Restaurant Racer

Restaurant-Racer-v2.7
As Food Biker, I usually achieve a state of utter bliss and Zen when I’m out riding my motorcycle.

However, particularly if you’ve read some of my previous articles, many of you know that I’m also crazy about cars and driving. After all, if you give me some sort of interesting motorized vehicle with rubber tires, and long stretches of beautiful roads to explore, you can bet that I’ll be a happy camper, whether it’s on two wheels or on four.

So yes, I’ll admit it.

Occasionally, there times when even motorcyclists such myself prefer driving over riding.
Besides, many of us riders are ultimately gearheads at heart, who also enjoy checking out cool cars in addition to bikes.

Is there a way for me to reconcile my vehicular alter-ego with Food Biker™?
Is there a way for me to occasionally take automotive detours in Food Biker show segments, full episodes, or even in my online postings?

You bet I can. Enter Restaurant Racer™.


With Food Biker, which remains my primary focus, I’m riding my motorcycle around America to meet other chefs to learn their professional culinary techniques first-hand, while exploring motorcycle subcultures during my journeys.

With Restaurant Racer, I now have the opportunity to do my regular Food Biker culinary thing, while occasionally driving to various locations and being able to explore cool car culture.

Don’t worry. Restaurant Racer isn’t a replacement for Food Biker, and serves to complement and expand both my piston-driven and culinary horizons.

What’s the longer story behind Restaurant Racer?


My 1968 VW Convertible "Lil'Car".

My 1968 VW Convertible “Lil’Car.” Stay tuned for an updated photo with the newer whitewall tires, and not the fake whitewalls you see here.

 1) FUN

The first reason here, is pretty simple:

It’s about doing what you love to do.

I love to cook. I love to ride. I love motorcycles.

I also love cars. I also love to drive.

As I said, many motorcyclists also dig cars and I’m proud to be one of those people.
There’s simply no reason to miss out on fun if and when awesome automotive opportunities present themselves. There’s also no good reason to just limit my activities to just the motorcycle world.

Variety, flexibility, and options are a good thing.

 

2) “ENJOYING THE GETTING THERE”

The truth is that many people actively choose to drive cars that are solely functional and are incredibly boring. They see cars largely from a practical transportation standpoint.

In contrast, I’ve always been about “enjoying the getting there,” be it by cool car or motorcycle.

Like motorcycles, I also see cars as opportunities for masterful industrial design, combining both art and mechanical engineering. It’s about the elegant intersection of form and function, let alone style.

My 1992 BMW 325iC convertible, now a "classic" car. She's over twenty years old and is a blast to drive.

My 1992 BMW 325iC convertible “Simply Red.” As she’s now over twenty years old, she’s achieved “classic car” status (with a low insurance premium) and remains a blast to drive.

I love twisties. I love torque.

I love to blast through the curves and the straight-aways.

I love the sound of a perfectly tuned exhaust.

I also love to cruise around slowly and enjoy the sights.

Again, its about the choices you make, and how you choose to “get there.”

Life is too short to drive or ride an average vehicle. Live your passion every day.

 

3) WEATHER OR NOT

The truth of the matter, is that I simply don’t live in a place like southern California or Florida, where I could comfortably ride a motorcycle year-round. The reality is that I live here in Boston, where currently it’s cold out and the sun sets at a shockingly early time of 4:12pm EST. Heck, motorcycle riding around here, and much around the northern United States, is typically less than ideal in the winter months.

During some stretches of deep winter, the truth is that you’d be a complete idiot to ride a motorcycle in the sleet, snow, salt, sand, and slush. Although I’ve ridden my motorcycle Ellabelle at 13 ºF before, I can’t say that it was the most enjoyable experience.

A photo from last February. Although there's a little snow, the roads are clear and you have to watch out for sand.

Once upon a February. Although there’s a little snow, the roads are clear. So bundle up, and keep your eyes peeled for sand, ice, and for drivers who don’t expect winter motorcyclists.

Yes, local cold weather riding is often feasible if the roads are clear, and I’ve taken great pains to extend my riding season year-round (warm clothes, windscreen, heated grips, heated seat). I liken it to skiing on land, and it can be a lot of fun if you prepare for it. During the winter, I generally ride locally at lower speeds if the roads are clear, but I also know when it’s simply not safe to do so.

Do I really want to hit a patch of black ice? No.

Is a wind chill of -5ºF (assume it’s 20ºF outside, and I’m traveling at 65mph) enjoyable? Not really.

Is a cruiser motorcycle designed to handle ice? No motorcycle is, even if you have knobby tires.

Unlike some other TV shows, should I fake things using “the magic of television,” and trailer my vehicle to locations? I could, but that’s not my style. I try to keep things things real. I’d rather continue filming during the cold months, in a stylish ride to get to where I need to be.

So sometimes, the smart move is for me to lay up and drive to locations instead. I’d rather comfortably pull up in a fun car, warm and dry, alive, and ready to make more television.

Besides, I’ve always found that driving around in the cold with the top down and the heat blasting, it can be a good substitute to being on the bike. That’s why I’ve always been a fan of convertibles.

 

4) TOURING PRACTICALITY 

Long distance motorcycle touring can thrilling. However, even if you don’t factor in changing weather conditions, it can be both challenging and physically exhausting, even under the most ideal conditions.

As a long distance rider, you must always be fit, alert, and focused on the road. You’re limited by what you can pack. You have to take more breaks. You get either hot or cold more quickly. The wind dries you out. You have to wear a lot of protective gear. It often takes longer to get places. The wind pressure, noise from the wind and the engine, and muscle tension can wear you out. The amount of mileage your body can withstand per day is typically less than in a car.

Now multiply that complexity by the myriad details inherent in television production, most of all ensuring that you’ll be able to ride to meet your crew and safely arrive at your scheduled filming location on time. (It’s no surprise why many production companies fly their host from city to city for travel shows.)

The truth is that motorcycling alone can be complicated, and it becomes exponentially more so when television production is involved.

So sometimes, it’s simply more practical to take a car, and that becomes particularly true during inclement weather. The bottom line is that I’d simply rather have the option to film more, than to be limited by the practical limitations that motorcycling can sometimes impose. Often, it’s best to wait for ideal weather to ride to be able to really enjoy the whole experience.

 

A vintage, 3-wheeled BMW Isetta “Bubble” Car. This belongs to one of the lucky servers at 204 Main Bar and Bistro, in Sharon Springs, NY.

5) AUDIENCES

The truth of the matter, is that ultimately good television comes from good content. The passions of motorcyclists and car enthusiasts overlap a great deal, and I see not reason why not to expand our viewing audience.

If through Restaurant Racer, I’m able to also introduce car enthusiasts to the motorcycling world behind Food Biker, that would be pretty sweet. Heck, if I can help cross-pollinate between both the auto and moto worlds, I’ll be doing a good thing.

After all, someone’s next car might be a motorcycle. And someone’s next motorcycle might be a cool car.

The cool thing is that ultimately, if I enjoy doing what I do, I can’t lose and we’ll hopefully be making some compelling TV in the process.


So where does this leave things?

Again, I’m still and always will be Food Biker.  Come join me on my culinary journeys into professional kitchens, whether it’s via the standard Food Biker format or via a Restaurant Racer detour.

After all, regardless of whether I arrive by motorcycle or occasionally a car, I guarantee you a tasty journey along the way.











4 Responses to Restaurant Racer

  1. Bill Sr says:

    The idea is to “roll” and eat and cook . So as long as it is getting there ( in style) and eating I am OK.

  2. Macman says:

    No Brainer..best of both worlds.

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