Frequently Asked Questions about Pashnit.com
1. I'm curious on why you chose the name Pashnit?
2. What kind of camera are you using?
3. Do you write as you are going, or do you have a laptop now?
4. Are you a professional photographer?
5. I really like your photos, can I use them on my own site/magazine/newspaper?
6. I'd like to suggest a ride I don't see on your list.
7. I'm not from California. Any suggestions on where to ride?
8. What software do you use to create your maps?
9. Is it okay if I let you know about errors in your text?
10. Do you ever do speaking engagements? Interviews?
11. Is California Motorcycle Roads available in a book form?
You always remember your first ride.
Whether it was on the back of somebody's KZ or with the kid on the mini-bike down the block. Maybe you were one of the lucky kids with the Trail 50. Whether you started riding as a kid, in college or in your 50s, we all share something in common.
Your passion may be vintage, speedway, choppers, Harleys, dirt climbers, cruiser, or sport-touring- yet there is something about riding that allows us to see the world differently. Despite our different rides, we all share one thing in common.
The emotion. Is that why we still remember that first ride so vividly?
This is the core theme prevalent throughout Pashnit.com. What has always made this site different is the focus is on the ride, the thrill, and the excitement of riding.
These are the things that make us passionate.
What you see here is all based on a very simple concept. And after endless sessions of work on the site, not to mention thousands of photographs later tirelessly trying to capture this emotion of riding on film, here we are together twenty years later. Pashnit.com has grown to become unlike anything you've ever read before.
Looking back on the last two decades, this approach has made a tremendous impact on the motorcycling community. The response to this site has been overwhelming. Thousands of riders visit every day from around the world and the original Pashnit.com site got over 1,000,000 (that's 1 million!), visitors every year. Even more amazing is that mention of the Pashnit.com site has always been passed via word of mouth. From one rider to the next.
The California Motorcycle Roads website is unlike anything ever created before. There are thousands of motorcycling websites. How is it possible for one site to be so different? Make such an impression on the average every-day rider?
This site is all about the passion.
Oddly enough, although this site was intended for a motorcycle audience, bicyclists, sports car pilots and even RV Travelers use this site on a daily basis.
The incredible success of the California Motorcycle Roads site has revolved around this rather unusual approach. To show you the road, let you read through the impression of it, and let you decide what type of road you want to ride.
Frequently Asked Questions
I'm curious on why you chose the name Pashnit? It's a question that's been rattling around for quite some time now, and I'd love to know what the answer is... I can't reason it out.
When I owned my Yamaha Venture, I went out and obtained a license plate that spelled out the words 'On a Quest'. But when I bought the FJ1200, I needed something new after riding year round 50,000 miles in 2 years (and not even owning a car). After all that riding, I needed one word to describe the way I felt about motorcycling.
So I came up with 23 different spellings of the word 'passionate' - and the PASHNIT moniker was the one that was available. Fast-forward a few years when I had to come up with a domain name for a website that would be about the passion of motorcycle riding. And thus became pashnit.com! It's my license plate on the bike.
Your photography is unlike anything posted to other types of motorcycle websites. What kind of camera are you using?
There were at one time a lot of 35 mm photography on the pashnit site. Those pics had to be individually scanned, cropped and edited for physical size and file size. All the pages are all now digital, of course.
Some years back, I started from scratch with a decades old 35 mm SLR Canon FTb with a simple 50 mm 1:14 lens. First time I'd ever had a manual camera, and I had no idea how to even work all the dials. It was a terrific camera, although somewhat old (decades!) It was made of solid brass.
I inherited a SLR Minolta XG-M with a Kiron 28 mm-105mm zoom lens after the Canon developed a light-leak in bright sunlight. A large portion of the CA Moto Roads photography was done with this terrific camera, although I used the camera so much while riding and shooting film for this site, the lens started falling apart.
The next camera was another 35 mm SLR, this time a Nikon EM with an 80-200 mm zoom lens. I wore this camera out too, as motorcycle travel and these sorts of camera are not always too friendly with one another.
The fantastic panorama shots sprinkled across this site are the result of a Minolta point-and-shoot panoramic camera, one of the very first to come onto the market in the early 90s.
