The Road Kings

Jakob on the berm at Bombay Beach
Road King and Me
Road King and Me

[dc]W[/dc]ith clear blue skies and perfect temperatures we lit out of Los Angeles like a couple of rogues after a bender which left a heap of twisted metal and broken hearts in our wake. Well, maybe it wasn’t quite so dramatic, but every once in awhile it’s really nice to just get out of LA in a testosterone fueled way, you know–rattle the bones and shake the cobwebs off, and this weekend my brutha from anutha country, Jakob, was in town from Copenhagen and we got on a couple of Road Kings and headed north on the coast highway, breathing in the salt air, wind on our faces, feeling every bit the Kings of the Road.

20120409-153307.jpgOnce through the bustling part of Malibu, we took a right and twisted our way up Malibu Canyon to Mulholland highway where we turned north again toward the famous biker hangout, the Rock Store. There were plenty of bikes there for a late Saturday morning, mostly the nimble space-aged looking rockets, a handful of other Harley’s, one vintage Indian Chief, a couple of Royal Enfield’s (Personally I think these little bikes look kind of tough but whenever I get close to one it appears to shudder like a chihuahua, as if it knows I’d mistreat it.) and this cool blue, razor-like chopper. The Rock Store is a classic destination for moto heads, and they say it is a regular stop for Jay Leno on the weekends though I’ve never seen him, but I did once see Schwarzenegger here in his pre-Governator years. Jakob and I had some coffee and chatted a bit before hitting the road again.

I normally ride Elektra Glide because of it’s smooth cushy ride and plenty of storage for my stuff (I tend to carry a lot of camera gear), but this day I’m on a Road King which has no fairing or trunk, just a clear windscreen to try and deflect the bugs. And it might seem a little odd to hear this about a Harley but I found it to be deftly spry, and powerful. With twin cylinders hollowed out to 103 cubic inches, I found myself hanging on for life and limb as I cracked it open on the long, lonely stretch of arrow-straight asphalt between point Hueneme and Oxnard. The combined force of sheer velocity and a headwind that seemed to come unencumbered screaming down the coast all the way from the Bay Area slammed into my skid lid and pulled my head back toward LA just about the time the bike seemed to say, “look I just got into 6th gear, let’s go daddy-o!” But the strain on the chin strap digging into my throat told me I’d have to wait for another day to find the top speed of this wicked ride.

We lumbered through Oxnard before meeting up with the 101 and fighting traffic most of the way to Mussel Shoals, but from there we were on the coast again and it was a clear shot to Santa Barbara, some suds and a little lunch. Although I try to get mid range rides in every now and then, I only get to ride with Jakob when he and his family come over from Denmark, so these I look forward to. I’ll throw in some images from a couple past adventures.

Author: Jeff Gatesman

I am a Cinematographer and still photographer. My favorite places are behind a camera or in front of a big screen.

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