Mods AND Rockers would be a better description of this event, as the animosity between these groups got left behind somewhere in the 1960’s, and an awful lot of classic bike owners have scooters in their garage! I’ve been guilty as well, with Lambretta, Vespa, and Velocette scooters having sat alongside my motorcycles.  The charms of a scooter are undeniable, which is why they endure in popularity nearly 100 years after their invention (the 1920 Unibus nailed the form).

The setup of the Mod VS Rockers Ride is simple; Mods meet at one end of the Embarcadero (Red’s Java Hut) in San Francisco, the Rockers congregate at Pier 23.  All riders mill around and socialize until the appointed minute, then it’s time to GO.  We pretty much have traffic our own way for the next couple of hours, blowing off stop signs/lights in a swarm, with our mutual goal a timed meeting in the middle of the Stockton St. Tunnel, where a few minutes of mayhem commences, before the whole troupe dispersed in advance of any police action.  Hooligan fun, nobody gets hurt, no fighting no biting!

Here’s my video of the Tunnel meetup.  Yes illegal and inconveniencing traffic, but only for a few minutes, once a year…

Mike and Joe at Ocean Beach with Norton Atlas and Triumph Bonneville, two 1960s classics. [Paul d’Orleans]
Then it’s off to the beach; not Brighton but Ocean, as this is the Pacific ocean, there’s just a lot of chatter in the parking lot, before we light off again through town, ending up at a big party inside the SFMC clubhouse.

Mike Shiro and his ’64 Norton Atlas 750cc twin – the precursor to the Commando, with a proper Featherbed frame. The Commando has a rubber-mounted engine to deal with the vibration of this big twin engine – on the Atlas, the rider must deal with the vibration…. I was riding one as well (from 1965). [Paul d’Orleans]
Sweet 1957 Triumph Tiger 110 500cc, one of my favorite Triumphs, with a lovely patina from an older repaint. This bike was originally imported from England to Indonesia by its pilot owner, and eventually restored there, before being imported to CA in the 1980’s. It sat for quite a while before being resuscitated by its current owner. [Paul d’Orleans]
Several motorcycle clubs were flying colors; the SFMC and the Vampires were the most numerous, pictured here in front of a BMW R69S. [Paul d’Orleans]

I hadn’t seen Danny’s Triton before, which is built from a unit Bonneville engine in a Slimline Featherbed frame. Some interesting contemporary features include the plastic rear fender (front from a Ducati?) and Harleyesque headlamp. Sounded great.

Danny’s badass Triton. [Paul d’Orleans]
Baby Kawasakis grow up to be big Kawis eventually….[Paul d’Orleans]
When he was a lad, he used to fit into his father Geoff’s sidecar; now Niles Follin wrenches on Paris-Dakar racers, among others, although this year he was stranded in Spain when they called off the race…next year it will be run in South America). [Paul d’Orleans]
On to the tunnel of love… Joe looks like he’s enjoying himself! Smiles all around. [Paul d’Orleans]
Peace and Love. To the beach… my Norton Atlas with another silver two wheeler, a Lambretta Li175. [Paul d’Orleans]
Cool RAF Vespa. [Paul d’Orleans]
Breakfast at Tiffany’s. [Paul d’Orleans]
A Moto Guzzi Falcone is always welcome. [Paul d’Orleans]
Kim and Pete’s 1937 Ariel Red Hunter. [Paul d’Orleans]
Three horsemen of the Apocalypse: Mike, Joe, and Pete. [Paul d’Orleans]
Matchless in name and reputation. [Paul d’Orleans]
The Rocker crew outside Pier 23 on San Francisco’s Embarcadero. [Paul d’Orleans]
Mod corner with a pair of Lambrettas. [Paul d’Orleans]
All kinda bikes welcome, preferable period correct. This Honda CL175 counts! [Paul d’Orleans]
Harley and Deb Welch on their Heinkel scooter. [Paul d’Orleans]


Paul d’Orléans is the founder of He is an author, photographer, filmmaker, museum curator, event organizer, and public speaker. Check out his Author Page, Instagram, and Facebook.