Quality skateboarding, like quality motorcycling, is all about craft, community, and freedom. The Moto Radventure is our annual ride in celebration of this confluence. This year, the second year of the Moto Rad, we hit the road starting in Los Angeles, California. We made our way up to Santa Barbara, and ultimately, we headed back down to L.A after a weekend spent riding with friends. The goal of the Moto Radventure is simple: gather a solid crew of riders that appreciate both ripping on bikes and shredding on boards, and then we do just that—ride and shred!!!!
Moto Radventure Movie, 2013 by Jeff Budro:
This year’s Moto Radventure consisted of just under 20 riders and their bikes—everything from a 70’s dualsport to a 2014 adventure-touring bike. We also had riders on three different Triumphs, a 1977 Yamaha, two Harley-Davidsons, a Buel, 2 GSXRs, and a few other bikes of differing torque, styling, and build. It’s also worth noting that we had a support vehicle (the Muir Van) following along with us the entire ride and filled to the brim with a host of bros, babes, and of course, bold beverages. We also brought along a toolbox. Luckily, we only needed it twice, and that was just to zip-tie a radiator hose and a broken kickstand. We were very lucky.
Everybody met at the Skate House early on Saturday, Sept 21, at 10 am. For those who don’t know, Skate House is nestled right off the 405 fwy near the LAX Airport, and not only do a bunch of our downhill skaters live there, but they also have a badass mini ramp in their backyard. Needless to say, it was the perfect locale to kick off our ride. As people arrived from as far as San Diego, we skated the ramp, drank copious amounts of coffee, and ogled each other’s bikes. The Muir Van arrived shortly after 10:30AM and we were packed and on the road to the Malibu canyons by 11AM sharp.
If you’ve ever ridden motorcycles or skateboards in the Malibu canyons, then you already know how utterly badass of an experience it is. For those of you who have not yet experienced it, it’s an endless maze of winding, steep, switchbacking roads, mixed with an almost perfect climate, a picturesque backdrop of rolling hills, an intermittent and shady oak canopy overhead, quality asphalt (for the most part), and amazing panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean beyond. Our crew preceded into these canyons on 18 various motorcycles. We shredded some of our favorite hills throughout the rest of the morning on our boards, and later hopped back on our bikes taking the long way up to Santa Barbara via a variety of intersecting canyon roads, the Pacific Coast Highway, and Hwy 101.
Once we dropped out of the canyons we stopped for a late lunch at Neptune’s Net on the coastal highway at the southern edge of Malibu. We enjoyed their superbly and variously fried-fishie-foods and we filled up our gas tanks at a nearby gas station. Once our tanks were replete, we proceeded onward to Santa Barbara—to a place known simply as “The Orchid”. None of us had ever been there before and the collective anticipation was high.
After a zip and a rip up the coast, and after we mobbed up the 101—rollin’ moto deep for about thirty more miles—our crew exited off the freeway and soon arrived at a locked gate in the woods just past Santa Barbara proper. After a brief cell phone chat between Jeff Budro and our friend at The Orchid, Jeff typed a code into the keypad near the gate and we proceeded bumpily, and dustily, down the dirt road leading us to The Orchid compound.
To say that The Orchid is “really badass!” would be a severe understatement. In fact, it’s tough to say much about the place without feeling like you only said the half of it. The Orchid is a large parcel of land situated on some of the most beautiful and coveted coastline in California. The land used to be an actual Orchid farm back in the 60’s and up till the 90’s, yet it has been sitting (for reasons we do not fully phantom) in a state of neglect and disrepair ever since—that is, until recently. These days, our friend, Mike Taylor, his family, and group of others amazing humans have began to repurpose the property and renovate the old glass and metal-framed greenhouses into homes, gardens, farms, art studios, a plant nursery, garages, and various other work and storage spaces. They have also, and most important to us Radventurers, turned one of the adjoining structures into a skate park with a miniramp (there’s plans to even add a cement bowl!). There’s a bar too, a gourmet a kitchen, a pool table, and a bunking house—including a working hot tub. Did we also mention that you can walk with a pack of pigmy goats onto an epic beach at sunset? Well, that happened too!
Anyway, we had a freaking blast at The Orchid. Although we were tired from the day’s moto-riding & shrednanigans, we decided to skate even more that night, eat pizza, drink copious amounts of beer from both Stone and Karl Strauss, play some pool, go to the beach, and also frolic with a pack of pigmy goats. Did we already say that? Don’t make it weird!
