For some motorcyclists in the north, winter can be just too much to bear. Some of us ride anyway. Some of us grit our teeth and wait. Some of us escape to an island for a few days. Me, I go to California and pretend it’s not happening, and this year, you get to come along. In this mini-episode, my notes from a few weeks in LA… the traffic, the culture, the canyon roads, and a chance encounter with a fellow rider who reminded me of the one thing we all share, no matter where we ride.
It turns out that I’m not completely off base thinking drivers in Los Angeles are pretty nice, although this particular study doesn’t put California at the top of the charts. I clearly need to see more of America on two wheels. Conspicuously absent from this data, of course, is my personal benchmark for urban riding, grumpy ol’ Toronto…
Here’s where I got the fun fact about California’s human-to-motorcycle ratio. It’s a few years old, but I doubt the rankings have changed very much. It would be wrong to generalize Los Angeles to all of California, of course, and comparisons to Canada leave out the all-important element of geography. Still, subjectively, it didn’t seem to me that there were more bikes on the streets there than on a typical spring day at home, which makes the feeling of belonging there as a rider all that much more remarkable.
Here’s the article I mentioned recommending the ten best motorcycle rides in the Los Angeles area. I can certainly vouch for a few, which makes me think the whole list is worth keeping if you plan to go and don’t already know your way around.
Here’s a link to Deus Ex Machina’s Venice location. It’s a deceptively handy neighbourhood for visiting motorcyclists, with two rental operations a short walk away, an excellent gear shop only a little further (Beach Moto, where I spied Snowcat), and Iron and Resin’s Venice shop a few doors away for your hipster fix. The area is getting a bit groovy, having recently acquired its very own local handle, ‘The Linc’.
Here’s the Petersen’s web site, along with a recent article about ‘The Custom Revolution’ show that opens in April. Paul D’Orleans’ web site, The Vintagent, is here, and very well worth your time if your love of motorcycling extends to its culture and the people who make it tick.
And here is the web site for Heroes Motors’ LA outpost. I didn’t get to the shop where the actual restoration and custom work gets done, but it’s on my list. This place, along with its location, is just about all the proof you need that moto culture is having a moment right now.
If you aren’t familiar with Snowcat, check out his YouTube channel. It’s not my thing, but you can’t argue with the numbers. He’s got an impressive following, and he can do wheelies for days.
Here’s a bit of information about Neptune’s Net. Their own web site was acting funky when this episode was recorded, but it’s not a hard place to find. And the bike parking is all right out front, where it belongs.
And just in case you thought I was kidding about car commercials at Point Mugu…
The musical breaks in this episode are from a track called ‘Surfing Day’, by Marcos Bolanos, used here under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial ShareAlike License. Check it out here.
‘California Lullabye’ is written and performed by Josh Woodward, and used here under a Creative Commons Attribution License. Josh Woodward makes all of his music free to listeners as a matter of principle. You can get to know him better and support his work by visiting his web site.