Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Supermotos & Urban Dirt Bikers

California Today: The Bay Area’s ‘Bike Life’ Riders

A “bike life” enthusiast in San Francisco, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of police scrutiny surrounding the activity, said the rides were not about making trouble.

“It’s a lot of people that are building a community around something that they love to do,” the man said in a phone interview.

Asked about the highway attack, he bristled at the news media’s labeling of the group as a gang and suggested the riders had been provoked.
The San Francisco police said it had been receiving more complaints about the bikers tearing through traffic.
Urban dirt biking has surged in the Bay Area over the last five years. The phenomenon has been linked to Baltimore, where inner city dirt bikers were the subject of the 2013 documentary “12 O’Clock Boys.”

The Bay Area riders aren’t to be confused with another motorcycle subculture that is built around supermoto bikes, nimble two-wheelers that can navigate both dirt and pavement.

Supermotos look similar to dirt bikes, and their owners also go on group rides around the Bay Area.
A few differences:

— The dirt bikers are more associated with acrobatics, known as stunting, whereas supermoto was born out of racing.

— Unlike many of the dirt bikes, the supermotos are usually street legal.

— Supermoto riders are seen as less brazen.

“Generally, they don’t break the law,” said Gabriel Ets-Hokin, a Bay Area-based motorcycle journalist. “It’s a very different thing.”

Still, the distinctions may be lost on motorists who find any swarm of motorcycles disconcerting.

Supermoto riders are mostly drawn to “carving the hills,” said Liza Miller, host of the Motorcycles and Misfits podcast in Santa Cruz. But occasionally, they speed, blow through red lights or jump railroad tracks.

“I can tell you,” she added, when you get on a supermoto, “you get that feeling like you just want to do bad things.”

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