We are very proud to feature an exclusive interview with a special rider. This time we are exploring the adventures, passions and rides of our fellow biker Chris Salgardo, president of Kiehl’s USA. Don’t miss this one!
MF: Chris, what was your first bike? Tell us about it (where did you ride, how much you paid for it, and anything funny).
CHRIS SALGARDO: My first bike was a Suzuki bike that my father bought me when I was young. I’d wheel it out and roll it down our hill. Eventually my parents caught me and weren’t too happy!
MF: You are president of Kiehl’s Since 1851. How is your passion for motorcycles influencing your work?
CS: I truly feel that my role as President of Kiehl’s is to keep this brand’s heritage alive, and I am fortunate enough to have a hobby that is a major part of the DNA of the brand. Our iconic motorcycle, the symbol of the spirit of adventure of Kiehl’s, was the perfect vehicle to take us from state to state and city to city to raise awareness and funds for amfAR, the American Foundation for AIDS Research. This became LifeRide, and it is one of the most important philanthropic events that Kiehl’s embarks on along with our partner, amfAR. We ride and have ridden with many fellow motorcycle enthusiasts eager to join the fight againstHIV/AIDS, including amfAR CEO Kevin Frost, actors John Corbett, Gilles Marini, Tyson Beckford, Malcom Jamal-Warner, William H. Macy, Jason Lee, Jay Ellis, Tricia Helfer, Katee Sackhoff, Vanessa Marcil, Fred Durst, Justin Chatwin, Teddy Sears, Kurt Yaeger and World Cup Rugby Champion Ben Cohen. Next year is the fifth annual Kiehl’s LifeRide for amfAR. It’s a BIG one. We plan on starting in Milwaukee, where Harley-Davidson started, and ending in New York City, where Kiehl’s was born. To date, we’ve raised $1,025,000 for amfAR, and funded 6 cure-related research projects. An incredibly special highlight was Kiehl’s sponsoring the public dedication of The AIDS Memorial Quilt, on Governor’s Island, New York. Kiehl’s and the LifeRiders invited New Yorkers to the unfolding ceremony, new panel dedication and the Reading of Names. This program marks the first time in nearly two decades that the City of New York has hosted The AIDS Memorial Quilt with a display of this magnitude. It was incredibly emotional for me.
MF: What is your longest or unforgettable ride?
CS: Our third LifeRide. We rode 1800 miles from Miami to Washington, D.C. and ended at the International AIDS Conference. This was the first time in 19 years that the conference was held in the U.S. as the government previously would not allow people with HIV/AIDS to enter the country; it was a monumental experience.
MF: You have a huge collection of motorcycles. Tell us about it!
CS: My father was a California highway patrolman – a CHiPy. And motorcycles have always been in our family. I had one and my mom had one. I currently have a Harley-Davidson V-Rod Muscle – you can literally hear it from space.
MF: What do you think of driving in NYC ?
CS: You need a nimble bike in NYC because of the amount of traffic; a loud bike is a good idea as well. I personally had my bike’s pipes changed to make them louder. Loud pipes save lives because you can hear the bike coming. Pedestrians, traffic and taxis don’t like them, but they really do save lives. I really enjoy riding in NYC, but you must be very alert and always keep an eye out for distractions, traffic and pedestrians.
MF: Harley, bmw, ducati, triumph, honda, suzuki. There are so many bikes: What/which fascinates you the most?
CS: Harley of course! The son of our founder, Aaron Morse, was a huge fan of Harley’s and had an extensive collection. We have a number of vintage Harleys scattered around our stores. This actually happened very organically during the 1970s by Aaron, who personally owned over 40 vintage models. He used the store as a “motorcycle museum” for his vast collection, and the result was that bikes kept men entertained and engaged while their wives shopped. Men felt very comfortable in a store with this type of atmosphere and ultimately Aaron Morse started to showcase Kiehl’s products next to the bikes. He was credited with being the first in the beauty industry to market to men. Harley was also the exclusive motorcycle sponsor of this year’s LifeRide and is a huge supporter of our ride, our brand and our philanthropic efforts.
MF: Any wise advice you want to give to our reader? Do you have your own motto?
CS: Life is short, get on the road.
MF: Where is your favorite place(s) to ride in USA?
CS: The Woodstock area where I have a second home. So, upstate in the Catskills.
MF: Tell us about the motorcycle ride of your dreams.
CS: I would love to embark on a ride where I go across the country and finish up in Alaska. I have always wanted to see Alaska!
Interview exclusively for Motorcycle Federation, photo credits from Google.