Sunday, August 19, 2007


Pete Young,
Paul Adams, and myself have been wanting to host a day ride exclusively for older motorcycles, which we named the 'Girder Fork Run', although it was open to motorcycles with leading link, leaf sprung, trailing link, paralellogram, or other non-telescopic forks. I didn't get an exact count, but around 25 machines rolled up to the Alpine Inn in Portola valley this morning, ranging in age from my '28 Sunbeam to several '49 Indians and Paul Zell's Velocette mkVIII KTT. His bike fills the first two pix, and what a beautiful machine it is; some afficianados consider the mkVIII one of the most beautiful motorcycles ever made, and I'd have to agree. It's great that Paul rides it regularly on the roads of the Bay Area. It easily outclassed all other bikes present in terms of performance, and we hardly saw Paul all day, as he did the 80-mile route twice... we were lapped!

Next pic shows Pete giving our riding instructions in the morning outside the Alpine Inn, established in 1852. It's a funky old plank-floor bar, and a great spot for a ride locus, sitting at the edge of Arastradero and Alpine Roads, both very motorcycle-friendly, if you like narrow, winding, hilly, and pot-holed tracks. Lots of bicycles on the road too, which can be quite a hazard.

Paul Adams' '38 Model 18 Norton Trials model is the next pic, which he finished last year. Paul is one of the premier Norton restorers on the globe, and has a great collection of mostly racing machines from '23 - '62, both restored and unrestored. This Trials model handles beautifully and has a great bark.

Next is a '30 Indian Scout, slightly bobbed, owned by Indian Rick DeCost. It gets along well; there was a large contingent of Indian riders accompanying the Britbikes, and they seemed to get along ok with the narrow bumpy roads, although their forte is something more sweeping.

Kevin Burrell's '29 Norton Model 18 was ridden two-up with his son on the 'flapper bracket'; he only complained about the bigger bumps. Kevin bought this bike with incorrect petrol and oil tanks, and has made a nice job of bringing the machine back to standard, and running very well.

Charlie Taylor's Matchless Model X, with it's 1000cc v-twin sidevalve engine, is a touch of exotica among the other rarities on the ride. The engine is shared with the Brough Superior SS80, and is smooth and docile.

Paul Adams stands in the shade of a light pole halfway through the ride; the weather was just about perfect all day. His smile speaks volumes about the quality of the ride - good job Pete!

Well, he had work to do though... as usual, adjusting Kim's '30 KSS. Note copious oil drops.
Still the San Gregorio General Store is a nice spot to work on a bike. The store had some live acoustic music, groceries, books, and a bar!