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 50's, 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 in a different way. 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 six years later. Pashnit.com has grown to become unlike anything you've ever read before.
Looking back on the last few years, 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 Pashnit.com site now gets 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.
It's the riders that made 'Pashnit' into what it is today. Riders like yourself, regardless of what you ride, who've never forgotten the excitement of that first ride.
Nothing quite like it exits....
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?
You see, this site is all about the passion.
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. 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.
Someone once commented I must be a really modest guy. For the first few years of Pashnit.com- this site was created with the author wishing to remain completely anonymous. Location was never mentioned, nor had I even bothered to mention my name on any of the pages they had looked over. This site really isn't about me- it was created for the everyday rider whether you bought your motorcycle yesterday or have been riding 40 years. The rider known as 'The Pashnit One' is really just some guy. Some guy that set out to combine a poetic style of writing with photography, and have it all be about the Joy of Motorcycling.
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's a lot of 35mm photography on the Pashnit site. Those pics had to be individually scanned, cropped and edited for physical size and file size. The latest pages are all digital of course.
Some years back, I started from scratch with a decades old 35mm SLR Canon FTb with a simple 50mm 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's made of solid brass.
I inherited a SLR Minolta XG-M with a Kiron 28mm-105mm zoom lens after the Canon developed a light-leak in bright sunlight. A large portion of the California Motorcycle Roads photography in the early days 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 35mm SLR, this time a Nikon EM with a 80-200mm 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 90's.
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 an Sony A55.
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 35mm 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 have also carried 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 20 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 then they imagined. But after awhile it's a bit of a science- of light, angles, and shapes. When I head out to ride a new road, this nifty digital Canon G5 allows me to shoot to my hearts content and in the last year, have shot thousands upon thousands of photos.
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