I've had the pleasure of attending the Quail Motorcycle gathering a number of years. It's an event that's pricey - $75 - but worth every penny. Unlike a lot of motorcycle shows that are in dingy convention halls or noisy parking lots, the Quail event takes place on part of the pristine Quail Lodge & Golf Club near Carmel, California.
While the Quail Motorcycle Gathering doesn't have the cache, cost or attendance of the even more upscale Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance , it doesn't try to. Afterall, this is a motorcycle crowd, and while many have enough money to buy collectible motorcycles in large lots, the love of two wheels, sidecar rigs, and occasional three-wheeler, breaks down a lot of would-be barriers.
Each year, the organizers pick a theme or a person or persons to honor. They couldn't have broken down more barriers than by picking Arlen Ness and his son and grandson to both honor and feature.
For those unfamiliar with the name, Arlen and his family are everything the Teutuls and Orange County Choppers wished they could be. Arlen started building custom choppers in a small garage in Oakland and went on to create a multi-million dollar business designing and selling customized parts for V-Twins. Custom building was a way to showcase his design skills and the parts were a way for the average biker to customize his own bike with a bit of Arlen Ness to set it off. The Mach-Ness shown below is just one example.
The Quail Motorcycle Gathering will feature many of Arlen's creations from his private collection, as well as an assortment of classic and modern cafe racers, electric bikes, and the traditional classes that have made up the bulk of the show.
So mark you calendars for Saturday, May 5, and be prepared to have what the Brits might call "a lovely day." If you're still not convinced, here's a story I wrote about this year's event, complete with more photos than you can fit in a scrapbook.