Tigh's Chatbot

West Coast Day 1: Riding Out of Dreamforce on a Ducati

 This morning, after speaking at Dreamforce, and meeting a truly staggering amount of people, I rented a Ducati Hypermotard to ride up the California coast. Many more pictures and video are forthcoming, but I have spotty wifi at the moment, and will add some pics as I can.

I got a bit of a late start today, and stopped in Santa Rosa to see family, but I managed about 300 miles today, most of which were incredibly twisty, on some of the most incredible roads I've ever seen.

The trip out of San Francisco

I had done quite a bit of research before choosing a bike rental outfit called EagleRider, one of the largest motorcycle firms in the country
 After contemplating renting first a Triumph Bonneville, and then an Indian Scout, I decided to take advantage of the technical nature of the roads out west and rent a sport bike.  Although a Bonnie or a Scout were about half the price (about $80-109 / day), the roads in California present a unique opportunity to challenge your skills as a rider, and a few of my friends back in NYC peer-pressured me into considering a Ducati (big surprise, right?).
 I had a few DOC and friend referrals to a a guy named "Mo" running a place called Eaglerider San Francisco Bmw Ducati Honda Motorcycle Rental, about a half an hour south of downtown SF.  Although I was a bit nonplussed with my inability to negotiate any type of discount, Mo turned out to be a really nice guy and I decide to rent a Hyperstrada.
I really wanted a bike with a bit of balls, but moreso something that would be comfortable in a variety of different situations, as I was hoping to ride as many different kinds of roads as possible (urban, technical twisties, choppy or dirt mountain), and the Hypermotard is the closest thing Ducati makes to supermoto style bike. 
I fell in love with the bike as soon as I got on it.  Firstly, I was a little afraid that the Hyper would be too high, but the Hyper"strada" sits a little lower, and is slightly tweaked to be a little more of a touring bike rather than an aggressive enduro-style motorcycle. 
Secondly, the handling is incredibly responsive, and the geometry totally different than the last couple crazy superbikes I've been riding. Instead of trying to hang off the side of a 160hp machine, the travel of the front suspension meant that you maneuver the bike largely by pushing down on the front forks. As a result, while the power is quite a bit less than my own bikes, I got the feeling that the Hyper was considerably more nimble, perfect for bailing me out around a 15mph corner on some deserted mountain road. 
I took off early, and immediately headed over the Golden Gate Bridge, hopping on Route 1 only for a second, to take Mountainview road up through Muir Woods up to Mount Tamalpias. 
 The sky was cloudless and the mountain views were dazzlingly spectacular.  If I hadn't had to watch out for blind corner after blind corner, weaving between speeding bicyclists, weekend warriors in SUVs and sweeping precipices dropping hundreds of feet into rocks and the ocean, I would have probably gotten a little weak looking at the natural beauty.  
I didn't take a ton of pictures, but have a TON of video, which I'll include in a video playlist each day (below) after my ride report.  


 After reconnecting to route 1, and heading up Bodega Bay, I headed back inland to meet up with some family for lunch at Russian River Brewing, one of the fabled beer Meccas of the world.
 I picked up a few Plinys, and at the recommendation of one of salesman at the brewery, headed back out towards the coast. taking 128 to Cloverdale and Booneville towards Albion and the coast, where I'd pick up Route 1 again and see how far I got north.  Hopping on 128 was incredible, as when I first got on led to about 40 miles of sweeping 25mph back to back corners, teaching me the first lesson I was to learn about California riding.
The foothills of any mountain are just about the best, and you can power up carefully until you reach the crest.  You might wind around the top, but peak roads are likely to be a little blind.  I made it down to Albion and then past Mendocino to Fort Bragg by about 7pm, where I lost all cell phone reception.  A little spooked, I found out that all hotels within 75 miles seemed to be booked on Saturday night, so with the aid of some spotty wifi, I booked Motel 6 all the way back down in Ukiah, CA, about an hour and a half back down an inland.  
I arrived in the dark around 9pm wearily, got some local Mexican food, and passed out promptly on my hotel bed with the TV blaring and all of my clothes on. 

First Day NYDUCATI West Coast Videolog Playlist


© 2016 Tigh Loughhead

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