Carmel Magazine

Carmel Magazine HO15

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 73 of 211

Large Men Plus Little Bikes Equals Big Fun W hen the subject of American motorcycle gang members aris- es, chances are the first image that comes to mind is of a big, scary, leather-clad outlaw, covered in tattoos and grease, holding a beer, slouching on a blinged-out Harley Davidson, a look of pure evil in his eye. Instead of inciting fear and dread when they roll down the street in formation, the Monterey Mini Bike Gang is more likely to conjure up grins and chuckles as they roar down the street. Mostly, they are also big guys, sometimes leather-clad, and have been known to enjoy an adult beverage from time to time. But far from pro- jecting the fearful, violence-prone image of the one-percenter gangs, these middle-aged men are obviously in this for pure fun. The look in their eyes is more likely to be one of pure mischief. Founder Peter Speciale likens the group to a time machine. "When you jump on one of these small bikes, you turn into a kid," he says. American males of a cer tain age may remember that guy in the neigh- borhood who was lucky enough to own a mini-bike. "It was a status sym- bol," Speciale recalls. "You were automatically cool…like Fonzie on 'Happy Days.' My family wasn't well-to-do. I wasn't one of those kids." For the most par t, the motorcycles the club's 30 members ride are no longer manufactured. Many sit astride a Honda Z-50. Manufactured between 1969 and 1973, the bikes originally spor ted a 50cc motor, though most have been modified to provide a greater engine displace- ment. They have no rear suspension, earning the nickname "little hard- tail." The club doesn't have firm rules about what kind of bike allows a rider to qualify for membership. "Anything under 200ccs is welcome," Speciale says. Members are inveterate tinkerers. They have to be. "You literally have to be a mechanic to own one of these bikes," says Speciale with a chuck- le, "because, like us, they're old." —Michael Chatfield SHORTCUTS NEIGHBORS Peter Speciale (center) founded the Monterey Mini Bike Gang, a 30-member group who ride 50cc motorcycles for fun. The "little hardtails" are nostalgic and cool "like Fonzie," says Speciale. New riders are welcome, on any bikes under 200cc. 72 C A R M E L M A G A Z I N E • H O L I D A Y 2 0 1 5 Photo: Kelli Uldall

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of Carmel Magazine - Carmel Magazine HO15