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2011 SF 49 Mile Ride

October 30, 2011

Riding old bikes with friends.  A living, breathing museum of bikes being used as their maker intended.  Seeing, hearing, touching and even borrowing old bikes that you don’t get to see everyday.  Bouncing down the streets of SF, enjoying the views with friends, kicking tires and telling parking lot lies.  What a great day.


Today was the 11th annual San Francisco 49 Mile Ride.  We had a great turnout, with over 300 old motorbikes riding around the scenic 49 Mile Drive.  Wow, 300 old bikes!  The ride has grown from 9 bikes the first year, to a typical turnout of 200-225 for the last few years.  But I guess that word has spread a bit further, and the attendance was way up. 


We were lucky again this year, and had 80 degree weather so that we could ride in T shirts.  I think that things went pretty well, and we raised several hundred dollars for the Shriner’s Hospital for Children.  Here are some photos that I took.  More and better ones should be on the internet from other guys tomorrow.  Winking smile


A variety of bikes, that’s what the 49 Mile Ride is about.  Any bike is welcome that was made pre 1975.  So we get Italian Benellis, English Vincents, American Indians, German BMWs, Japanese Suzukis, Austrian Puchs, even two Danish Nimbuses (Nimbii?)



BMWs, Vincent and Indian



Rich Ostrander, aka Dr. Sprocket



A hot rod Norton



The blue Nimbus.  OHC motor, rubber bands for seat springs.  Frame made of metal bars and rivets.   There were two of them on the ride this year, and they were probably the most-photographed bikes of the day.


nimbus (plural nimbi or nimbuses)

  1. A circle of light; a halo.



Victor and his 1914 HD single speed made it up the hill to Twin Peaks.  I’m not sure what’s going on with the pumpkin head on a stick mounted to his bike?



Jeff and Mike



I like the armored cables.  They echo the curves and circles of the exhaust and the springer front end.  Did you spy the pinup girl on the mousetrap?IMG_9932


More variety.  Guzzi, Indian and some panheads



1928 BMW.  He won the Rice A Roni award.  I think that this one is doing the Motorcycle Cannonball in 2012.



My six year old picked this bike to win the Kid’s Choice Award.  He liked the flames.  The trophy is a Duck on Bike, always a hit with kids of all ages.




This little Motom won the Espresso Beans trophy.  Tough bike.






I didn’t catch the story on this bike.  An electric race bike.  Not quite my cup of tea, but there was a crowd of guys asking questions about it.IMG_9938


Inside the Bayview Boat Club.  You should think about becoming a member.



View from the yard in the boat club.IMG_9955


Lots of Velocettes today; MAC, MSS, Venom, KSS, and even a GTP two stroke.  And only a few of them had piston seizures… 



View from the sidecar while going down Lombard St.  (the crookedest)



Some local color


bricks of Lombard St.IMG_9887


More variety



Old Guys Rule



Another view of that VincentIMG_9904

riding down Lombard St 2011


Charlie and his Matchless Model X


These photos show some of the bikes, but I missed at least half of them.  The next post will have links to pics from some friends.

7 Comments leave one →
  1. October 30, 2011 9:10 pm

    Your Excelsior is softly weeping over in the corner, “IIIIIIiiiiiiiiiiiim sooooo alooonnnnnee. Wwwwwooooowooohoooooooooooooo. Sob.”

  2. Tyler permalink
    October 31, 2011 12:00 am

    Another great day, thanks Pete and crew.

  3. Somer permalink
    October 31, 2011 3:56 am

    Looks like a nice day and nice bikes!

  4. Anonymous permalink
    March 13, 2012 7:31 pm

    Thanks so much. I shared this on my blog at I couldn’t find your email address… do you write about traveling in the SF Bay Area? Best, Carla

    • March 14, 2012 9:35 am

      Hi Carla. I write just a bit about SF. You can search the site using the search box on the right side of the screen. Most travels with old bikes and cars avoid the city, and stick to the quiet backroads. There are a lot of articles about rides in North California. In the pull down menu on the right called Categories of Articles, click on “Rides” to see hundreds (maybe thousands?) of photos and 99 articles to date. regards, Pete


  1. More 49 Mile Ride « Cary and John
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