Tuesday, June 30, 2009


Large-capacity twin cylinder machines weren't the only bikes of choice on the rally, and several classic Singles made the rally with no problems. The big winner of the weekend was Kevin Burrell's '47 Velo MSS 500cc ohv, which was also one of the prettiest bikes on the ride, but I'm biased as it used to be mine! Kevin won the big King of the Melee trophy for making it look easy to ride a rigid-frame machine 900 miles in 3 days, plus a few bonus miles on the Lost Coast, on dirt roads.

Another interesting machine is Lyn Miller's Norton ES2 special, one of the rare non-Featherbed swingarm models with an all-alloy engine. It ran very well, and quickly.

The route on Day 2 incorporated the legendary Hwy 36, which is just about a perfect motorcycle road, stretching 72 miles from Red Bluff to the coast. But, we veered north midway to explore Forest Road 1 (above, with my Atlas and Frank Forster's ultra-dependable Commando tourer), which is the longest continuous 'ridge road' in the world - it follows a spur of the Coastal Range for almost 80 miles, and for long stretches the road itself IS the top of the ridge - a fall in either direction will land you in one or another valley - to the West one can see the fog lurking over the Pacific, to the East shone the snowy peaks of Mt. Lassen. FR1 climbs to about 5500' at points, and is blissfully cool during the day, with a showy array of wildflowers carpeting the dozens of small meadows bordering the road. One lane wide, no stripes, no traffic at all.

Our lunch stop was the Samoa Cookhouse, a historic building which formerly served as the canteen numerous lumber mills and shipping companies which populated this strangely-named town. The cookhouse serves the same food, in the same manner, as it always has; you get what you get, as much of it as you want, whatever they're serving that day. If you come away hungry, it's your own fault! Photos of the days when lumber was king in Arcata/Eureka line the walls, as do some of the implements of logging.

Lumber was Very Good to the burghers of Eureka, and quite a few splendid examples of High Victorian mansions survive as museums or private clubs.

But, they didn't get ALL the old-growth Redwoods, and the Avenue of the Giants is one of two large stands of these ancient behemoths untouched by the saw. For 50 miles the road threads between the tallest trees in the world, and the light filtering through the high canopy feels like the interior of a Gothic cathedral. But, we get to ride through this church, and commune with any god we choose.

The ride on Sunday totaled 340 miles, and it was a relief to arrive at our Motel, even after a nice cool stretch of Highway 1 along the ocean cliffs. As beautiful as the road is, I was ready for a shower, a meal, and a drink. Smiles prevailed at the greeting point, where your room key and a cold beer awaited (below, Phillippe Murat is happy about his beer).

A few souls had the energy to fettle, even after a long day in the saddle, on a scooter! These guys really impressed me.

By the next morning, the carnage of the weekend had become clear; all 3 chase vehicles were full, and help arrived from a local collector. A few of the machines were hors de combat, like this Triumph which has clearly had a Serious Problem with a connecting rod... ouch.

A sad fate for a BSA Gold Star and Velocette Thruxton - racing each other in the back of a pickup truck! Being chased as usual by a BSA Hornet and Triumph Bonneville, in the trailer.

As mentioned, the range of machines was dramatic, and included a multi-year veteran Lambretta (in purple, to match Barry's hair!) and this first-time '38 Indian Chief, which had a little trouble with a duff battery.

If you have an interest in joining next year, you can find more information on the Moto Melee website; the date is typically the third weekend in June, Friday thru Monday. You'll never forget the ride.

For more Melee photos, check out:
Bob Slote's Flickr page
Craig Howell's photos
Blaise Descollange's photos

Long Beach Swap Meet 2/28/09

Here we go again. Another swap meet was held last Sunday. I didn't shoot too many photos since my mission was to score parts. Below are some random pics and comments.

This cool '39 Knuck caught my eye on the way in. I had a chat with a friend of it's owner about it. He said he thought the paint was original. Something is up with the tanks. The silver and the patina/wear doesn't match the fenders plus they are missing the stripe.

Not a good photo but I wanted to show this view of the tanks. They didn't look right to me, as in too wide. The shape seemed more like the bad 3.5 gal. repops that are closer to 4 gal. They did have the petcock on the front right side. Maybe the good doctor has some input?

1971 FLH project for sale. $3500 seemed decent to me. I later noticed the Wing Nuts M/C decal in the back window of the truck.

Check the license tags. This thing hasn't seen the road since '75. Probably low miles. That's original paint on the fender. I believe H-D called it "Sparkling America" like on that year's Super Glide.

Likely built from swap meet pieces. Too bad it had S&S cases and ugly later model fork legs.

Nice pre-unit... just needs a Wassel tank.

Big Scott and the Cycle Zombie's space.

Some guy (not seller), tried to tell me this was for a '71 Super Glide. He didn't know who he was talking to. I have one and it was an option for both '70 and '71 Sportsters. I don't know when H-D stopped offering them as an accessory but, they were included in the '72 parts and accessories catalog.

A Garage Co. Knuckle. This one just isn't working for me like some others they've built.

Here's a composite panorama photo to attempt to capture the scale of the event. The chart below shows the layout of the vendors spaces. The red dot is were I stood for photo.

Those are all the 16' x 20' vendor spaces. Several times a year they completely sell out. They sometimes set up more spaces in the middle of the wide bottom aisle as they did on this day. Even on the smallest days they probably sell 60% of the spaces.

