Scenic route popular with
bikers in Southern California
The Angeles Gest Highway – where the movie was shot. Click image to enlarge.
ONE OF THE MOST SCENIC drives in the greater Los Angeles area is also a favorite for motorcycle riders of all shapes and sizes.
The Angeles Crest Highway from La Canada-Flintridge is a two-lane stretch of road winding its way through the San Gabriel Mountains some 66 miles to Phelan, a tiny village in the Mohave Desert.
It is California Highway 2.
On most weekend days, throngs of bikers from all over the region pack it full; auto drivers, beware!
Some of the bike riders are indeed reckless. The mountain passes have been the scene of many fatalities over the years. But, in most cases, it is the riders’ fault.
We witnessed at least one such rider when I rode the route with a group of about 20 lead by the Satyrs M/C of Los Angeles on July 21.
WATCH THE MOVIE BELOW THE FOLD
STORY CONTINUES BELOW MOVIE
The Angeles Crest Highway begins just eight miles from my home in Pasadena.
It rises to more than 8,000 feet at its highest point, and is often closed to traffic during the winter – and after major fires, to which the area is prone.
Just 19 miles from the start is the historic Mt. Wilson Observatory, which I visited on Monday and blogged on Tuesday (Historic Mt. Wilson Observatory a big draw in SoCal)
Steve Tompkins and Katie Zupan arrive at the ranger station at the intersection of Highway 2 and the Mt. Wilson road on Tuesday. They’re on Steve’s 1100 V Star, a 2001 model. Click image to enlarge. © SGE, Inc. All rights reserved.
The purpose of my trip was two-fold. First, the story about the observatory.
Second, to shoot a video of the ride from a biker’s perspective.
I mounted the Nikon Coolpix on the handlebars and off I drove.
When I returned and processed the video it was useless. The vibration of the engine made it giddy to watch; there was no way I could stabilize the image.
Then, I had a stroke of genius.
The ride downhill was almost all at a steeply descending angle. If I put the bike in neutral and simply coasted downhill, it would minimize the vibrations.
On Wednesday, another gorgeous sunny day in Southern California, I rode up again – fast this time.
The Nikon Coolpix mounted on the handlebars of my Shadow VF 750 in the driveway of my Pasadena home. Click image to enlarge. © SGE, Inc. All rights reserved.
At the top I mounted the Nikon as before, but this time I also mounted the iPhone4s on the rear luggage rack.
The result is the video you see here.
A motorcycle riders view of the Angeles Crest Highway.
Sit back, enjoy the view.
It is my hope that once you appreciate it as we do, you will understand the thrill of motorcycling … and have a little more courtesy for us when you see us on the road.
WE are the ones having the most fun!
The map of the exact route followed in the video, from Mt. Wilson to La Canada Flintridge.
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