Not far from the quasi-bohemian Arts District of downtown Los Angeles, the defeated remains of a beloved bridge are mourned. The Sixth Street Bridge’s mighty 30-foot reinforced concrete pylons stood as sentinels of the city gates. This area of Downtown LA remains a kind of urban frontier, the frayed edge of a city that seems neither alive nor dead, a shadowy place that draws motorcyclists and adventurers to its wild concrete canyons. Some long-abandoned brick warehouses and factories are now living spaces, bars and no one is quite sure what else; others house only past lives and bad dreams. If you like riding on the edge, this is home.Read More
Author: J. Joshua Placa
Somewhere in the dark garage of our motoring minds is the enduring idea that tucked behind one of those clapboard walls and buried under decades of dust and neglect, is an ancient motorcycle of great worth. All it needs is a fresh battery, maybe a little oil and a good, solid kick and it will roar back to life.Read More
Iconic brands such as Triumph, Indian, Jawa, Norton and Ariel have returned to the road, some after absences lasting longer than the company was in business. The comebacks are usually the effort of sources unrelated to the original company, buying the trademark from whomever has some claim on the brand lineage. Most recently, BSA plans a comeback focused on electric bikes, although reports indicate it may begin production with conventional fossil fuel-powered units. Anytime an old brand somehow rambles back to market, an angel gets his wings, or a biker gets his leathers, or whatever. In any event, there is joy and jubilation in bikerland.Read More
Let me preface this with a general, generic disclaimer: In technical terms, biking is not for babies. If you ride outside you will get wet sooner or later, and probably cold, and maybe a little grumpy. But it doesn’t have to ruin your good time. With the right gear, proper technique and a happy attitude, even a rainy day can be a good day.Read More
I think there is something in our biking DNA, something that makes us wonder and wander and spirit us to adventure. We may be our nation’s last living symbol of American freedom, exploring the frontier and what the hell ever comes our way. Thankfully, there are still parts of this country that seem untouched by civilization, wild and ancient and otherworldly lands.Read More
The Indian brand has been in my bloodline for almost as long as the original was in business. Grandpa rode Indians, as did biker patriot Uncle Johnnie, who had the dubious honor of crashing a 1938 Indian Four. It sat literally in baskets, moldering in a New York City basement for decades before he decided to clean out cupboards and donated it to me some 2,500 miles away, but that’s another story. Motorcycle gods blasphemy aside, the wooden bins of what looked like nothing but centuries-old grime and grit-encrusted, disembodied parts looked grim. But there was priceless gold in that dirt, even if it needed some creative coaxing, sacrifice and bags of money.Read More
The “Great Quest” is always at the back of the biker mind, especially during this pesky plague. This is a time when both the bored and the brave are chomping at the bit to traverse this vast country seeking discovery and adventure, and sometimes, if we’re feeling introspective, ourselves.Read More
As pandemic weeks turn into months and the self-isolation becomes unbearable, Biker Opening Day quickly approaches with engines silent and eyeballs ablaze with visions of the open road and destinations yet traveled. There may be nothing you can legally do with your body more exciting than grabbing your partner and jumping on a motorcycle. No other human experience heightens senses and ignites instincts like climbing atop a great chuffing beast and hurling your body through space.Read More
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