Iron & Air and the Eternal Question

ironairThis indie motorcycle magazine dedicates itself to asking the question “What makes a life?”

A motorcycle magazine without the obligatory images of bikes and scantily dressed ladies? Believe it.

The team behind Iron & Air, an independent print magazine that launched in 2012, says it’s not about the bikes, but about the journeys they take us on.

In an interview with New Hampshire Public Radio’s Sean Hurley, publisher Brett Houle shares the story of how it all began.

“Old bikes, parts,” Houle said to Hurley, “I mean the lines and shapes and colors and designs and grit and patina of all these old bikes were just beautiful to me.”

Those images, posted to his fledgling Instagram account, quickly gained him a following and a connection with Adam Fitzgerald, who would eventually become the magazine’s Editor in Chief.

“And Adam and I kind of said ‘Hey is there like this publication that captures what we’re seeing and doing right now?’ Houle added.  “And we looked around and couldn’t find it. And I said ‘Well what if we created it?’”

Create it they did, launching first as a digital publication then breaking out into beautifully produced print. They now ship close to 15,000 copies to 140 countries.

What makes Iron & Air different is the soulful approach the team brings to the magazine.

“It’s more aspirational and inspirational I think and that’s its purpose I think it’s designed to be an experience,” says Houle, “I think Issue 22 is like kind of like an interesting look at what Iron & Air is. Issue 22 is the first issue that we concepted, created, produced, put together entirely ourselves.”

That issue came about as a way to document their 10,000 mile, month-long road trip and the stories that sprang up from that. As House notes, “…I think that just captured for me the idea behind Iron & Air, the travel, the adventure, the exploration, the people, the growth, the storytelling. The seeking. I mean it just – that’s it for me.”

“There are motorcycles in there somewhere – and in almost every article in the magazine – but mostly there’s that lingering question.  What makes a life? How do you find it? You could meditate, do Yoga, have a garden.  Or maybe, like Brett Houle, Adam Fitzgerald and Greg Moore – you can hop on your motorcycle and see what you become,” notes Hurley.

Meanwhile, while we might still question what makes a life, it’s clear what makes a good magazine: a soulful story, artfully told.