Day 2 – Riding up the Coast

Day 2 – Riding up the Coast


Highway 1 Scenic Drive

Morning came early on day two and we were excited to continue our motorcycle sidecar journey up the coast. We re-packed our gear, jumped on the Ural and hit the road.

This was the first day we were to going to ride on the super slab for a while via Highway 101 heading north. This funky Russian bike did its best to build up speed and keep up with the traffic, but at best it hummed along at 55-60 mph (remember, its fully loaded with us and our gear) and so we stayed in the slow lane. The Ural was definitely not built for speed.  This fact was no surprise to me; I knew what I was getting into with this bike.  It’s all about the journey right? What better way to enjoy it then by cruising at a slower pace…. that’s my story and I’m sticking to it! (Heh).

Getting out of Oxnard and riding thru Ventura was a sort of battle; the highway was backed up with cars going very slowly in each lane.  Turned out they were all getting off at the Ventura fairgrounds exit for the Vans Warped Tour.  I can appreciate that.

It was at times like this when traffic was moving slowly that I missed being able to split lanes like I can on my Harley. But it was ok; this is part of being on this different kind of bike.

After some miles I saw a sign that said Hwy 1 exit and we jumped off the 101 and cruised down a road that hugged the beach on the left and Highway 101 on the right, I did not know this road was here nor that it ran along the 101 for so far, this was nice.  At one section, there were dozens and dozens of RV’s camped along the road facing the beach, what a nice place to hang out!!


This small beach side road went for quite a few miles and was a nice stretch of road but eventually we were soon back on 101 heading north bound along with all the weekend traffic. Cruising in the slow lane was not so bad; it just took a while to get used to it.

As we approached Carpentaria I got off at the 150 Rincon Road exit and headed left down a dead end road to our favorite “rest stop” that is a great place to take a break.


Stop at Rincon Beach Overlook

This area overlooks Rincon beach and has some great panoramic views of the ocean coastline.  If you’re lucky you might even see the Amtrak train go by. I often stopped by here on my way home when I worked in Santa Barbara while driving my Jeep Wrangler and always had a ton of fun 4x4ing up and down the hills here.


When we arrived at Rincon overlook as I call it, a big guy came walking immediately over to, as he put it – “gush” over the bike… I guess he liked it.  He took a lot of pictures of it.  He said he had always wanted to get a Ural.

He was on a pretty cool bike too; he was riding a nice red Italian Vespa Scooter.


We talked for a while about the bikes and I found that he was a local so I asked him about some back roads thru Santa Barbara that I had remembered riding around way back when I had worked in the area for Transoft and Hewlett Packard.

The guy on the Vespa (forgot his name) offered to lead us thru some back roads on our way north and so we ventured off following him on his Vespa and his son on a Ninja – this was the strangest riding combo I’ve ever seen but they seemed to be having a lot of fun showing us some fun roads.

As we got to the outskirts of town we said our goodbyes and split off from them and got back on the 101.After a couple of “photo op” stops along the way we finally arrived in Lompoc at the Travel Lodge hotel and then we went to lunch down the street at a restaurant called Jalama Beach Cafe.


The restaurant is owned by the same folks who created and run the famous Jalama Beach Grill, which we have been going to for a couple of decades. They are world famous for their Jalama Burger. Being a semi serious burger connoisseur who’s even done a few burger tasting contests/evaluations I can confidently tell you that the Jalama Burger is truly one of the best burgers on the entire planet. We had a blast hanging out with the waitress and talking about this and that and everything else – she really made the experience that much better – it’s one of the things I really like while doing road trips – meeting all kinds of people.


Back at the hotel we found people were standing around my bike and taking photos.  We hung outside for a few hours and had a good time hanging out with them and talking to several fellow riders about their bikes and mine.  Turned out one guy was there for three months and he lived nearby us in NorCal at Forrest Hill/Auburn.  It’s amazing to be far from home but meeting people who live somewhat near us.  It sure is a small world!

The more I ride this bike, the easier it gets. We had a good time riding to Lompoc.

Today’s travels:

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Day 1 – Taming the Beast

Day 1 – Taming the Beast

Day one is now in the books, we are the proud owners of a 2014 Ural Gear Up 2WD Red October Custom Motorcycle/Sidecar.


Our New Ural Motorcycle Sidecar

Our morning started at 3:30am, getting up and getting ready to head out to acquire our new bike.  We got a ride from our daughter to the Sacramento airport at 4am (bless her heart), caught our Southwest flight to Los Angeles and even arrived 30 minutes early – wait? What? Arriving earlier then scheduled almost never happens… this was a good start to our trip!


