An appreciation of South Bay Trikke

Originally published by TrikkeWorld Magazine in January, 2103

TrikkeWorld and SBT celebrating Labor Day Ride 2 in Long Beach in 2011.
TrikkeWorld and SBT celebrating Labor Day Ride 2 in Long Beach in 2011.

Recently, it was announced that, as of 2013, TrikkeWorld will no longer have an “official local dealer.’

It’s safe to say, that without South Bay Trikke — official local dealer of the magazine in 2011 and 2012 — there may have never been a TrikkeWorld Magazine.

Oh sure, someone may have eventually conceived of it. After all, don’t all we believers believe: it’s only a matter of time before this whole thing blows up and Trikkes are at least as big as … snowboards?

Ergo, odds are, someone was bound to create a Trikke magazine. But not this someone. For had it not been for SouthBay Trikke, this someone may have never birthed his very own Trikke universe.

In July, 2009, I lived in a Trikke world with a population of one. My new three-wheel toy was a few months old (bought after seeing an infomercial), and I was privately enjoying each new revelation and milestone, first time around the block, first molehill, etc…

Then my Trikke T78 (with poly wheels in the rear) began to make strange noises, enough to send me on an Internet search for a local dealer who could fix my new toy.

The population of my Trikke world doubled the day I met Andy Pliska of South Bay Trikke, who — as he fixed my Trikke — began to speak a language I had only begun to articulate myself. Trikke Talk. There was even a website by that name in those days.

I left my local dealer — my sanity about this awesome three-wheel “bike” confirmed — knowing I had to do a little Trikke talking myself. That’s what I do. I’m a writer. I’ve always been a writer. So, on my blog, I began writing about this joyride of the 21st century that was changing my life and the great service at South Bay Trikke.

A short time later, I showed my T78 — now with air tires in the rear, thanks to SBT — to my good friend Jeri Thompson. For her too, it was love at first Trikke, er, sight.

Soon after, Jeri bought her first Trikke and we began Trikke riding, Trikke talking and Trikke dreaming together. She encouraged me to suggest the Halloween Ride to SBT, I encouraged her to pursue her idea of a Labor Day Ride.

Along the way to deep immersion into my very own Trikke world, the trailing arm on my T78 broke apart three times, each time killing my fledgling buzz for my new toy. Thankfully, SouthBay Trikke rescued me each and every time.

Even better, going there exposed me to other Trikkes, including the T12, the big toy for big boys, which I soon acquired.

Had I not had SBT to assist me through my early Trikke trials and tribulations, the budding passion may have snuffed out by frustration with the product.

Once I had my first T12, it wasn’t long before my Trikke dreams grew bigger. The weekend Jeri and I co-hosted the first Labor Day Ride, we decided to begat a new dream: TrikkeWorld Magazine.

A few weeks later, we invited Andy and Sean and Irene Tice — the trio behind SBT — to dinner and proposed a partnership: TrikkeWorld and South Bay Trikke, teaming up and becoming the axis of the So Cal Trikke scene, because boy, aren’t we lucky to have such a golden combination of great weather, dense population, diversity of locales, a local dealer and an online magazine to share it with the world?

We dreamed of making the Southern California Trikke scene a carver’s paradise known to all in the Trikke world, hopefully, one day, the site of massive events with hoopla that rivals that afforded beach volleyball, surfing and other quintessentially So Cal rites of sport.

Together, the five of us dreamed up and organized the second Halloween Ride in 2010; then we got really bold and planned out a whole calendar of events for 2011, starting with the first MLK, followed by the first Presidents Ride and what came to be known as the Last Saturday of the Month Ride, later given the moniker LSM by Wilson Wong.

For that first LSM in February, 2010, four people show up; by May, forty-five people showed up. Since then, it’s been one long So Cal Trikkefest. Why, we even spurred the creation of a local Trikke club, So Cal Carvers, which TWM and SBT will continue to sponsor.

Flash forward to July, 2012, when 54 people rode in the LSM Ride and some 67 Trikke fans showed up for the grand opening of the new South Bay Trikke shop.

Oh, how far we’ve come.

Oh, how fortunate we’ve been, to bear witness to our dream coming true. We’ve gone from a local scene that consists of 2-3 group rides a year — namely the Ventura 100k and Aliso Creek endurance haul — and perhaps a dozen locals connected to one another, to a local scene filled with group rides galore, attended by 30, 40, 50(!) people, including destination travelers.

How lucky we’ve been, to meet and connect with lone riders who rode alone for years, not knowing another Trikker. They’ve gone from strangers to people you miss when only see them once a month. Juan Ortega and Robert Drake, to name two.

How lucky we’ve been, to organize rides that led to meeting so many people, like Debbie Bumgardner, who heard about the first MLK Ride on the web, and whose name Jeri then passed on to Roy Wallack, who was doing a LA Times story on obesity and exercise. The article would attract countless to the Trikke world, and a short time later, Debbie met Quincy Jeffries and brought him into the fold. Now he’s the king of the Long Beach Lighthouse; he and wife Monica put on some amazing rides; and Monica has exposed a million friends to the Trikke!

As for me personally, how fortunate am I, to now live in a Trikke world with a population of countless Trikke lovers, some of whom I’ve met personally, some of whom I haven’t, some of whom I’ve carved with, all of whom feel what I feel, know what I know, love what I love. That joy. That high. That magic. The Trikke.

I love experiencing that magic, as a rider, a writer and a magazine publisher. It’s a wonderful life but one that may have never existed, had South Bay Trikke not been there to fix my first Trikke, to say yes to my first suggestion, the Halloween Ride, to say yes to co-organizing the Labor Day Ride, and finally, to say yes, to the partnership that would become SBT&T.

As our collective Trikke world continues to evolve, I look forward to what the future holds for the magazine; and I’d also like to conclude by saying: thank you, Andy, Sean and Irene. For great service, great collaboration and great fun. Here’s to all of us having more of the same in 2013 and beyond.