Dirt, sport, custom riders bring a love of bikes to San Diego event
For off-road and motocross riders in southern California, winter is a magical time when the rains (hopefully) come and turn rutted-out hardpack into pliable, grippy, wonderful dirt. January is also when Supercross makes a total of three stops between Anaheim and San Diego, so double win for the dirty folk.
On the other hand, sport and custom riders frequently take the winter off. Despite mild temperatures, extremely rain slicked streets and beautiful weather the rest of the year do little to entice riders out for a brisk respite. But what if there were something worth riding to?
Alpinestars made a valiant attempt to unite the tribes by holding a shindig the day before the San Diego Supercross in Little Italy. Housed inside James Coffee, the Alpinestars #nicebike event combined music, film, artisan-crafted goods (motorcycles and otherwise) and a party atmosphere on what would otherwise be a rainy, dreary January Friday.
James Coffee is a local San Diego coffee roaster (and retail shop), specializing in small batches of handcrafted coffee. In its James Coffee Co. Space, there are other niche vendors, including a bicycle shop, an eyewear boutique, a beard barber, a clothing store and a design shop. Alpinestars took over the Space, with a DJ spinning funky retro tunes (on vinyl, of course), the #nicebike photo booth allowing attendees to take pictures of their rides, custom and/or vintage bikes from a variety of local shops on display, vintage moto films playing on a loop and a pop-up store of a selection of Alpinestars goods inside the bicycle shop. The Space had a lot of communal space for mingling (or displaying custom bikes) and provided chess and checkers games, which were in use all night.
Despite the wind and rain, quite a crowd filled the Space, even if most of the attendees drove. The #nicebike booth was underutilized as only a smattering of bikes rolled up and parked outside. Alpinestars representatives, obvious in their bright red jackets, prowled the Space and mingled. The pop-up display was well trafficked. Bill Maye, a dealer development specialist for the brand, said it was exactly the crowd they were looking for: young and urban with great (expensive) taste in bikes. Essentially, it was all of the same guys — and gals — who would frequent the businesses in James Coffee’s Space. The hipsters. Riders of bespoke old imports, or occasionally a Harley Sportster. The kind that would get their beard trimmed next to a coffee shop, or buy bespoke spectacles.
But, thanks to the synergy of the Supercross weekend, Alpinestars could also strut its stuff with the dirty folk, or (as seen at the event) sport bike riders as well.
The focus of the display was Alpinestars’ Oscar line — upscale and classic-looking riding gear, with modern safety built in.
The pop-up also displayed limited selections of race leathers (along with racier street gear) and off-road/MX boots, to show off the brands versatility beyond the urban market.
Billy Bartels is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer who has been contributing to Powersports Business since 2016.