It's the ride that matters. I just finished a ride. A slow ride. A very slow ride. The ride was performed by people whose heart size is inversely proportionate to the displacement of their cycles. The smiles of the participants were as large as the displacement of a 1200GS and the level of adventure 1200 times greater than the same GS rider ATGATTd for his ride to Starbucks. Two of my friends own very unusual, irrational, some might say unsafe, cycles. Both started life as sedate, early eighties Honda MB5s. Originally equipped with air-cooled, 50cc two-stroke engines, both have been.....upgraded. One had its engine yanked in favor of a Honda CR80 liquid-cooled two stroke, the other from a Honda CR85. Both will go faster than 75 mph. Both have been ridden on the freeway in spite of the recommendation from Honda not to--in their original configuration. They both participate in monthly rides originating at Myron's Mopeds ( http://www.myronsmopeds.com/ ) in <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-comffice:smarttags" /><st1lace><st1:City>Fullerton</st1:City>, <st1:State>California</st1:State></st1lace> and invited me along for the April ride. I was picked up at nine sharp by my friend Casey. We loaded my bike onto his trailer and headed to pick up our other friend, Steve, in <st1:City><st1lace>Long Beach</st1lace></st1:City>. I don't own a moped or a mini motorcycle but decided to ride my 1982 XL500. I was told there was likely to be a few full sized motorcycles and that I would be asked to ride sweep to protect the flank of the slower riders. My bike shares the trailer with the two baddest MB5s on the planet. Myron's Mopeds is owned and operated by Shaun Strahm and offers service and sales of new and used mopeds. His shop is the only one of its kind in Southern California. Many scooter shops have opened in the last few years but none have the history or ability to assist in maintaining mopeds from the seventies and early eighties the way that Shaun can. Behind its humble facade Myron's Mopeds is more museum than retail facility. Shaun's shop has an amazing collection of parts dating back 30+ years. Need a Puch wheel...take your pick. <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-comfficeffice" /><o></o> What about a shock for a Motobecane... This bike broke several 50cc land speed records... Some of the new mopeds have more substantial body work and seating and bars, but still have pedals. A small motorized bike without pedals is not a moped. It is considered a noped. Shaun and me before the ride outside of the shop. A handmade, Lifan powered, mini motorcycle complete with seventies XL tank and mountain bike forks and dual front discs. I believe it weighs 138 pounds dry. The pre-ride line up. The ride map. Everyone fired up and began heading towards Commonwealth Avenue for the first leg of the ride. The sound and smell of thirty or so two strokes firing up and taking over a city block was awesome. We stayed together as a group for about a mile before I was separated from the rest of the group at the first left turn. I didn't make it through the light but was able to catch up to the back markers quickly down the road a ways. The main group consisted of faster bikes that could maintain 40 mph or more. I hung back with the slower guys, averaging about 33 mph when moving. At the first "catch up" stop. At a turn signal we pulled up behind a Plymouth Volare being driven by a senior citizen. He actually held us up for a mile or so before we could safely get around him. The first official stop we made was at J & J Motorsports in El Monte. They specialize in the sales of inexpensive, mostly Chinese-made, small motorcycles, mopeds and scooters. They also had electric assisted bicycles and electric scooters. When we got there, they had drinks and snacks set up for us and let us demo a number of the bikes and scooters. My friend Steve on an electric mini-bike. I might take one of these to Copper Canyon next fall. The MB5s always attract a lot of attention. The air horn blared and we mounted up and headed to our second stop--the El Monte Historical Museum. Parked in front of the museum. We headed into the empty museum as a group and surprised the docent as more and more people filled the entryway. The docent was very accommodating in spite of her surprise and agreed to give any of us that wanted an abbreviated tour. She is a lifelong El Monte resident and presented the information professionally and with obvious pride in her town. The museum reminded me of something you'd see in the Midwest or the Deep South. El Monte is a stone's throw from downtown Los Angeles and the existence of a quaint, proud museum seems very out of place in the LA Basin. El Monte once had a lion farm within its city limits. Most of the lions featured in movies in the 1920s and 1930s featured lions housed there. The classic MGM lion did as well. El Monte High School adopted the lion as its mascot and used to have one of the farm lions in attendance at home football games. Perhaps this one did, too. Or this bear. The museum also houses a Rolls Royce, Model T Ford and a Steamer car. We fired up the bikes and headed for our third stop and lunch break. The thing that struck me most about this ride was the reaction of the public as we crept noisily by. People smiled and laughed and waved as we rode by. Many people in their forties and fifties gave a look that was easily recognizable as them thinking, "I remember those..." or, "I didn't think those were still around..." or, "I pedaled one of those things up (fill in the blank) hill everyday going to school." Some looked in disbelief, and had to look twice, as if doubting what they saw the first time. The ride to the restaurant was brief but once again split between the faster and slower riders. We arrived at Bahookas. Every family restaurant should have on its property an anti-aircraft gun. Ever see the move "Deathproof"? I'm told a seat similar to this one has an unforgettable scene in that movie. No food pictures. The restaurant was filled with dozens of small and large aquariums including one that was home to a 31 year old South American Pacu that was as big as the smaller mopeds. After lunch we gathered and began the long trip from El Monte to Fullerton. Mopeds that get 100 mpg, but have tanks the size of thimbles, need fuel occasionally. We stopped for gas shortly after leaving Bahookas. The ride is filled with characters of all sorts. Very little leather and no do-rags were present. People were who they are, and no two were the same save for the peculiarity of their rides. We headed south and during a longer stretch, once again were separated from the faster bikes. I was able to snap a few road pictures going through Whittier and Pico Rivera. With the relaxed pace I was able to really enjoy the sights, sounds and smells of the ride. We arrived back at Myron's Mopeds at five sharp and people began packing up, saying goodbye and trading information. When word got out that I intended to post a ride report I found out that another inmate was in attendance. Salsa is a member here and was a participant on the ride. Another rider also owns a KLR650 and he and I will likely take meet up for some rides in the near future. The ride totalled 46 miles, and I had a ten mile ride home. My moving average and top speed both increased greatly during that last ten miles. Our route via GPS. In all, it was ride like no other. The spirit of the riders, the reaction of the public and the relaxation of the pace in a place like Southern California made it unusually fun. Where to in May?