October 17, 2013 - San Diego, CA
This week at BikeBandit.com, we’re excited to welcome a new member to our team, and a veteran of the motorcycle industry, Rob Fish. Rob is joining Christina in the Video Production Department, and he'll be giving you guys the inside scoop on all the latest gear, products, and great deals on BikeBandit.com. You'll be seeing a lot more of Rob on our YouTube channel, where we have detailed product reviews and video content updated daily!
Rob’s injected a lot of life around here at the office this week, and has some exciting stories to share, so check them out!
Tell me a little about your background.
Believe it or not, I started out wanting to be a cop; my degree is in Criminal Justice from CSU Northridge. I pursued that for a while, but I eventually came to the conclusion that saving the world from itself was not my calling.
So what is your calling then?
Helping people have fun! I’ve done the whole shirt-and-tie, Fortune 500 thing, and I was pretty good at it, but it’s the kind of thing that sucks the life out of you before you know it. Sorta like commuting on the 405 freeway (Rob and I are both from L.A., and I know exactly what he means.) So before I went too far down that rabbit hole, I decided to change things up and come to San Diego, and that’s when I got started in the motorcycle industry.
I started with Cycle Gear down here, and quickly became a store manager. I love motorcycles, and motorcycle people, but I knew there was a lot more to life than being a retail warrior. I don’t believe in living to work; I work to fund the lunacy that is my life, whether that’s riding, or racing, or fishing, or all the other crazy stuff I’m into! Anyway I eventually left there to join MotoNation, which was a lot more fun.
What did you do there?
My customers called me the “Al Bundy of motorcycles," since MotoNation was the exclusive Sidi distributor for the whole United States. Austin to Boston, Minneapolis to Miami, and everywhere in between, that was my sales territory. Sidi boots were my calling card, but I also dealt closely with Spidi, AGV Sport, and Vemar helmets too.
I had a lot of responsibility, but my job there was a blast. I learned a lot from Bill Berroth; and the man, the myth, the legend, Paul Eddy. After a few years though, the company did some internal restructuring, and we ended up parting ways. So I handled it the way any responsible grown-up would. I went racing that weekend!
Tell us about how you got started racing.
I started pretty late, but it was just something I always thought about doing. I got to a point where I knew if I didn’t just jump into it, the chance would end up passing me by. So I signed up for New Racer School at the young age of 36, and I actually crashed in the school! But it wasn’t even 15 months until I went from being “that guy” in race school to being on the cover of Roadracing World with Valentino Rossi. Sure, Valentino was riding his bike and I was playing Superman, but still.
I love the story of how you got on a magazine cover with Rossi!
Oh yeah! Racing at Willow Springs one weekend, I was leading until I caught a false neutral coming into turn 3 and, to make it short, I went off track and got bucked off the bike. And who was there at the exit of the turn to catch it all? The photographer from CaliPhotography of course. 37 hi-res pics of me flying through the air.
My crash made a full spread in the magazine’s Crash Page, and one photo made it to the cover, above a huge shot of Rossi testing his Ducati. I sent a copy to Colin Edwards, and he signed it - giving me a hard time for crashing in his Arai helmet!
You eventually quit racing, but you have a new hobby now; tell us about it!
Yeah, I loved racing, and above all I miss the camaraderie. I couldn’t have done it without the Cycle Mall team; Tige and James are gods in the SoCal racing scene and I owe a lot to them. It just got to a point where racing really wasn’t me anymore. Now I love to kayak fish! We have some unbelievable fishing here in San Diego and I’m out there every chance I get. If I wasn’t at BikeBandit.com, I’d be out fishing right this minute!
You also have another true San Diego pastime…
Yeah I brew my own beer! San Diego is the mecca of craft beer and it’s a huge part of the life here, which is great because beer is a huge part of my life too. I’m actually one step from being a certified “cicerone," or beer sommelier. I’m always ready to drink a nice hoppy IPA!
You’ve given me some pretty good advice this week; what piece of advice would you give to our readers?
I’m all about enjoying life, playing hard. Don’t live to work. I’ve done the soul-sucking corporate thing, and it removed all the joy out of my life. The key is to play hard, but to also play smart. That way you can come back and play again tomorrow. That’s how to really enjoy life, and that’s what I try to get other people to see!
Check out our video introduction for more on Rob and what he'll be up to at BikeBabandit.com: