Fear of Failure: Welcome to the Club

Failure is a fear for many of us, including Eric Norlander who is rebuilding a motorcycle in memory of his father who recently passed away. He has no prior experience with the mechanics of motorcycles and he has a year to accomplish his goal. His personal journey is being covered in a new original series on Yahoo! Screen called “Failure Club” by Morgan Spurlock, the prolific documentarian of such films as “Super Size Me” and “30 Days”.

Eric lives in Westchester County New York with his wife Meri and young daughter Lola, and works as a production manager at a popular magazine. Despite the full time job and dedication to being a great husband and father, Eric needs to learn all the basics of motorcycle maintenance so he took a weekend apprenticeship at Cycle Circle, a motorcycle shop in Ridgefield, New Jersey.

I had the opportunity to talk with Eric about the details of his project.

Q: How long have you been riding?

A: I haven’t been riding all that long. I got my license about eight years ago but I didn’t start riding until about five years ago when I moved out of the city. I had always been interested in riding, but now that my Dad is gone it is something I definitely would like to carry on.

Q: You have a graphic design background. How do you express this skill set when building a motorcycle?

A: Given that this bike is a commemoration to my Dad I envision the overall aesthetic of the bike to be a reflection of my relationship between us and speaks to the stuff we had in common. It touches on things that were a part of his life, and touches on things that are a part of my life. For instance, my father was a 9th degree black belt, which is actually colored red. So I want red to be a touchstone in this bike. White will be prominent because the “good guys” typically wear white, and my Dad was a good guy.

Q: How do you feel about your mechanical skills at this point?

A: I find them growing. I’m not confident, because I don’t want to overshoot. I walked up to a motorcycle with a set of tools in my hand and I think, “If I do this, what’s going to fall apart?” The trepidation and the fear of the unknown is what I’m going through with learning the mechanics. That fear of the unknown is something that all of us in the Failure Club share. My fear is disappearing week after week though.

Q: How do you like working in the motorcycle shop?

A: I really enjoy it. I wasn’t sure how I was going to react, but I’ve taken to it really quickly. I work in a corporate environment, and there’s a huge difference to the atmosphere of a motorcycle shop that I love. I miss learning new things, and I’m able to learn a lot through this project.

Q: Where are you at on the bike now?

A: The tear down is complete. The engine is out and apart. The cylinders are out and ready to get bored out with the 1200 kit. In a couple weeks the frame will be ready to be send out for powder coating.

Q: What is your target date for completing the bike?

A: I am shooting for July.

Q: Tell me a little bit about this road trip you are planning

A: In August I want to take a two week trip with my Dad’s friends that will fall on his birthday so we can hoist a drink in his memory. The destination isn’t set, it’s just about the ride and the commemoration to my Dad.

You can watch Eric on Failure Club at Yahoo! Screen.

Jump straight to episodes with Eric and his motorcycle project here:

Episode 1

Eric's father passed unexpectedly in May and his goal is to build a motorcycle in commemoration of his dad, who was a big motorcycle enthusiast.

Episode 2

Eric spends his first day at the shop in his quest to build a motorcycle in memory of his father.

Episode 3

Eric searches for his new motorcycle.

Episode 4

As Eric starts to design his motorcycle, he tries to fill the void left by the death of his father.

Episode 5

Eric faces a big problem as he tries to remove the engine from his motorcycle.

Episode 6

Facing the financial strain of his Failure Club goal, Eric makes the heartbreaking decision to sell his most beloved possessions.


I love seeing someone take on their fears. I was scared as hell when I took off to ride my motorcycle to Argentina. I can see the same kind of passion in Eric that I had while traveling.


The fear of failure has been the death knell of so many great dreams. But what if you could remove fear from your pursuit of happiness? What would be the one thing you would change about your life? And…


Would you do it?

  • Megan

    I love that your doing all of this for your dad. I also would like to say thank you for pointing out that Fear is something that hinders peoples capability of dreaming larger than life. Very inspirational to me. I think you would find some joy in this page that I found not to long ago. http://www.powersportsdirectoryreviews.com

  • San Diego Motorcycle Roads

    This post has struck a very big chord with me. I’ve been holding back on this one thing I really need to do and it’s basically from fear of it not working out. So I just need to bite the bullet and do it! And if it doesn’t work out the first time, try, try again. Thanks for the inspiration!

  • Snikrep Nitram

    The post is good and helpful for many riders out there. However, there is something so important you are leaving out which should actually have been the in thing here. Most of the time motorbikes are faced with tire failures and problems. Why not get us something about these features for they will assist in a number of areas..

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