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The Sunday Morning Ride

I woke up quite early that Sunday as was normal for me. I considered quietly creeping around my sister’s house until she got up around 11, which was normal for her.

The drive from Palo Alto to Santa Rosa would change from mundane to ugly by mid-day were I to delay my departure. Instead I unzipped and opened the driver’s side of my tonneau cover, tossed my bag into The Speedster and headed out before the traffic woke up.

As I crossed the Golden Gate Bridge on this glorious summer morning I decided to enjoy Highway 1 instead of plodding along the northbound freeway. With the crack-of-dawn absence of traffic, the windy coastal road would add no time, but tremendous interest to my drive home. By this point in my 20-year relationship with it, The Speedster and I were as quick as anything I had ever met when the curves were frequent.

As we got to the edge of town marking the entry to this segment of the coastal highway, I noticed a parking lot bristling with about 50 really awesome-looking cafe’ racer bikes and riders.

Ah yes, today would be The Sunday Morning Ride. I had read and heard A LOT about it. This was years before the California Highway Patrol tried many ways, finally succeeding in slowing it down… raining on that parade.

I considered stopping, checking out the bikes and rubbing elbows with the cafe’ racers, but bikes and cars, even high performance ones, are inherently incompatible, so I rolled on in my own pleasure ride.

As I stirred the gearbox, warmed up the brakes, got my mojo working and The Speedster on song, I heard a different note. Nothing in front, to the side or in my mirrors, then as I took a sharp right-hander, a motorcycle passed me on the left!

Phew!!! I never considered using both lanes of this narrow two lane road. That’s Nutz!!! Two bikes were right behind him. I braked to get them by me on the short straight connecting that last turn with the next one.

No wonder they caught me. Their road was twice as wide as mine; turns half as sharp.

Only those three. The Speedster and I got back on song and never saw another vehicle until we returned to the main roads near my home.

It was not very long after that I bought my 1972 BSA 650 Thunderbolt, and within a few years was leading the pack of about 12 British cafe’ racers who treasured the lovely, lightly traveled Sonoma County mountain, river and coastal roads. I became the big fish in that small pond, but I never actually joined The Sunday Morning Ride.


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Thank you, Ted Dunlap