The next morning, with groggy groans, and after some much-needed coffee enhancement (Thank you, Glen!), we said farewell to Mike and The Orchid, we loaded and started our two-wheeled machines, and once our engines where warm we proceeded together up into the steep ascending mountains above Santa Barbara. Sunday’s destination was the 3rd annual “Santa Gnarbara Outlaw” downhill skateboard race and we were excited to ride up there and be a part of it, shred a bit ourselves, and ultimately support all the racers in attendance.
The ride from the coast of Santa Barbara up into the Santa Ynez Mountains is epic. The terrain is super steep, much of the road is majorly banked, and for about eighty percent of the ride up to the final peak you can see the Pacific Ocean and coast descending further and further down below you.
The Santa Gnarbara race is where the connection between bikes and boards manifested itself most clearly on our trip. See, downhill skateboarding and canyon motorcycling are so much alike it’s ridiculous. Obviously, they both have their distinctive qualities, but the basic feeling of mobbing down a winding road at high speeds is a shared exhilaration. Gripping corners, drawing the best lines, and knowing when, where, and how much to lean and brake, are a language both skater and biker must speak with fluidity. We arrived at the race a little late, but we slapped some high fives and the riders that wanted to skate parked their bikes, grabbed their boards & slide gloves, and then hit the road with the rest of the skaters already on the hill. There was only one practice run left before the race by the time our crew got on the road. No big deal! We had at least a handful of the world’s best downhill skaters in our Moto Rad crew, and these guys can get warmed up and ready to race real quick.
Those of us that didn’t skate in the race—as well as the skaters that didn’t make it into the latter heats of the race—congregated, piecemeal on the main right-hand corner, about midway down the course. We parked the bikes there and the Muir Van too, and we cheered on the other skaters. We also had a slingshot jam—thanks Huckleberry Aaron for bringing the sweet wooden sling!
Later in the afternoon, in between the race heats, some of the boys took their bikes down the hill with packs of skaters, pulling them back up the hill and doing it again, and again. It’s a trip to ride on a bike at high speeds with a skateboarder right next to ya, and visa versa. It’s a little unnerving at first, but once you get use to it it’s pretty fucking awesome.
By the time the dust settled and the final heat whipped and speeded down the road it was James Kelly out front—one of our very own Moto Radventurers! All the riders killed it, but we’d be lying if we said we weren’t stoked to see one of our very own Moto Rad brothers win the race. Hell yeah, James!!!!
As the trophies were being dolled out to the winners of the race, and as the sun lazily began it’s slow crawl towards a growingly golden Pacific Ocean, we packed up our bikes, we slapped some high-fives, hugged a bro-homie or two, took one last chance to reflectively ponder from our high perch atop the Santa Ynez mountains, and then we headed for home. The ride back down south was a straight shoot on the 101, a right veering to the 405, and for some onward down the 5. We mobbed in small packs of two and three, each arriving back at our homesteads at various hours of the evening. The general consensus was that many hours of quality, deep-sleeping ensued that evening.
It is my belief that the feeling you get from bombing a hill on your skateboard or ripping down the freeway on your motorcycle is one of freedom; no worries, no cares—only here, only now. This year’s Moto Radenture was a super fun exploration into such connectivity. So many awesome skaters and riders joined in on this adventure and the experience will forever be etched in my memory as some of the best times I’ve ever had on bike & board. I can’t wait for the next Moto Radventure. Brap, brap, and brap!!!
Thanks to presenting partner: Sector 9 Skateboards.
And a special thanks to all the radical contributing sponsors:
Muir Skate, Biltwell Inc, Carl Strauss, North County’s House of Motorcycles, Bixby Moto, SkateHouseMedia, and Stone Brewing Co.
Radventure moto riders: Aaron Hollebeke, Marcus Bandy, Ryan Evans, Jeff Budro, Kyle Chin, Justen Ortiz, Hugo Limon, Chris Wellington, Jimmy Rao, Jesus, Andrew Hopkins, Louis Pilloni, James Kelly, Jonny Power, Ryan Williams, Glen Wiseman, and Thomas lturraran.
Support Team & sk8er homies: Dane Webber, Daniel Luna, Cory Hirschman, Victor Earhart, Ashley Joyce, Ashley Bandy, David Ruano, Byron Essert, Mike Taylor, the Orchid goats, Dave Tannaci, Chubbs, Max Dubler, SHM Lady dude, Ricardo Reis, Pat Schep, and a slew of other serious badasses!