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A CRIMINAL POTHOLE
05.16.2006


Major props to TV commentator Alain de Cadenet, master of ceremonies at the recent Legends of the Motorcycle Invitational Concours d'Elegance, for riding his 1948 Vincent Black Shadow the 300 miles to Half Moon Bay where the concours was held at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel on a bluff overlooking the Pacific.

Class on the grass: Not only did the fancy Ritz-Carlton welcome showbikes on their golf course, a crowd of 4300 people showed up at the inaugural Legends of the Motorcycle Concours. Next year's event takes place May 5th. Photo: Andrew Wheeler

Spectacular show on Saturday - and I'd say that even if my Trackmaster Triumph cafe-racer and Velocette KSS bob-job didn't each nab second-in-class ribbons - followed by a Sunday-morning ride to the famed Alice's Restaurant on twisty (if bumpier than I remembered) Skyline Blvd. Alain (it's pronounced Allan; he's a Brit, never mind the French spelling of his first and last names) was in fine form on his Vinnie, easing past my Dreer Commando in the company of several riders on current machinery, including Miguel Galuzzi, designer of the Ducati Monster, on - what else? - a Ducati Monster.

At Alice's, I complimented Alain, 60, on his riding. As anyone who's seen his "Victory by Design" series on old cars can attest, de Cadenet knows his away through the curves. He's also raced at LeMans 15 times, finishing third overall in 1976. "Thanks. Yeah, she's a good old piece of kit," he said of the well-worn Black Shadow. "Been riding her so long she's like an old glove. Not much good in the bumps, though."

Within a few minutes, de Cadenet's crash scene was awash in flashing lights and emergency vehicles. Sadly, they've got more than a little experience with motorcycle crashes along the central California coast. Photo: Charles Falco

A half-hour later, one of those bumps would pitch Alain over the handlebars and send his beloved Vincent careening into the forest. Hidden in the shadows by the side of the road was a pothole that I later described to an investigating officer as "criminal." It had already been unsuccessfully patched at least once, but there was still a hard lip a couple of inches high on the far end. When the Vincent's front wheel plowed into that lip it immediately pretezeled, throwing Alain out of the seat and onto the asphalt. The bike remained upright, but vectored off the road and down a 30-foot ravine, thankfully missing several large trees and one wide-eyed hiker.

Alain suffered some scuffs to his familiar mug and a broken wrist that was operated on the next day. "He was very lucky" said Galuzzi, who along with myself and several others dragged the Black Shadow back up to the road (lead photo). "There were three of us right behind at the time of the crash and we all missed him." Alain was back home in LA. two days later recuperating. The Vincent will need new rims and fenders, a headlight shell and some bodywork on the gas tank - not bad, considering.

The saddest victim of crash was undoubtedly de Cadenet's 50-year-old leather jacket, cut off by the paramedics despite Alain's protestations. Apparently it was a present from his mother, who had received it long ago from an up-and-coming actor friend named Marlon Brando.


-- David Edwards
Cycle World magazine
 

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that is just plain sad all around!....famous irreplaceable jacket....rare and wild bike...and an even rarer one of a kind irreplaceable rider...all because some minumum wage weenie pussnut did a half assed patch job.....wish that turd brain had ridden himself and hit that thing!
 

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zooom said:
that is just plain sad all around!....famous irreplaceable jacket....rare and wild bike...and an even rarer one of a kind irreplaceable rider...all because some minumum wage weenie pussnut did a half assed patch job.....wish that turd brain had ridden himself and hit that thing!
+1 zoom

I always throughly enjoyed and looked forward to Alain and "Victory By Design" Bum about the 50 yr old jacket from mum! Wish I'd have known about the event.

I use to work on a asphalt patch crew in WI and always thought we did a far superior job than what I've seen here in CA.

Thanks for posting Rob
 

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jbourque said:
Wish I'd have known about the event.
I knew about the event but chose not to pay the $50 for a ticket. It was a charity event, and not a cheap one (I mean, they held it at the Ritz afterall).

Thanks for posting Rob
You're welcome, though I can't take all the credit. It showed up in my inbox from my buddy Rodger Harrison. He gets the credit for spotting the article -- I just decided to share.
 

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bummer for Alain, but I wouldn't worry about the leather. I'd send it out and have it repaired. "surgical cut-offs" can be repaired, and the stitching just adds character. Regardless of work done on it, it will always have Brando's history.

If you really want to record shit patch jobs...come stay with me for a weekend. The roads in CT are the worst I've seen.[period]
 

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I've bitched about our roads more than once. Take I/80 from Sacramento to either 580 or 680 to the bay area. I refuse to trailer my bike in the slow lane, its like driving over the Grand Canyon. When in the hell is Cal Trans going to come out at night like they used to do in the old days and fix the god damn roads? I can't believe the condition of our roads, their dangerous and expensive because they beat the shit out of your suspension. With the millions in inflated home price property taxes we are getting hammered by Mello Roos bonds too. Its time for another Prop 13 if they don't show something tangible in return for the excessive property taxes.
 
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