Riding through the US desert has been on our life to-do list since before we started this business. Ontario is a long way from California, and it became an area that we talked ourselves out of going to for the usual reasons of not enough time and too much money. Then Andrew sent me a link to a company that looked good enough to knock us out of our comfort zone and make it happen. The Roadery got me because they put a bit of effort into visually explaining what they are about without making me dive into a poorly designed website full of bikes I have no interest in riding. I booked the longest self-guided trip they offered, from LA to Las Vegas, and set some extra time in LA to lurk our store crushes and meet with the people behind our favorite brands. My boyfriend/casual store employee Liam also had some business in LA, so he came too. Here is the full story, in a few short entries, about the best trip we have done yet.
Day 1: Picking Up the Bikes and Seeing The Sights They say LA is a terrible city to ride in, but if you have fun riding in Toronto, LA is a breeze. The city is quite sprawling, and not all the motorcycle attractions are together, so having a bike day one is a must. The Roadery's rental program is provided through the company Eagle Rider, which is a huge company with locations all across the United States. This was a great relief to know that if there were any problems with our rented bikes, there would be lots of help from Eagle Rider locations close by. We showed up at the LA location and were greeted by friendly staff who set us up with our bikes for the week. There's lots of different bikes to choose from including Triumph, Harley Davidson and BMW. We both decided to try out Sporters since neither of us have owned one ourselves. Don't be afraid to make sure you get the right bike by riding around the area first. I ended up having to swap out for an 883 with shorter controls due to my height and the staff were more than accommodating. Part of why we booked the Roadery was so we could just show up and go. Being as busy as we are, we did no prior research into where we were going. The Roadery booked the hotels and gave us a guide book of route options and maps, and I was excited to enter the comfortable unknown. The rental bikes were equipped with small saddlebags, and cable locks (which double as helmet locks) but we opted for our own luggage systems which are easier to get on and off. Once on the bikes we met up with some of the people behind our favorite brands.
Vince from Ugly Bros runs is a one man powerhouse. He is responsible for bringing Ugly Bros into North America, and is a great resource on what is happening in LA. We met him at Deus in Venice Beach. Roland Sands is a place where it is impossible not to get excited just thinking of. Some of the most interesting bikes, parts and gear on the market come out of their LA shop. They are killing it and it is inspiring to know that the people behind the brand are as great as you want them to be. Their space is filled with refreshing ideas and we had to make a real effort not to fan out on some of the secret bikes that were being built on while we were there. To get the whole picture of what the Roland Sands team is involved with we went to check out their concept store with Power Plant Motorcycles. For the Love of Motorcycles had some killer bikes on the floor and showcases the entire Roland Sands line as well as some of our personal favorites like Ugly Bros denim. It will make you want to ride a cooler looking bike, so beware.
We were curious to check out Aether and what they were working on for their motorcycle line. You definitely understand how they do the technical side so well from looking at their design room and learning that they are all riders themselves making products they know work. They talked about their own adventures (that you can check out here) and made us jealous that we don't live closer.
Two places with really good reputations and (Instagrams) are TriCo and Glory Sales. Conveniently they are side by side. Both shops are staffed with the nicest people and support great brands and also the LA community in general, it was nice to talk with like-minded people.
Thanks to a tip from Lawrence Hacking I couldn't leave LA without making a stop in at the iconic Garage Company. Although it functions as a service shop, the attraction is in the collection of so much motorcycle history in one space. With no one around we walked every aisle taking it in. What they call a must see.