Here I am, writing the last print “TDC” column of a series that began by accident 38 years ago in the exasperation of the late Phil Schilling. In 1982, he planned a set of new monthly columns for Cycle magazine, to be written by staff in rotation. No one in the office wanted the tech column, “TDC,” so it just wasn’t getting written. As planned, it was deadly dull: “Maximizing the Life of Your Battery” or “Prepping Your Bike for Winter Storage.” Useful, maybe, but dull as simonizing Dad’s car.
I had begun to write occasionally for Cycle when editor Cook Neilson asked me to write about my 1972 project to go AMA road racing with an English rider on my homebuilt Kawasaki H2R 750 triple. Response to the article was positive, and the relationship stuttered along.
In 1978, Neilson surprised us all by giving two weeks’ notice, but I had carried on as one of Schilling’s stringers. I was therefore delighted when he phoned to offer me the tech column on a monthly basis. Regular income, modest though it was, made a welcome supplement to what I was scratching up from porting two-stroke cylinders and fabricating exhaust pipes.
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