Landing in Los Angeles

After we arrived at LAX, we picked up our bags and then tried something new (for us).  We ordered an Uber cab/car ride and were pleasantly surprised how very well that ride worked out, and best of all it was ½ the price of a regular cab ride.  I’d recommend using Uber based on this great first experience alone and plan to use them again in the future.

We were dropped off at California Boss Hoss and Ural motorcycle dealership in Harbor City where we met up with Don.

Don took care of our Ural from the day it was delivered from Ural of New England via truck until the day we picked it up.  He did a great job, we were very happy with how everything worked out.  The guys and gals at Ural of New England and Boss Hoss are top notch.

If you are ever in or near Harbor City, check them out, they have some really cool collector bikes (not for sale) on display on the showroom floor.  From 1920’s vintage Harley’s, to vintage Indian’s, Enfield’s, Cushman carts, Big Dog customs and much more.  This shop is worth visiting. Their Boss Hoss monster motorcycles have full size V8 Motors in them! Biggest motor of any bike I’ve ever seen – really cool stuff!


Boss Hoss Motorcycle

After being shown the basics of the Ural controls by Don, we loaded up all our gear onto the sidecar rack and tied everything down.  We were off!  Boy howdy….. This was like no other ride I’ve ever experienced before.

If you’re curious about how to ride a Ural, here’s the detailed book online -> Click HERE

The first thing I noticed (everyone had been warning me about this for weeks) was to watch out for the right turns, they are indeed a doozy as you first get used to them on a Ural.

It is like wrestling a bear getting used to the way the rig rides when giving it gas – it pulls very hard to the right. I thought holy hanna what have I gotten into – but after riding it for a few hours it became like second nature and I didn’t even notice the effect anymore after becoming used to it.  I had tamed the beast!

The bike looks beautiful and runs great. After several hours of riding it a little over a hundred miles I related it to a combination of riding a dirt bike, with the “smoothness” of a rigid Harley and steering control like a tractor in heavy dirt.

I’ll be honest, it isn’t easy at first but after a while learning how it rides and figuring out how to control the beast, it became one helluva really fun ride!

For this first day out on the bike we headed north on PCH and stopped for lunch at a restaurant I had read about in Redondo Beach called Rock and Brews, which is owned, by Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley of the rock band KISS.

Rock and Brews Restaurant Redondo Beach

Rock and Brews Restaurant Redondo Beach

The place was nice, the service great.  The beers were tasty but honestly the food was just ok. But it went well with beer and that’s what really counts right?  The best part of stopping by Rock and Brews was meeting up with and visiting with our old friend Rob who we hadn’t seen for over 20 years. We all had a great time catching up and talking about bikes and rides and more. Good times for sure!

After the lunch stop we hit the road again and rode thru some really heavy traffic in the south bay going thru Santa Monica (not a very fun way to learn to ride this kind of rig but you do what you gotta do). When we finally got onto PCH the traffic was even more horrendous but we pushed on and made it thru the fray and got to Malibu where we took a break at the famous motorcycle hangout – Neptune’s Net.

As expected on a sunny Saturday afternoon, there were tons of bikers there and the place was packed.  Somehow I scored a spot right up front.  It was really cool how a lot of people stopped and turned when we rode up. This bike is definitely an attention getter and we had fun telling folks about the bike and our journey.  The most interesting part was when we left we had to ride thru a tight squeeze of bikes owned by a local 1%er MC club with the guys all hanging out around them. They looked at us on our ride and they all parted the way and took photos as we rode by and they were all giving the thumbs up – that was pretty darn cool!


Neptune’s Net

From Malibu heading north, the road was wide open and I got to really wind up the Ural to a whopping 55-65 miles an hour which went well. The bike ran smooth and accelerated decent enough to keep up with traffic…. in the slow lane.

I still have a lot to learn about this bike.  Getting it into neutral is a challenge but I will master that by tomorrow I hope.  I need to read all the documents on the bike and really get into it to learn about it as much as possible.  This is a simple but very rugged bike and I think with proper care and feeding, it’s going to have a very long and adventurous life.

After an hour or so we finally landed in Oxnard for our first night.  Got a nice room at the Residence Inn and had dinner at the Yard House a few miles away.  After this long first day, we were wiped out and ready for a good rest because tomorrow it’s going to get even better as we travel farther and head north to Jalama Beach and Lompoc.

I’d have to say that Day 1 was a rousing success and I look forward to tomorrow’s continued adventures.

Some quick notes: The company, Ural Motorcycles IMZ really rocks! With the bike I received a fully equiped tool kit with work gloves, an extensive owners manual with service info in great details with photos, an air pump, a set of touch up paints and I also purchased a digital copy of the full service/repair manual along with twenty two videos on each service procedures – that’s gonna come in handy!

So far we really like our new Ural!

