Guest post from Serge Faberge in Southern California (Ryan Roadkill designed that mural by the way).
Parties have been thin on the schedule these past plague years, so a quick spin around the grand opening of the new Los Angeles branch of London's own Bike Shed was an absolute must. After the usual tears and tantrums over the wardrobe (the photographer/cub reporter thought the suit and sunshine yellow Sideburn polo shirt combo a little much - rich coming from an antipodean who dresses like an Acid house Rupert the Bear), the Tyler The Creator-esque pastels were eschewed for being too early in the season, so on with the fallback Italian tailoring and off we go.
The space in downtown Los Angeles is definitely impressive, especially when arriving to see a street full of bikes overflowing from a stacked parking lot. Inside is a rather elegant set up with the feel of the sort of club you might have found Captain Hastings lingering in, all leather armchairs and subdued lighting around a glittering bar, although the in house barber and tattoo shop would be sadly lacking from even the best of London's Clubs. (The Captain surely would have appreciated a nice BSA Sloper or the like whether Ms. Christie mentioned it or not.) There's a plush retail area with their own branded kit front and centre as well as riding gear and partner brands like Belstaff, as well as Indian, Ducati and Royal Enfield.
Although there are no bikes for sale, the target crowd being those already equipped, there were some very nice customs scattered around which is always a joy and of course what we're here for. Some lovely Royal Enfield action from Baak, a scattering of RSD's work, a lovely Alex Earle Ducati and a stunning Untitled Motors Moto Guzzi with mad aluminium work. The personal favourite however, had to be the 1971 BSA form Madhouse Motors J.Shia with pull start, patina and lines like a supermodel.
In correct journalistic balance we should perhaps ask why? Does the world need another high end motorbike lifestyle shop? Well, if they're like this, yes. It is in LA remember, and the venerable curmudgeonly bloke with a battered field jacket and more battered bike doing hill climbs and flat track on paddock courses sadly doesn't exist here, and pie and chips is absent, more's the pity. (Although Truffle Fries are a consolation and the Bike Shed's menu also has a reputable looking Full English for those that can.) Even the jeans and T-shirt brigade are more likely to be sporting selvedge denim rather than oil-impregnated, but judging by the opening night crowd the place will be nicely inclusive with all manner of enthusiast welcome, not just those with their own whisky locker.