So I rode to LA and met the guys

Dailies -


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The trip from Wes’ house in Hollywood from mine in Scottsdale is 387 miles — that’s 5 hours and 42 minutes of riding a café racer through the hellish desert into gorgeous LA. Luckily, the I-10 is fairly straight and I was able to maintain speeds between 80 and 90 the entire way. However going anything over 80 miles an hour on a bike that’s not so streamlined and lacks a windshield is like going rounds with Muhammad Ali. Really thankful that I have leathers — getting hit by shit at 90 miles an hour hurts. Ever have a bee explode on you at 90mph? Not bad for my first long distance motorcycle trip.

A vintage BSA at the Festival of Thump.

Festival of Thump
I came over to LA to get out of Arizona for a bit (it’s a long story) and go to Deus Ex Machina’s Festival of Thump. I wanted to see vintage bikes, which I never get to see in my native desert (Check out the gallery below for all the awesome bikes). The Festival of Thump celebrates the single cylinder engine motorcycle and all its glory. I saw motorcycles I’ve only seen pictures on the internet of — Vincents, full-blown custom cafe racers, and pretty much anything that was vintage. Every bike that I wanted to see in person, I saw. The Deus Ex Machina store is excellent and has all the cool toys and motorcycle related apparel and art. Deus’ art is incredible, even their e-mails are pretty. I met a ton of cool people — talked bikes all day and drank a whole lot of beer. As the Facebook invite said —> “All hail the single cylinder. It’s the hardest working engine in motorcycling and it deserves serious respect.”

Lanesplitting on Thruxton is surprisingly easy.

Lanesplitting is Awesome!
When I hit the California border, I had forgotten I could lane split — it wasn’t until I hit West Covina that I saw other bikers signaling me on to split with them — the AZ plates gave me away I guess. After trying it a couple times myself, I realized how easy it was and start lane splitting like crazy. I’d never expected cars to get out of the way for me in any situation on a motorcycle ever. Anything from cheap Honda Civics to $100,000+ vehicles were getting out of the way for me — it was just insanity. Compared to riding in Arizona, it meant that I never had to wait for lights because I could split to the front, I could maintain my speed, and I only had to stop for stop signs. If you’ve never ridden a motorcycle in LA, you really haven’t ridden a motorcycle at all.

I had five hours of views like this with all the twisties I’ve ever wanted.

Malibu is a Motorcyclist’s Paradise
California is absolutely beautiful — its a real treat to ride through it. It’s the complete opposite of the barren desert area I live that only has straight roads and basically no turns. Adey, the man who just reviewed the special edition GSXR1000 for HFL, took me through Sunset Boulevard all the way up to Pacific Coast and into the mountains of Malibu.

Adey rides like a pro and it was impossible for me to keep with him — he had to wait at every stop sign for me.

Malibu is truly a motorcyclist’s paradise — wrapping curves that last forever and lead up to some of the most picturesque views I’ve ever seen. I rode up through Mulholland drive to the Rock Store, stopped and talked bikes with a bunch of people I’ve never met before. Adey took off to “do his thing” — record videos of himself riding like mad — and gave me directions on how to get back home. Then I rode though the infamous Snake and onto Kanan Road back to the Pacific Coast Highway. I rode the PCH — enjoyed its beauty and the lane splitting — all the way back to Sunset Boulevard. That’s probably the most amazing Sunday I’ve had in a long while — next you are in LA, ride through Malibu, youll never regret it.

Southern California is definitely paradise when it comes to two wheels — I don’t think anywhere else in the US could be a better place for motorcyclists. The roads, the bikers, and everything that comes with owning a motorcycle is at its peak there. I’ll be moving soon, see you there.

  • stever

    norcal is better. more roads, more trees, fewer people.

    Oakland to Sactown, Bay Area and back down.

    Oaktown… Oakland definitely in the house.
    Frisco, yeah, Frisco…
    You know LA up in this… Pasadena, where you at?
    Yeah, Inglewood… Inglewood always up to no good.
    Even Hollywood tryin’ to get a piece of that.
    Sacramento, Sacramento, where you at?
    Yeah… Throw it up y’all! Throw it up! Throw it up!

    • JB

      I hear California is nice to the homeless

    • Lars Larson

      I agree. NorCal IS better.

      I just moved up from SoCal and have no regrets.

  • Dennis Hightower

    Nice enthusiasm, DS. Good to appreciate what’s around us.
    Is that “thumper face” on BSA guy?

    • Dan

      Even better is the suspicious-looking guy in the checkered cap behind him. He looks like he’s plotting his revenge against the three guys on the corner.

  • Raphael Sassi

    Awesome! I made my very first long-distance trip on my old 94 Yamaha to LA from Pheonix, great ride. Wish I could still be out there.

    • Raphael Sassi

      I wish there was a HFL back then.

  • Kevin

    “Southern California is definitely paradise when it comes to two wheels — I don’t think anywhere else in the US could be a better place for motorcyclists.”

    Yeah, Northern Cal smokes Southern Cal. And I live in Southern Cal.

    • socalutilityrider

      I think the real answer is that they’re both awesome in different ways. I like the roads down here though. Seems like more space than up there.

  • Jon Bekefy

    I live in norcal and would rather be in the desert. Go figure.

  • Joshua Winn

    Damn woulda been there if I knew it was happening, love those thumpers

    • sean macdonald

      follow them on some form of social media. they’re great about posting that stuff mulitple times in multiple places and they have events a few times a month.

  • MeatyBeard

    Lived in both Norcal and Socal. Both have advantages. Norcal is nicer, better standard of living. Socal you can literally ride all year. I do. Sold the car last year.

    • Mark Desrosiers

      You can ride all year in NorCal, too. You just need better rain gear.

      I just rode down to SoCal and out to Palm Springs this past weekend. The scenery and sun are amazing, but the wind out in the desert is SCARY. 50 mph cross winds for 30 miles are not my idea of a good time. Find any trouble with the wind on 10 between Indio and Beaumont, or am I just being a pansy?

      • sean macdonald

        That’s not a daily issue. I’ve been on that stretch more than a dozen times and only had bad wind once or twice. Take the 60 next time, theres this little stretch that breaks up the highway miles really nicely.

      • Ken Lindsay

        Definitely not being a pansy. That can be brutal, being sand blasted and baked at the same time. Need a full face and something with water on those days. If you need to get off the 10, try the 111 highway for a bit. Also, once you hit the mountains, there are a few backroads that will get you where you need to go. I forget the road numbers, but I take a road out of Temecula and go over the mountains to get to Palm Springs that is really nice. The pavement can be a bit loose in the shade though…

        • Frank W Jones

          think you might be talkin ortega highway?

  • BillW

    Daniel, you need to get out more. There are some good roads out of the Phoenix area (60 to Show Low comes to mind, and I’ve only ridden there when passing through), and California has way more to offer than just LA.

    There were plenty of non-thumpers past that “Thumpers Only” sign, it would seem. For example, the BMW and Vincent were both twins.

  • Hank

    Yes, stay down in So cal, it is best..stay down there.