Todays Travels:

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Day 1 Route


Route Planning

Here’s the game plan so far, we’ll be starting at Harbor City in Southern California and we plan to ride the Ural up the coast on Highway 1 with several stops along the way for some R&R and fun in the sun over the course of a week.

Our adventure starts tomorrow!

Route Planning



  1. the action of anticipating something; expectation or prediction.
    “her eyes sparkled with anticipation
    synonyms: expectancyexpectationexcitementsuspense More

    One more day to go and we go pickup our new Ural!

    Folks these days all rushing around
    but I’m going to play with a Russian I found.
    Dependable  friend and loyal pal
    stick to the end, with my Ural.

    When the going gets tough and you gotta survive
    reach down, flick a lever and get two wheel drive.
    From mount to planes and down to the sea
    I’ll say it again, Come and Ural with me!

    Anticipation feels a little something like this….

Going The Distance

The Bike & Sidecar for Going the Distance

By Mike Clear

“Going The Distance” is about our overly-ambitious honeymoon, which we used to try to find the secret of lasting love. Not a small question, and not a small honeymoon – we drove a motorbike and sidecar from the top to the bottom of the world, along the Pan-American highway. As we travelled along this road over 8 months, we interviewed 120 couples; including Eskimos in Alaska, Polygamous Mormons in Utah, porn-stars in Los Angeles, a FARC kidnap victim and his wife in Colombia; and many of the leading relationship experts in the world. Not content with this test of our relationship being enough, we also subjected ourselves to a series of scientific experiments to see if we’re set to stay together – the results of which we discovered only at the end of our journey.

After spending 25,000km searching for lasting love, it is now abundantly clear that I am in love with the longevity of the Ural. If ever we were to choose a machine to represent a lasting marriage, the Ural is it. Our 3 wheels are none other than a fabulous, 2009, Ural Tourist T.  Everywhere we go we raise smiles and waves from excited passers by, and create what’s become known as “The Ural Effect”. Stopping in a garage often takes a lot more time than it takes just to fill up with gas, as everyone wants to know what it is and where it’s from. “It’s awesome, and is from Russia!” – is our abbreviated reply.

Alanna talks about how the sidecar is a perfect metaphor for marriage – that the lone male adventurer is suddenly joined by a woman tacked on the side. I often think about how reliable it is (as our marriage should be in the future!) and how it can be hard work. I spend a few days a week driving for around 10 hours, it’s exhausting work but it’s well worth it.

Check out the videos below and check out their website at –

Next June, Ronda and I will have been married 30 years.

Sidecars and Snow


Story, Photos and Video By Amos Kwan

Given the chance to ride motorcycles in the winter, a sane rider might politely decline, but what’s life without a few two three-wheeled thrills? On a recent invitation by Ural Motorcycles we did just that, responding “yes, please” (pronto) while simultaneously reaching for our bags, and multiple changes of underwear. Next stop, cold and soggy Seattle.

Wait, “not Russia”, you ask? Ural Motorcycles is steeped in Russian history, war history, but today Ural is actually based in the Pacific Northwest far from the frontlines of any European battlegrounds, but manufacturing continues to happen on the other side of the world in Siberia — territory inhabited by folks that know a thing or two about wretched weather.

Our agent of transportation for the ride: the eminently capable and appropriately named (at least for us) Gear-Up sidecar motorcycle. Our final destination: nowhere specific, but we did know we would be making our way through a speculative snow cloaked road in the Cascades. Here’s how things went.

Watch our film and story right after the jump.

Note that the Gear-Up looks like nothing else out there. It’s not a bike for sissies, but it’s also not a thrust of horsepower and torque to your backside that begs for you to hold on for dear life. Built like a Russian T-90 tank, the Gear-Up is designed to take punishment. With a reliable boxer engine that doles out a capable 40 horsepower, the Gear-Up isn’t fast, but gets you where you need to go with steadiness and no unwanted drama. The bike is also powdercoated, not painted, so it knows you’d rather thrash it through dirt, bramble and sand than take it to some Concours d’Elegance to show off while you eat cucumber sandwiches. But it also boasts modern bits like Brembo brakes and much-needed Sachs suspension components. For those, we would end up grateful, given the impending weather and road conditions. With the Gear-Up’s fat knobbies, snap on rain cover for the sidecar, and WWII style gas cans for those moments when your desire to ride outdoes your gas tank’s capacity, we headed off for the mountains.

Full Article can be found by clicking this LINK

Our Ural arrives in Harbor City

Got an email today from Don at Boss Hoss Motorcycles in Harbor City that our new Ural has arrived from New England.

He sent these new photos of the bike today as it sits at his shop in So Cal.  Next he’s going to install a CA EPA kit and get it registered this week and then we’ll be meeting up with him on Saturday to pickup the bike.  Woo Hoo!!

* click on photos for larger higher resolution pictures *