Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Escape from LA

"The three of us were still sitting there, talking aimlessly, when the patrol car suddenly jumped backward, made a tight circle in the parking lot and zoomed off down the highway. I quickly finished my beer and was packing up my tape recorder when there was a tremendous sound all around us. Seconds later, a phalanx of motorcycles came roaring over the hill from the west. Both Gut and Buzzard rushed toward the highway, waving and shouting happily. The road was dense with bikes. The hot dog stand was on the crest of a hill above Bass Lake; it was the last geographic barrier between the Angels and their destination. The police, in their wisdom, had managed to pile up at least a hundred bikes at the roadblock-where the restraining orders were ceremoniously handed out-and then release them all at once. So instead of arriving in quiet knots, the outlaws crested the hill in a great body... howling, hooting, waving bandanas and presenting the citizens with a really terrifying spectacle."
-Hunter S. Thompson "Hell's Angels"

Well it wasn't quite Hell's Angels, and I really hate how journalists automatically compare moped club to them, however, this was certainly the most lawless moped rally I've ever experienced.

On Friday night, after blasting the pack I realized that I had missed a turn. Upon turning around and catching up with the slow pack, I pushed my way to the front along with Carl from the Latebirds. As we pushed up, we realized that the large white SUV was talking to us, "Pull over to the side of the road RIGHT NOW!!!" Naturally, Carl and I looked at each other and knowing full well that the slow bikes would serve as sacrificial lambs, we rode as fast as we could away from the scene. Six or seven other bikes seemed to have the same idea and Carl and I rode through side roads and alleys until we returned to the warehouse. Later, after being assured that the large group was at a bar near by, I struck out on my own. It wasn't long though, until LAPD found me and pulled me over. I don't have a license plate and forgot to turn my tail flasher on so I suppose I was a bit conspicuous. I played ignorant and after learning that I didn't have any priors, I wasn't drunk, and I was from a small fishing village in the north-country called Seattle, they let me go telling me that I was not going to get a ticket, however I was not street legal and that they were aware of the moped presence in LA this weekend.

Over the rest of the weekend there were intermittent police interactions, the one in particular, that made me think of the above Hunter S. Thompson quote, was somewhere near Glendale, we had ridden for about an hour or so, and we were about to ride Angel's Crest. What is Angel's Crest you ask? I wish I could tell you. I heard that it was going to be AMAZING but as we fired up our bikes and were moments from pulling out, word came down that there was a roadblock of forest rangers that had already stopped five bikes. Other than the word "Roadblock" coming into the rally lexicon, that was about as eventful as the Angel's Crest ride got.

The greatest moment in moped-policio interaction came on Sunday night. After a hard day of riding and hanging out, Rosanna and myself and a bunch of other mosquitos were sacking out in the bus when Travis yells, "Oh shit! There is a police helicopter outside and they have Nik and Cam up against the wall at gunpoint!" So I rose sort of Dracula style from my spot in the fron t of the bus and peered outside and indeed there was a full on Rodney King style LAPD assault on a couple of Latebirds. Ok, I suppose technically no one was being assaulted, but there were certainly shotguns pointed at the heads of my friends. Apparently, some smart people who will remain nameless were lighting off fireworks and shooting roman candles at a puddle of gasoline. So after the cops figured out that it was not gun fire but instead fireworks in the ghetto, they told Nik and Cam that they were idiots and then left the neighborhood.

All in all, the rally was the most fun rally I've ever been to. And there are far to many stories to encapsulate in a hundred blog entries.

Thanks Latebirds!


  1. Ahhh LAPD, I will miss you so. That was a great weekend.

  2. I was in the ANgelus Crest roadblock crew. It was pretty funny, but we still got to bomb the rest of the way down with police escort.