Finally, made the jump into digital with a Canon G5, commonly known as 'the brick'. After over 10,000 photos in a little over a year, it quit working on me. Then another 30,000 shots with a Canon Pro1 till that wore out. I'm started using a DSLR Sony A350 which is an excellent 14 megapixel camera., then onto a Sony A55 with an 18-200 mm lens.
But remember, it's not the camera.
You travel, a lot, and write grand stories. Do you write it all down as you are going, or do you have a laptop now?
Back in the day, I wrote the text for each road in my head while I was riding the road. Which is probably where the feel of the style of writing comes from, because I wrote it while feeling the sensation of the bike, the wind, the sound, the feeling of the corners, and road around me. I write it in my head, and then at the end of each road, I do jot down some notes, usually about landmarks or the sequence of things you will see. If I'm on a loop, and riding 4 specific roads- I need to keep everything straight. I sometimes also take notes on the photographs I'm taking along the way with the camera.
So there's a lot of stopping, and 180's to get the right shot and angle and lighting correct! Sometimes the bicyclists are traveling faster than I am!! I used to carry a miniature tape recorder with me also, and at the end of the road, recorded a few thoughts too. But that's how. The secret is all the road pages were written, so to speak, while actually riding the road!
As for the two books - Those are based off rather copious journals I kept along the way while traveling. While riding, I hadn't come up with the idea to convert it into a book until later, I was just recording everything that happened- interesting people you meet, and strange things that happen. The books were actually written a year or two later based off the respective journals. The 10,000 mile book took 2 years to write; it was a tremendous amount of work!
The pictures throughout the pashnit.com website are really great. Are you a professional photographer?
Sort of. Not in the classical sense, I don't make a living by it. I suppose you could say I'm completely self-taught having never taken any sort of formal instruction. Years back, I did try to read one of those Photography for Beginners books, but ironically it made no sense to me at all. To boot, I doubt I could even speak camera-jargon in a room full of photographers.
However, I acquired my first camera over 30 years ago, and you do learn some things by trial-and-error. Learning to shoot compelling photos of roads is just that- a learned trait. I've shot hundreds upon hundreds of pics of roads, and with each roll try to improve upon the style and feel of the pic. Several riders I've conversed with said they went out and tried to capture the same shots and found it more difficult to replicate than they imagined. But after a while it's a bit of a science- of light, angles, and shapes. When I head out to ride a new road, the digital camera allows me to shoot to my hearts content and in the last year, have shot thousands upon thousands of photos.
I really like your photos, can I use them on my own site/magazine/newspaper/advertisement/brochure?
I don't mind if you pull pics off the site, just when you do, credit where you got them and let me know via email. What I do on the Pashnit.com site, since there are several photos that are shot by others that people have sent to me is I credit them in the .alt tag or if there is a caption to the pics, I give credit there. But it only works if you credit where you got the photo.
For example, the motorcycle rental company California Motorcycle Adventures requested to use Pashnit Photography in the development of their new website. Each page adds in a credit to Pashnit.com.
What I'd suggest is just add an .alt tag to your graphic: That way, it's rather embedded into the HTML and you really don't notice it. Just when the pointer passes over the picture, the alt tag pops up. It might look something like this- <....alt="Thanks to www.pashnit.com site for the pic"> or something like that. So just add that to any other photo you pull off the site and email me, since I am always eager to take a look at other pages on the web.
There are a lot of photos, and a lot of the pictures have been posted to message boards of all kinds. Real simple, just credit where you got the photo from and provide a link on over here. My photographs have also appeared in national magazines and newspapers. If you are the editor of such a publication, get in touch with me.
I'd like to suggest a ride I don't see on your list.
Several of the pages have been written by other riders with yours truly serving as the editor and putting it all together into a page. I welcome any text or pics sent to me. When I shoot the pics, I try to find something unique about the road, and the rest I leave up to you. If you want to see your favorite road listed, run through a couple of the pages to get a general feel how the format is set up. If you're digital, just keep the pic setting at its smallest size.
The early days of this site is shot with a manual 35 mm SLR camera. Then each photo was individually scanned and edited, back in the days before digital. All the road photography has been re-shot with the advent of digital. Much better quality and a whole new format with larger photos per page was introduced.
With regard to the description of the road itself, I don't need a book, even a couple paragraphs sent to me, I've worked with to create enough text for a page.
I am especially interested in any roads you may not see on this list. There are a few major holes in the list, the area just south of Santa Clarita, and most of the back roads around San Diego.
