“Dude I’m fuckin sick of the same old rides over the Golden Gate and into Marin or snakin’ down Lombard. Only lived here for a year and am so been there, done that.” – “Yeah,” says Jordan, “I heard there’s supposed to be some nice riding to be had… it’s the f’n West Coast with sun and the Pacific and Redwoods and Big Sur and…”
“Big Sur? The great South?” – “Yeah” – “FUCK!” – “Rides of March is up!”
Rides of March is a rally down in San Luis Obispo, a supposedly unspoilt part of California, the Central Coast (phew! I couldn’t be down in Socal with all those dumbfuck Hollywood douchebags), with nothing but Santa Cruz and Big Sur between it and San Francisco. 10 hours of riding taking in highway 1 winding its path between the steep mountains to the left and endless Pacific tranquility to the right.
But hang on – that’s 200 miles to go! On 101. Down the coast, that climbs up to 280. “We oughtta truck the 40 year old shopping bikes down there! No way we can make it! Maybe take in a couple of miles of Big Sur”. That was 4 weeks before the weekend. “Dude maybe we should only truck to Santa Cruz and then go all the way.” 3 weeks before. “Fuck it, we’ll go all the way! Let’s hit Santa Cruz on Thursday and then the ride of the year on Friday.” That’s the plan, nailed down 2 weeks before take off.
OK, Lambretta TV175 ’65 and a Rally 180 daily rider beat up bike. I can sense people putting money down on who’ll blow up first. Whatever. I have faith, man.
Last technical inspections on the Lambretta reveal that all new wiring and a fast flow fuel tap are required. Internet research reveals not enough gas stops in Big Sur to make it. But I remember this spot in Gorda that had the most expensive fuel in all of the nation? Like $5.20 per gallon? Good enough. That shoulnd’t be more than 80 miles from Carmel. Faith, man.
We meet at my place on Buena Vista Park. Off through the Castro for a fuel stop and then onto 101. San Bruno hill looms… Engine puttering nicely…. then BANG! Before I even manage to go for the clutch it’s over. Nothing. Just a little bang. WTF? Must be these old ignitions. OK, keep on pushing. We head past 101 to get some mileage down and then cut across to 280, down a few exits and up into the hills. The Bay Area unfolds below us. The bikes happily go. Through some stunning twisties the bikes plow their way up the ridge and towards the long descent into Santa Cruz. 50 miles to go. 30. 20. Hit reserve. Into Santa Cruz with no trouble. Yeah! Find a hotel and hit the sack.
We solemnly glide past the amazing houses and architecture the rich fucks built this close to the ocean. Nice, enjoyin’ it. Then, Carmel-by-the-sea. Last known gas stop before Big Sur.
Ok, that’s what we were waiting for. Cars avoid this area, it’s too fuckin’ slow anyway. We go down 1. The most beatiful landscape presents itself. Dramatic scenery, great riding. Long bridges from the 30’s, gently curving, sometimes drastically twisting roads ahead of us. The first gas stop in Big Sur city. Nice little river flowing, unusually Alpine look, feels a bit like home (Bavarian Alps). We just keep on riding. And riding. Pure pleasure. The bikes go and go. BTW, the TV is a bit quicker top speed on the flat out… Hehehe.
San Luis Obispo
Big Sur ends kinda uneventful into Carayucas (or something like that) and Morro Bay with its untasty factory chimneys. We ride down, head into SLO, and make it. MAKE IT! No break downs, no problems. 300 miles, an easy ride!
Can’t tell you much about the rally itself as a couple chicks came down to join us on Saturday and we got pretty hammered with them in a bar… Hey but we did win farthest travelled to the rally. On vintage bikes for sure!
See you on the road.