Favorite rides on Guzzi Californias

December 26th, 20092 Comments »

California Vintage Christmas

As a husband and father, it’s rare for me to be able to ride my Moto Guzzi California for long rides.  Any of you that have a young family know what I am talking about.

Let’s face it,  I’m lucky to be able to have a motorcycle, and I’m not complaining. When I do go for a pleasure ride, short as it may be, I ride my Moto Guzzi on my favorite back roads of northern Union county North Carolina to make the most out of it.

Related to short, but high quality rides, Rider magazine has an excellent article each month that I look forward to reading. The article is a department called “Favorite Ride”.  Normally, the favorite rides are quite long, at least compared to what I can realistically do at this point in my life.  In other words, these are great to imagine, but are not within reach.  When I read Adam Zuckerman’s favorite ride “Winter in Connecticut” in the February 2010 Rider, I finally found one I could relate to.

Adam rides a two-tone blue Moto Guzzi California V11, which is pictured in the article. Having lived in the upstate NY for most of my life, I  understand snow, ice and the very desperate feeling to want to get out and make the most of a warmer than usual winter’s day.  Adam’s article starts out by saying “Sometimes the best motorcycle ride in the world is the one that you can actually take.  Even if it is only an hour or two on familiar roads near home.”

When I saw the Guzzi California and read that opening statement, I related to it instantly.

His description of starting his Guzzi V11 in the cold was a bit dramatic. However, it clearly relayed the passion that Moto Guzzi owners share about their motorcycles.  He’s right.  Moto Guzzi motorcycles have  “descended from Italian Air Force biplanes of The Great War”.  And even though the Moto Guzzi v-twin wasn’t developed for decades after, it does seem to have the genes of an air-cooled airplane engine.

Here in the Carolinas, our winters are mostly motorcycle-friendly.  I went Christmas shopping on my California this year and took one of my favorite, although brief, rides to the antique shops in Waxaw.  This place is a great riding destination from any direction or distance.

The California Vintage has good luggage space because it comes with lockable hard bags.  The Givi top case that I installed, also lockable, really came in handy too on this ride.

Sure, the Moto Guzzi California is made for long distance riding.  And yes, the California Vintage is a very nice, traditional touring motorcycle.  Although I don’t get the opportunity very often to take a real road trip, the favorite rides like Adam Zuckerman and I take on our California Guzzis are absolute gold.  Thanks Adam for sharing your favorite ride and your Moto Guzzi California with the readers of Rider magazine!

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About John Clay

John Clay is the author of MotoGuzziCalifornia.Com. He and his family reside in North Carolina in the United States. A graduate of the Motorcycle Safety Foundation's Experienced Rider Course, he enjoys riding and maintaining his Moto Guzzi California Vintage.

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  1. Adam Zuckerman says:

    Thanks for the kind words!

    Your Vintage looks great. I hope we get to ride together some day.
    -Adam Z.

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