Club EagleRider in San Francisco – Part 1

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The inside should reflect the outside.”

Bijan is the EagleRider employee assisting Vy and me as we pick up our Yamaha Super Tenere, and he’s glad that ER’s inventory is expanding beyond the traditional Harley-Davidson cruiser. San Francisco is a very diverse city, and Bijan appreciates that he’s now able to offer a similarly diverse lineup of motorcycles. I appreciate it, too – a motorcycle rental company is much more likely to get my business if they offer more than American cruisers.

Our steed for the next few days.

At the Long Beach International Motorcycle Show this year, I learned that EagleRider has rolled out an evolution of Club EagleRider (a program I’ve sampled in the past). They’re looking to add more options both in terms of motorcycles and monthly plans – specifically trying to create what they call the world’s first “motorcycle subscription”.

Vy and I went up to SF to ring in the New Year with one of her cousins, and I thought it’d be nice to have a motorcycle to get around town with. But I didn’t want to spend 2 out of our 5 days just riding up and back, so flying up and picking up a bike from EagleRider seemed like the best of both worlds. [Disclaimer: I was provided the rental for free] With that said, we flew up on New Year’s Eve and the shop was closed on New Year’s Day, so we had a day to kill before we could get on the bike. Come follow along!

Our kind hosts picked us up from the airport and asked if there was any type of food we were craving. In unison, Vy and I blurted out “Burmese”. SF has our favorite Burmese restaurant (Burma Love) and we can’t get anything at a similar quality in LA. So we always try to get some when we head up north. This commenced a 5-day-long tour in which Vy and I basically ate our way through SF while she admired the city and admired any motorcycles I could find along the way. I enjoy visiting SF because the area generally has an eclectic taste in two-wheelers – the first one I saw in town was a Vitpilen 701, though I couldn’t snap a photo of it in time. But the next morning, I did catch this sweet Ducati Hypermotard.

Our food tour continued the next morning with a stop at Parada 22 for a rare opportunity to get some Puerto Rican food. Looks like Baby Jack has been here before.

I had a delicious order of pastelón, which our waitress described as “Puerto Rican lasagna”. Think layers of ground beef and plantains.

I didn’t hear anything.

Our next stop was the California Academy of Sciences, where I started to daydream about a road shaped like the vein in this frog’s eye.

Vy liked this fish a lot, though I can’t figure out why.

May your 2020 be more successful than this turtle’s attempt to rise.

Quick touristy photo…

…and an amusing company name. Feel like getting some “Japanabilia”? NeatAsianThings.com is for you!

The next morning we were finally able to pick up the bike. We took a Lyft over to the EagleRider facility, which is located inside of a Harley-Davidson dealership called Mission Moto. EagleRider has a separate desk in the back of the showroom on the first floor. We showed up around 11am and it took 5 minutes for someone to greet us.

While we were waiting, we got to enjoy some Rallycross on TV.

We also got to enjoy this sign.

Bijan greeted us and checked us in, then took us upstairs to a large parking lot that has service bays and all of the rental bikes. He walked us through the bike while sharing some amusing anecdotes about his time working in transportation on TV shows – he specifically used to work on lots of Florida-based shows on the Discovery channel that were all about re-enacting crimes. he said he was always excited when there was “mullets” in the audition listings, because those were the craziest “Florida Man” type stories. 

Part of check-in is documenting the condition of the bike before it leaves. Here Bijan is walking around the bike and taking photos with an iPad.

If you missed my post about Long Beach IMS, Club EagleRider now has three plans:
Member:
$29/month, 1 credit/month, credits roll over. Same standard membership that’s been around for a while.
Premium Member (Pick 6):
$149*/month, 12 credits per month, for 6 months. Credits do not roll over and there’s no initiation fee.
Premium Member (Ride 12):
$199*/month, 12 credits per month, for 12 months. Credits do not roll over and there’s no initiation fee.
*From what I have been told, these are introductory prices during IMS. Once the shows end in February or so, pricing will go up.

