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To Mexico and Back on a 150cc Motorcycle

Putting CSC Motorcycles to the test

Story and photos by Joe Berk
3/6/2012

When Steve Seidner founded CSC Motorcycles under the name California Scooter Company in 2008, he wanted to prove his 150cc motorcycles could travel long distances and stand the test of many miles. So in November 2010, a group of five riders rode CSC motorcycles from San Diego, Calif., to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, and back, a nine-day, 2,000-mile ride covering the length of the Baja peninsula. The company wanted to see how the motorcycles performed under demanding riding conditions—and have fun doing it.  

Arlene Battishill, one of the riders on the trip, traveling in Mexico on her customized CSC motorcycle.
Arlene Battishill, one of the riders on the trip, traveling in Mexico on her customized CSC motorcycle.

CSC motorcycles are Steve Seidner’s retro-styled, modern versions of the 1950s Mustang motorcycle. The motorcycles are scooter-sized, with traditional motorcycle layouts. They entered production in early 2009. Be sure to read WRN Editor Genevieve Schmitt's review of CSC Motorcycles' fun little machines.
      
The CSC riding group, a virtual “who’s who” of accomplished small motorcycle and scooter riders, included Arlene Battishill, CEO of GoGo Gear, a Los-Angeles-based women’s and men's riding apparel brand; John Welker, international motorcycle traveler and chief flight test engineer at Edwards Air Force Base; Simon Gandolfi, British novelist and small-motorcycle international adventurer; and J. Brandon, president of American Sahara, a communications consultancy specializing in adventure travel.        

Arlene’s CSC motorcycle was customized with the logo of her company, GoGo Gear. Here, she’s seen riding near the Sea of Cortez.
Arlene’s CSC motorcycle was customized with the logo of her company, GoGo Gear. Here, she’s seen riding near the Sea of Cortez.


The group, left to right: Simon Gandolfi (sitting in Arlene Battishill’s lap), J. Brandon, John Welker, and Joe Berk of CSC Motorcycles.
The group, left to right: Simon Gandolfi (sitting in Arlene Battishill’s lap), J. Brandon, John Welker, and Joe Berk of CSC Motorcycles.

In order to thoroughly wring out its bikes, CSC Motorcycles wanted the group to ride under demanding riding conditions, so they selected September—Baja’s hottest month—for the trip. The group crossed the Tropic of Cancer on their way to Cabo San Lucas and experienced daily temperatures in excess of 100 degrees.

Arlene on the road between La Paz and Cabo San Lucas.
Arlene on the road between La Paz and Cabo San Lucas.

Simon Gandolfi with the CSC motorcycle he rode to Baja.
Simon Gandolfi with the CSC motorcycle he rode to Baja.

The northern part of the ride, from Tijuana to El Rosario, skirted the Pacific Ocean on the western side of the peninsula and wound through Mexico’s wine country and agricultural region. Once below Ensenada, the group was well away from the tourist areas and deep into the heart of the true Baja and authentic Mexico. At El Rosario, the route turned inland through Baja’s Vizcaino Desert, with a mix of twisting mountain roads and long straights. The riders crossed Catavina’s boulder fields, a stark and surreal collection of enormous boulders punctuated by 70-foot-tall Cardon cactus plants. The terrain in this region is otherworldly—many consider it to be one of the most unique landscapes on the planet.

Cardon cactus, the dark green plants seen on the right, dominate the roadway. Cardon and Cirios cactus are unique to the Baja area—they grow nowhere else.
Cardon cactus, the dark green plants seen on the right, dominate the roadway. Cardon and Cirios cactus are unique to the Baja area—they grow nowhere else.

At Guerrero Negro, about 500 miles south of the border, the CSC riders turned inland and crossed the peninsula in a southeasterly direction. After stopping in the San Ignacio oasis and riding through the Los Tres Virgenes volcano’s lava fields, the 150cc-mounted riders descended through La Cuesta del Infierno, dropping 2,000 feet in just a few miles to arrive in Santa Rosalia on the Sea of Cortez. The group arrived in Santa Rosalia on Mexico’s Independence Day, just in time to observe military parades and other festivities celebrating Mexico’s Bicentennial.

The little CSC bikes did quite well on unleaded Mexican gas. The author of this article, Joe Berk, joked that the riders were just happy there was no water in the fuel.
The little CSC bikes did quite well on unleaded Mexican gas. The author of this article, Joe Berk, joked that the riders were just happy there was no water in the fuel.

The single-cylinder adventure motorcycle riders skirted the Sea of Cortez, past Bahia de Concepcion (a magnificent ride along a stunning aquamarine bay), the resort towns of Loreto and La Paz, and points south to arrive in Cabo San Lucas after being on the road for five days. After staying the night in Cabo, the group immediately pointed the bikes north again, retracing their route at a much brisker pace. During the last two days, the group rode the bikes wide open, keeping the CSC motorcycles near their top speed (just above 60 miles per hour).

Arlene in Nueva Chapala in Baja, about 375 miles south of the border.
Arlene in Nueva Chapala in Baja, about 375 miles south of the border.

It was a magnificent ride, and the riders learned a lot about the bikes. It was all good—the scenery, the riding, the food and the camaraderie. Everyone in the group said they’re ready to do it again tomorrow! For more information, visit CaliforniaScooterCo.com.
    
Joe Berk is a representative at CSC Motorcycles.

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