without his road angels--as he calls the helping hand along the road--he would have never been able to complete his two incredible feats. When we left Eric, something had happened. We had connected on a human level; we had the same passion and beliefs, even our bike the World Tour was a lighter cousin to his all-terrain Dyna.
As I hugged and patted Eric on his back to bid him farewell, he said: “I know we are going to do something together!”
Fast forward to today March 1st, 2017 almost three weeks since I met Eric, I have just started to translate his book “Road Angels: Artic Dream” from French to English. The photographs are just stunning, while his epic journey is thrilling. Our goal is to have the english version ready for Sturgis this year. Eric is planning to bring his bike over and sit in one of his biker friend's bar to share his stories and his book with all of you day dreamers.
Well, this is what we have been up to in the past three months. We flew around, met more people passionate about riding and the ride. The World Tour kit is moving along nicely; we hit a snag to manufacture the Harley hubs for the enduro wheels we wanted to sell with the kit. It seems we have found a solution right on our doorstep with the guys over at Yelvington USA,in Tampa. Most of the kit will now be manufactured in the U.S. We believe we should be able to ship the first kits by the end of May. We have also made the decision to make both the full kit available and its parts individually. Our online store will reflect this in the next month or so.
We want everyone to find what they need for their ride. We have a lot more good news that should come after Daytona bike week; one of them has to do with helping you guys out to put your kit together, stay tuned! If you are at bike week come and see us we will cruise by Yelvington USA booth. My friends, adventurers, riders and daydreammers the best is yet to come.