The only social media I do is Instagram. I do not have a Facebook account and never plan on having one. For some reason I like the way Instagram is set up. My Instagram account is more personal, focusing on bicycling and associated topics. I follow many of the Horse staff, both current and prior, but on my site I never talk about anything but bikes, manpowered bikes.
So the other day I see Flynch in my feed. Normally he posts about his workout, which is typically a three to six mile run. But this day was different. I had to do a second take: “R.I.P. Scott.” No, not Scott Wong, Genghis! I had to have Flynch confirm it and he did. I am not going to get into how he passed away because how he died is not important; how he lived is.
Like many of you I met Scott through the pages of Iron Horse. His virtual identity would leave you guessing how he was in real life since he preferred to remain a virtual figure, rarely, if ever, meeting anyone face-to-face. In my case I pictured Scott to be brash, with a relative deep voice and cocky. I couldn’t have been further from the truth.
When I took over Iron Horse, I had no one except my friend Chris to help me. By luck, Kelly had someone’s number, who had another’s number who knew someone who could get ahold of another. I had talked to J.T., Noyes, Flynch and Scott and eventually they all agreed to help. Others, like English Don and Fritz, were more disingenuous, looking for opportunities created by my lack of experience.
When I first spokeSpoke A rod that connects the hub and rim on a wheel. to Scott, he very soft spoken and extremely polite; I couldn’t believe it was Scott. We spoke for a long time and he gave me advice that was spot on, cautioning me about certain individuals, their motives and pitfalls within the industry. I wish I had taken all of his advice, but I made a poor decision and retained one individual who would eventually be the reason Scott and I had a falling out. Until that time, the Scott I knew was uncompromising in his beliefs, tireless and devoted to putting out the best magazine possible.
Scott’s first editorial under me was entitled. “Back in the Saddle.” True to Scott’s style, he put his heart and soul into that editorial, and everything he did after that. He never did anything half-assed. He loved three things that I knew of: His wife, Patty, Mable, his Shovelhead and Mary, his Vette. There may have been more, but those three loves he wore on his sleeve, with Patty being his everything. I know he had kids and they all turned out to be very successful but he didn’t mention them much.
Scott worked for an eye doctor, I think. I know he worked for either an optometrist or an ophthalmologist although I think it was the latter. He was a renowned photographer, shooting intricate details of the eye and would give lectures to hundreds in attendance on techniques he developed to assist physicians in their practice to diagnose and treat disease. He never bragged about his expertise behind the camera, but he was a phenomenal photographer in addition to his medical duties. If you ever visited his site, you would have seen some very professional shots of the city, street shots, in black and white. He captured the moment, the pace of the city and moods of everyday people. A lot of people don’t know that side of Scott.
Everyone knows that Scott was into the martial arts and had a column in Black Belt Magazine. As far as I know, he practiced until his body just couldn’t perform to his satisfaction. Anyone in our age group totally understands that. However, Scott power lifted to stay in shape. He would do a complete body workout everyday, around 3am, if I recall correctly. He was, buy anyone’s standards, an early riser. In fact, he would often ride Mable at 3am to avoid traffic and enjoy the relative solitude of the morning. He was often criticized for riding when no one could see him, prompting suspicion that perhaps he didn’t ride, but where we ride, when we ride and how far we ride is no one’s business but our own. Scott was a loner and had the respect of many bikers so he apparently was no poser and my experience with Scott convinced me that Scott was the real deal.
As I mentioned earlier, Scott and I had a falling out maybe after a year. I say that because I don’t want to give the impression that Scott and I were tight and best of friends. He was very sensitive about certain things and I hit a nerve that he never forgot. I reached out to him on several occasions but he was not responsive. I could say what I want now, since no one could dispute my side of the story, but I am not going to twist anything around. Scott did a lot for me. He helped me knowing that by doing so he would invoke the wrath of the former editor, whom Scott really liked at the time. Still, he supported me because he believed in me and the magazine when many didn’t. His words of encouragement and wisdom were from the heart and he didn’t pull any punches. He called friends in the industry who would help as well. He was my mentor, my right hand man and for a time, my friend. I take total responsibility for causing the riff. I wish I had made better choices that affected our friendship.
And now, the end is near
And so I face the final curtain
My friend, I’ll say it clear
I’ll state my case, of which I’m certain
I’ve lived a life that’s full
I’ve traveled each and every highway
But more, much more than this
I did it my way
Regrets, I’ve had a few
But then again, too few to mention
I did what I had to do
And saw it through without exemption
I planned each charted course
Each careful step along the byway
And more, much more than this
I did it my way
Yes, there were times, I’m sure you knew
When I bit off more than I could chew
But through it all, when there was doubt
I ate it up and spit it out
I faced it all and I stood tall
And did it my way
—Frank Sinatra, “I did It My Way
Rest in peace my brother. You will never be forgotten and will always be loved. You made the distance.