May 13, 2013

First days

I finally make it to Roseville, a small town outside of Sacramento in northern California which is where my motorcycle journey begins. A town I had no intention of venturing to but where I happened to buy my bike.

Why here? Well, Dave was most helpful and assuring when I began looking into purchasing a bike somewhere in the southern part of the United States. It turned out to be a suitable place to start, easy enough to get to and slow enough after spending the previous week between Paris, London and New York City. I had been In Paris as Jenn was running the marathon the weekend before and to see Julie & Alex. I briefly returned to London to cap off seven great weeks with Jenn and old friends then New York as a pit stop in crossing the Atlantic. New York was endless walking and adjusting to the American way whilst meeting the amicable Ben through airbnb and crashing on his couch for a couple of days. A delayed flight and bus then brought me to Roseville, an uninviting highway town at first impression but a fresh start to good times ahead. When I arrived at the motorcycle dealership, I was directed to the Triumph section and before me happily sat my bike, behind a sign – ‘Do not sit on – this Bonneville now belongs to Joe.’ After many emails and phone calls I finally met Dave and within a couple of hours the discussions and handover were complete and I cruised out of there. I adjusted to the right lane driving and learnt the bikers salute and now can’t pass a bike without a low wave. Here we are ….
Me & Sixto:
As the first service was due after 500 miles and I was reluctant to do it myself, I planned a week long circuit to build up the mileage and return to Roseville where the service was carried out in-house at the dealership. This gave me enough time to cruise through a section of northern California, the wine country, the northern part of the pacific coast highway, San Francisco and the bay area to pick up my permanent registration and title papers. In order to purchase the bike I needed a local address. I managed to get in contact with Adam a while back, an old friend I had met in backpacking in Vietnam years ago who was happy to help out and let me have documents sent to his apartment.

Napa & Sonoma Valleys, CA: the famous wine regions of California. My self-imposed ‘no drinking while riding’ prevented me from entering the cellar doors but the isolated, winding roads in the sun were a lot of fun.

Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, CA:


Sixto: My bike is a Triumph Bonneville, English designed & engineered that has been around since the early sixties and making a resurgence in recent years. 865cc, twin cylinders, fuel injected. His name is Sixto. He gets a lot of attention on the street, ‘where you headin’ to man?’, ‘hey, sweet ride man’, ‘whoa man, they still making them?’. I’m enjoying meeting older guys who have a story to tell about when they owned a Bonneville back in the heyday, the 68’ or 73’ models, the 650cc, back when they vibrated like hell so I’m told. It’s great to see the smile of their faces whilst they reminisce. I’ve had so many encounters of this type, some at gas stations, others in car parks that go on for a while or until the wife pulls them away. Just today I stopped to chat to a beggar who told me of the Bonneville’s he and his mates had while stationed at Pearl Harbour in the 70’s and at the end of each tour they would sell them to newcomers at $1/engine cc, another told me how his caught on fire while riding to school. Always an easy way to get some conversation started.