I was delighted to see so many non-Harleys. Just in this one photo, we’ve got more than one example of the Royal Enfield Himalayan (with factory bags, I couldn’t even get those for my review), Royal Enfield Continental, Triumph Bonneville, Yamaha Tracer 900, Zero S electric bikes, and Yamaha MT-07s. Bijan mentioned they’ve also got a Yamaha Bolt, RE Interceptor, and a few BMWs including the RnineT, R1200RT, and R1200GS. Not bad at all!

Right before we departed, someone left on a giant Harley dresser and they were so clumsy with the clutch that I thought they might crash inside of the building. These rental bikes must have horrible clutch lifespans. 

And we’re off!

This looks like a Chevron, but it obviously says “Standard”. Do you know why? In 1911, the Supreme Court ruled that Standard was violating the Sherman Antitrust Act and it split the corporation into 34 smaller companies. From that linked article: “Many of these companies have since split, folded or merged; today, the primary descendents of Standard include ExxonMobil, Chevron and ConocoPhillips.” All of the 34 companies got new identities and gave up their rights to the Standard name, except for Chevron, and they keep one “Standard” gas station in each of the 16 states in which they operate to keep their claim on the trademark. Do you know where the “Standard” is in your state?

Vy wanted to hike up the Filbert Steps, so we made our way to the base and looked for some parking. I was pleased to see that there were a couple of motorcycles parked on the sidewalk that I got to ogle:

I figured this meant I could do the same. I think the Super Tenere looks great in Yamaha blue with the gold forks.

The walk from the start of the Filbert steps to Coit Tower is only about a quarter of a mile, but it takes as a while as you’re going up nearly 500 steps.

The path goes through several backyards, some of which have been amusingly decorated by owners.

Your effort will be rewarded with some great views of San Francisco – the Bay Bridge to the east…

…and the Golden Gate Bridge to the west.

Vy found a cat on the walk back. Now I know how she feels when I see a motorcycle parked on the street and go on a detour to take a photo of it.

Almost immediately, I exhibited said behavior when I saw a Husqvarna 701 Supermoto. This would be such a perfect bike in the city!

We had a quick stop in Chinatown to see the Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory.

The specific mention of “Pretty Ladies” was good for a chuckle, but Vy and I didn’t bother getting personalized messages.

They ask for a 50 cent donation if you take a photo of the operation, which seemed fair.

It’s a simple process, but it’s oddly fascinating to watch.

In today’s episode of “it’s a small world”: in the summer of 2017, Vy and I went to England for a motorcycle trip. Near the end of the trip, I stopped at the National Motorcycle Museum in Solihull, and I randomly stumbled upon someone wearing an Oakland A’s cap. I was pleasantly surprised that he recognized Bike-urious from my shirt, and was impressed when I found out that his job was building exhibits at the Exploratorium. One of Vy’s main reasons for wanting to come up to SF for this trip was to go to the Exploratorium for the first time, so I dropped this kind gentleman a line as I thought it’d be awesome to see him again and learn more about his work. Unfortunately, he was on vacation for New Year’s as well, so I guess I’ll just have to come back up! But the next time you’re at the Exploratorium, just know that the cool stuff was made by a fellow motorcycling nut, just like you!

On Thursday nights, the Exploratorium hosts an adults only “After Dark” night where they serve alcohol and don’t allow kids.

I’ve got way too many photos from our evening at the Exploratorium, but it was one of my favorite museum experiences in years because of how interactive it was. I’ll just leave you with one photo. This is “Rolling Through the Bay” by Scott Weaver, and it’s a toothpick-based sculpture full of San Francisco landmarks. A plaque on the railing in front says that Scott’s been working on this (on and off) for 44 years.

But here’s the thing – it’s more than just 105,387 (and a half) toothpicks that look like landmarks. It’s a “rolling kinetic toothpick sculpture” that features 5 narrated tours of SF as you follow ping pong balls that roll through. I highly suggest you watch this video for some more details about Scott and his work:

That’s about half-way through our trip…on to Part 2!

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