Nobody can doubt that these AMCA (Antique Motorcycle Club of America) road-runners are real enthusiasts. They buy, fix, and ride their old bikes, and do not care about getting them dirty; a little, or a lot of, elbow grease can cure that problem. And if something breaks, like an 80-year-old gear in the transmission, or there is a glitch in a half-century-old ignition system – those can be fixed. The idea is to get out with your friends and ride – for three days.
That is the whole purpose of these road runs, an opportunity to meet old buddies, make new friends, and put a few hundred miles on that out-of-warranty machine. Maybe “antique” is a bit of a misnomer in the AMCA, as members’ motorcycles have to be at least 35 years old …which does allow for Suzuki Water Buffaloes and the earliest Honda Gold Wings. No matter.
The Yerba Buena chapter of the AMCA, in northern California, organized this run in September, based at the Flamingo Hotel in the city of Santa Rosa, a pleasantly old-fashioned resort that is very well maintained. Over a hundred motorcycles showed up, along with their riders and a dozen passengers, the bikes dating from 1927 to 1975. Harleys predominated, with a lot of Indians giving competition, and a smattering of European machines.
Since riding was the order of the day, each morning a new map was distributed, a meeting was held at nine o’clock, and the riders took off. The runs covered averaged about 150 miles a day, and the roads were mostly two-lane and twisty, and occasionally very steep. A catering service took care of the lunches mid-ride, since food is almost as important as riding. The weather was excellent, the days being quite warm, and the Flamingo had a lovely pool to enjoy at the end of each ride.
Most riders were from west of the Rockies, but one rode in from Florida, another from Michigan. Being the AMCA president keeps Richard Spagnolli a very busy man, but he flew in from Pennsylvania for the occasion, to ride a borrowed 1970 Electra Glide. On the third evening a banquet was laid on, prizes awarded, with yakking continuing on until the wee hours of the night – and then tearful goodbyes in the morning. Until the next road run.
More AMCA info at www.antiquemotorcycle.org
Picture-perfect but object to the quick mention of, ‘er, polishing the dirty away, i.e., cowtowing to the Harley fetish, which has nothing to do with getting hands dirty.
In my understanding, “antique” means Pre-War.