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2012 San Francisco 49 Mile Ride

October 29, 2012

bob slote

Thank you to Bob Slote for the Batman/49 graphic!


Kim and I would like to thank the Yerba Buena AMCA club for help, especially Vince Spadaro, who took care of everything at the boat club. And of course, thanks to the Bayview Boat Club for allowing us to use their facilities for the day.  Thank you to the riders who went ahead of the crowd and marked the corners so we didn’t have to check our maps.  And we want to thank everybody who donated to the Shriner’s Hospital for Children.  And thanks to everybody who attended the ride!



Yesterday was our annual 49 Mile Ride, and it was loads of fun.  Sunshine, 300 old bikes, old friends and new friends, BBQ tri tip and Anchor Steam, and more than a little chaos.



To facilitate some chaos, we changed the route again this year.  It is a new route each year, with plenty to see in SF.  This year we departed from the Bayview Boat Club and promptly rode through SOMA, across Market St and then through the Chinatown gate.  This was in honor of Jason Friend’s selection of that landmark for the artwork on the ride T shirt.  Each year the artist chooses an SF landmark for the shirt, and it seemed appropriate to infiltrate Chinatown and North Beach for some midmorning smoke, noise and clutch burning.


One of my favorite aspects of the 49 Mile Ride is the variety of machines.  We allow anybody and any motorbike, as long as it was made before 1975.   That has resulted in an assortment of machines that I think must be unique in old bike rides.   I cannot count the marques of bikes, but just listing the countries of origin will illustrate my point.  We had bikes from America, England, Japan, Germany, Spain, Russia, Denmark, and Italy.

P10107182 wheeled variety: a Greeves and a HD



A few good costumes this year!  He rode his bike with this on too.



P1010637Lori, Jason, and Max came in their costumes as Popeye, Olive Oil and Sweetpea.  They won the award for best costume, a box of Rice A Roni, the San Francisco Treat.






Custom seat cover on the Velocette


Red bikes:  Moto Guzzi


more red bikes:  Aermacchi and Motobi


now a green bike.  This one is Ricky Najera’s panhead, and he won the Girl’s Choice award; a big block of Ghirardelli’s chocolate.



A super sweet HD topper, with some really nice pinstriping all over it.  They won the Ladie’s Choice award, a package of organic honey donated by Bee Gurl.


two of the three Nimbus bikes


love the red fork gaiters.


the roads were a bit bumpy/fuzzy

P1010796 P1010821a pic from my pillion daughter.  In fact, she took all of the motion shots and many of the stills in this article.



Crissy Field and GG bridge.



Lucky Bastards MC rode 400 miles up to SF for the day, and rode back home before dinner.




variety: Italjet and Matchless






Don from Scuderia had some fun playing with his spark plugs on his new Indian flat track race bike.  P1010873


Fort Point parking lot filled with 300 bikes and riders, plus a gaggle of tourists and one happy park ranger.  There was just a touch of fog in the Golden Gate, but none of it came onto land and we rode in sunshine all day.  There were no dolphins this year, and nobody did a suicide jump off the bridge this year either.



View from Twin Peaks.



variety: Sutro Tower and BSA, misc scooter, Honda, Nimbus, Velocette, Matchless, etc.


Jim Abbot collects his prize for the Long-Distance Award, a set of postcards from San Francisco.  Jim came all the way from Arizona to ride for the day.



Simon won a copy of Modern Motorcycle Mechanics and also a copy of Prairie Dust, Motorcycles and a Typewriter, both donated by author/publisher Greg Williams.  Simon’s award was the newcomer award, for restoring a bike that was first ridden yesterday on the 49 Mile Ride.



Simon’s Triumph.  A very nice restoration, especially for his first one.




More photos here:

12 Comments leave one →
  1. October 29, 2012 10:42 am

    So fun! Sorry I missed the ride AGAIN this year…didn’t even judge at Del Mar as expected but caught a flight to NYC. Had to see the hurricane! Bob Slote’s batman pic is beyond excellent…

  2. carl permalink
    October 29, 2012 11:35 am

    that looks a fantastic day out pete,I never got to see the GGB it was coverd in thick fog both times,your girl is taking some great photos,much better than her old man lol,soon as I get 6 numbers up I’m gonna come on a whole years worth of your rideouts,cheers CCCD

  3. October 29, 2012 12:22 pm

    Gotta love the Priest w portable confessional on his 250 Ducati single.

  4. October 29, 2012 1:12 pm

    I see you had a screaming 1970 CB350 or there abouts. That bike is ton up. I had a new one. Any Honda 4’s show up? Mine starts conversations, but not with police so far, thankfully. Loud pipes still save lives??? Hehheh. What was the oldest bike? jThanks, Paul V

    • October 29, 2012 1:27 pm

      lots of Honda 4s. 350cc, 400, probably a 550 and some 750’s too. I didn’t get time to take many photos though. Oldest bike was Victor’s 1914 HD, but no pics.

  5. October 29, 2012 1:19 pm

    Also ooooouuhhhhhhh……CL450 Honda Scrambler. It’s a hot rod. Seldom seen and a beautiful and powerful bike in my opinion. Thanks again, Paul

  6. October 29, 2012 6:00 pm

    Looks like a great day! I’d love to see the bridge again, jumpers or not…Mike

  7. October 30, 2012 12:05 am

    Very nice report. And some great rides. I still need to visit SF some day, but being a Dutchy it isn’t cheap. Would love to ride the streets like this though. 😉

  8. November 1, 2012 9:58 am

    Interesting motorcycles, and great photographs, thanks for the report. If you or your readers are in New England in the fall we have been running the Pewter Run for pre-1950 motorcycles since 2005. The event coincides with the fall foliage and is a great run for vintage enthusiasts. More inf at: or google it. Would love to have you Pete one year. Regards,
    Mark Gibson

    • November 1, 2012 10:05 am

      Mark, that sounds like a lot of fun! Timed runs are a challenge, and I’m not afraid to say that I took last place on day one of the Irish Rally this year. I’ve never been to New England, but I’d love to see it in the fall. The route and trips to the historic buildings and locations are right up my alley. If I can’t make it next year, I’ll see if I can send Paul d’Orleans in my stead.

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