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Dirigible Hanger, Marin County

March 1, 2013

La Dolce Vita.  We live a sweet life in the San Francisco Bay Area.  The locale is blessed with great weather, great roads, and interesting people.  Last weekend we were able to ride 3 days on the 1913 Veloce to break it in and find the weak points of the machine.  Nothing major broke, but there was some time spent learning just where to put the air and throttle levers when starting the bike, how far to retard the ignition when climbing a hill, etc.  And that darn V belt just keeps stretching!


Paul and Susan asked us to meet them and Conrad up in the Marin Headlands for day three of our riding holiday.  They had spotted an old barn and wanted to make some tin type colloidion photos of the bikes and people.  Look for the tintypes on Paul & Susan’s and the Vintagent and/or their respective Facebook pages.

P1030289It looked like a big barn, but it was very tall.  A local who was on horseback told me that it used to be a hangar for a dirigible that was used to patrol the Pacific Coast during WWII.  There were several of them stationed in California, used to spot enemy ships or planes.  The most famous site is down at Moffett Field.  There are gigantic hangars there.


We pushed the bikes inside through the soft dirt that had been loaded onto the cement floor (to cushion the horse’s feet who use the ‘barn’?)



Paul doing his best Rollie Free imitation


A photo through the big mirror at the far end of the barn.  Each sunbeam has an old British motorcycle in it.  The local kids had written silly messages in the dust.  Much better than the graffiti and tags in the city.


The holes in the roof gave very interesting beams of light in the afternoon.  The effect was helped as our feet kicked up some dust.

  P1030337Eric Ristau joined us while he is filming his documentary about motorcycling and motorcyclists.  It will be some time before it is done, but I’ll be sure to post more info.


Kim and her 1930 KSS in the dust.


A photo of Conrad taking a photo of Paul, taking a photo of Kim.


Kim snapped this one of Susan.  We cannot see her face, but the sunlight was very fun and challenging.


I rode out past the NIKE missile sight, out to the Point Bonita lighthouse.  There is a viewpoint there, way out at the tip of the Golden Gate where you can look back in, and see the bridge and the city and some of the headlands and maybe a nude beach with black sand.  Getting the bike up the hill took several attempts, but it was worth it to get out there and enjoy the fresh air.

Looking at the photo reminds me of how much I want to paint the tank and get rid of the primer.  The red and cream panels and gold striping and lettering will really look so much better than red oxide primer.  It will have to wait though…

6 Comments leave one →
  1. Doug Lyon permalink
    March 2, 2013 12:59 am

    Beautiful and very atmospheric – that certainly looks like a day to remember! There’s something 1960’s about the images I think?

    Stretching belts goes with the territory. I have a link belt, and have taken plenty of links out already, but it takes about 20 minutes each time. I have yet to design a tool to do it that A) works and B) can be carried on the bike. Absolutely no hope on a cold day!

  2. March 2, 2013 1:20 am

    fantastic pics mate,love the bike

  3. March 2, 2013 11:52 am

    Lovely machine. Would you let me know where the handlebar grips are from? Looking for something for a ’24 Douglas with 1 inch bars. Love your work, please keep it up.

  4. Anonymous permalink
    March 5, 2013 9:42 am

    Hi Pete, The hangar is great,where is it located?
    Sid Squid

    • March 5, 2013 4:20 pm

      Hi Sid. Through the tunnel to the Marin Headlands, about 3/4 of a mile on the left. Pass the horse corral, up a dirt road about 100 yards. If you are riding up there, try not to scare the horses with loud exhaust pipes. 🙂

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