When the Swap Meet first started (before Topping Events), 20 years ago, there were only 3 to 4 events a year and they only used the red area directly below the stadium and it wouldn't even fill up. As the event grew, they opened up the large green area to the left. Later, the blue area to the right and then the purple area upper right. I'm not sure but, seem to remember the small purple area as the first motorcycle parking lot.

The motorcycle parking area. This is late in the day. I should have taken this picture earlier in the day when bikes were parked all the way up to the fence.

Here's a shot from Topping's website.

North Wales Biker Babe Search?

Xuberance Events are searching to find the Biker Babe of North Wales.

The winner of the competition will be crowned at the Motorbike Show held in Llangollen on the 1st/2nd August.

The search for the North Wales Biker Babe is being spearheaded by aspiring model Lauren Knowles (19) from Prestatyn.

Entrants will need to email a picture of themselves and a brief 50-word biography to Xuberance.
Entrants photos will be posted on the Motorbike Show website to be voted on by biker babe fans to choose the five finalists who will attend the first day of the Motorbike Show.

The winner will be chosen by a panel of judges and receive a £400 prize whicle the runners up will get £50 each.
Additionally the winner will be paid to do more promotions work on the second day of the show.

Entries for the North Wales Biker Babe competition, including the photograph and the 50 word biography, should be emailed to us@xuberance.co.uk This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it and more details about the show are available at the website www.themotorcycleshow.co.uk

Ride safe.

Jon Booth
Email: webmaster@inter-bike.co.uk
Blog: http://bestmotorstyle2011.blogspot.com//
Swicki: http://motorcycling-swicki.eurekster.com/

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Monday, June 29, 2009

One Moment You're Here and Kaboom!, You're Gone!

Why was this over the top pitchman so well liked?
(I got a big kick out of Billy myself). My guess, positive energy.

Billy and Michael were both only 50. These celebrity deaths are a reminder of a few things. Life (and death), happens while your busy making other plans... do what you like while you can... and most of us are only important to a few loved ones.

R.I.P. William

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Royal Enfield Recalls 2009 Bullet Motorcycles for Rear Wheel Lockup

Royal Enfield is recalling certain 2009 Bullet Electra E-5 EFI, Bullet G5 Classic EFI, G5 Deluxe EFI, and G5 Military EFI motorcycles.

These motorcycles can experience third gear galling on the clutch shaft due to lack of lubrication. This condition can allow the gear to seize to the shaft, causing rear wheel lock up.

196 units are affected.

Check out my Motorcycle Recalls feature for more details.

Motorcycle Pictures of the Week - Pauline and Zoo-mon

Here are my Pictures of the Week as displayed on the Motorcycle Views Website. These are taken from the Moto Pic Gallery. See Pauline on her 2009 Harley-Davidson Softail Deluxe. Also see Zoo-mon on his 2009 Phat Tire Hardtail Custom. For details, see Motorcycle Pictures of the Week.

If you'd like to see your bike as Picture of the Week, submit a picture of you and your bike along with a description of the bike.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Dutch Treat, as in Von

That's Kenny holding up the tiny Honda chopper. I believe it was called Teeny Weenie. I remember it from another magazine, maybe a later Choppers magazine. They re-ran some of the early issue features and bikes in the later large format magazine.

Big Daddy gives lots of good information about this mysterious man who had already become a character of legend in '68.

All new fuel injected Suzuki RM-Z250

Suzuki now introduces fuel injection to the motocross RM-Z250, due in dealers this autumn apparently! Plus the frame swing arm and engine has had updates, read more here.

Ride safe.

Jon Booth
Email: webmaster@inter-bike.co.uk
Blog: http://bestmotorstyle2011.blogspot.com//
Swicki: http://motorcycling-swicki.eurekster.com/

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Motorcycle fatalities drop

The MCIA have commented on the reduction of motorcycle fatalities in the DfT Transport Statistics Bulletin: Road Casualties in Great Britain - Main Results 2008.

They say:-

"493 motorcyclists were killed in 2008, the lowest number since 1996 (when 440 riders were killed) and just 26 more than the 1994-98 average of 467, the official Government baseline for road safety targets. Over the same period motorcycle use has increased over 44 per cent. These results show that mile-for-mile, motorcycling is becoming safer. "

"The reduction of 16 per cent in the number of motorcycle fatalities is a greater reduction than for road users as a whole, where fatalities for all road users have fallen just 14 per cent. The number of riders killed or seriously injured is down 10 percent on 2007, and the total number of motorcycle casualties is 8 per cent lower than in 2007."

So some positive biking news at last, though obviously 493 deaths is still 493 to many, but a 16% reduction should be applauded for all concerned who work tirelessly on improving motorcycle safety.

Ride safe.

Jon Booth
Email: webmaster@inter-bike.co.uk
Blog: http://bestmotorstyle2011.blogspot.com//
Swicki: http://motorcycling-swicki.eurekster.com/

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Thursday, June 25, 2009

First We Lost Ed

Ride On Dude! Pitching magazines, beer, and dog food in heaven.

Then it was Farrah. (at least it's a two wheeler)

Rest In Peace.

Then Michael Steals the Show

Michael J. with Diana Ross. Note the bent forks!

Happier times? In spite of his his fame and riches or maybe because of it, his life was sort of sad. While I was not really a fan, I can't dispute his talent and impact.

The Seventies are dying more each day.