Surf Riders

On a day off, do you go surfing or motorcycle riding? John L. Stein and a group of friends decided to do both.

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Seth DeDoes
Where there’s a swell, there’s a way. Fitted with panniers, camping gear and short boards, a 1974 Honda CB550 Four, 1975 Honda CB550 Super Sport and 1982 Kawasaki KZ550 negotiate a central California mountaintop on their way to surf destiny.

Sometimes while drifting toward sleep, my mind turns to motorcycles, and what next to do with them. I’m probably not alone in this.

There’s a cafe racer that needs building, so I envision a shop with the right tools, parts and materials — and unhurried time. There’s also a tour I’d like to take — across the northern plains, borne by the wind. But then, there’s surfing. Ah, that soul sport, where wave energy moves across oceans unseen, only to arise as a ridable wall of water before breaking onshore. I used to surf. A lot. And the dream of finding perfect conditions — tall, glassy waves on a point break with no one else out — is a worthy one. But what about combining both loves — riding and surfing? Hey, maybe it could happen. But how?
Friends. Friends is how everything good happens.

Boards on bikes

I liken motorcycle trips to dinner parties, in which the preparation often takes way longer than the actual event. This was true for the seemingly simple ride-surf-camping trip seen here because the 1974 Honda CB550 K0 I’d intended to ride — a mild So-Cal custom surviving from the disco era — had years ago been put away “wet,” and as a result California’s ethanol-laced gasoline residue had clogged both the fuel petcock and carburetors. As well, the front disc brake piston was frozen in its bore, preventing the front wheel from even turning. These service matters, plus a sulfated battery and a misfire, were rectified with shop time and parts, but more vexing was the puzzle of how to carry surfboards on the motorcycles. I’d seen a few bicycles and scooters with boards, and photos of big ADVs carrying them, but no classic bikes.

  • Updated on Aug 10, 2021
  • Originally Published on Jul 26, 2021
Tagged with: beach, motorcycle outings, surfing
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