I'm not from California, but am planning a trip there. I was poking around the links on your site but am a bit lost as I don't know the state at all. Any suggestions on where to ride?
For years, I've had people ask me this sort of question. Then someone asked if I would actually write a custom trip itinerary for them. A few years ago, I worked on Pashnit Trip Planning writing itineraries for solo riders visiting California for their yearly vacation, small groups that don't prefer a guide, and all sorts of riders heading into California from other states. I was asked by the editor of Cycle World Magazine to plan out their yearly staff ride, then lead it, which was great fun. I've since retired from writing these as they are immensely time-consuming and averaged about 40 hours apiece to write, ranging from 40-60 pages of text, maps & photos.
For additional in-depth info, you may also log onto the California Motorcycle Roads website to read about a vast majority of the roads in California with maps, pics, satellite maps and local links. More info than you'll ever have time for.
Then again, some folks have simply opted for an organized tour. Just show up at the launch point on Friday morning, and we'll take care of the rest. No worries on where to ride, routing, lodging, meals, you get the idea! Pashnit Motorcycle Tours conducts 8-14 guided tours a year of the Sierra Nevada, Central Cal and Northern California. The ride season here runs from March to October, and we'll lead some 17,000 miles of tours this year. I've love to have you join the Pashnit Alumni of riders that I've had the good fortune of sharing this passion for California roads with.
3-D Satellite mapping by Google Earth
There are Google Earth 3-D Satellite Maps added to every CA Moto Roads webpage. This mapping technology allows us to use 3-D photographs of California Motorcycle Roads to get a better idea of what to expect. The CA Moto Roads pages may have 1-2 of these or as being able to utilize Google Earth maps of your respective road in several views while covering the entire length of the road rotated and zoomed on key areas is a very helpful tool
It takes a bit of spatial ability to see what you're looking at, but once you ride the road, then look at the Google Earth Maps, you can recall specific corners. Funny how the brain can do that. The Google Maps are but another evolution in the CA Moto Roads pages in giving you as much information as possible as you set of to explore new roads and new regions of this motorcycle paradise of California.
I've been using the site for several years and it sure has grown. Just how big has it gotten?
The Pashnit Family of websites indeed have become a massive body of work. The Pashnit Site was launched in 1999 & over the last decade, has grown into a massive body of work. The original Pashnit Road Pages were over 600 pages of text focused on California Motorcycle Roads.
The all new Wix-built site will be even bigger.
Pashnit Motorcycle Tours continues to provide tours of California. We offer over 10,000 miles of professionally guided tours each year & our return rate can be as high as 80% of our alumni will sign up for another tour.
Do you ever do speaking engagements?
Short time ago, was asked to be the guest speaker at A&S BMW's Garagenpartei & spoke about how to plan for a multi-day trip. It was very interactive with a lot of hands-on examples from running the tour company delivered to a great crowd and good people!
I've done quite a few interviews over the years. Live radio is definitely the most challenging. Usually it's motorcycle radio programs ranging from Florida to California.
The Harley Dude and Beemerman RoadShow are a weekly podcast program about motorcycling topics and info. I've done 3 different interviews for them. You can listen to two of these podcast interviews on the "The Harley Dude and Beemerman Road Show." - click the photo at right.
Cycle World Radio was the latest with a 30-minute live interview. These are always fun and enjoyable to share with the world the expansiveness of features to the Pashnit site.
Pashnit Motorcycle Tours made an appearance on the FOX40 News in this engaging news piece about organized touring on a motorcycle. Shot on location in the Sierra Nevada Mountains during the Memorial Day Tour in May- this proved to be great fun and entirely a new media to work with.
After several hours of interviews and filming the tour participants, the news station had their story! Watch the video with the link below. You can read the full story here.
Watch the video here
Is the California Motorcycle Roads compilation available in a book form?
Someday. But not yet. A book project in some regards would seem inevitable. When you have this much text, the immense traffic, and the intense following that Pashnit.com has gained- it sounds as if it would have to be something that just has to happen.
One of the more interesting things I have been asked for is a Coffee Table book of Pashnit Photography of California Roads. The more I think about that, the more I like that idea.
Who created the
One guy. With a goal being to share this passion for riding with all motorcyclists. And the story might be best explained here with a recent feature story about the author of Pashnit.com in a recent issue of Road Trip Magazine.
Click here to read the Article.