For Harley-Davidson riders who are visiting Los Angeles, or locals who want a cool weekend getaway, motorcycle rentals offer a great chance to get out and explore the beautiful Southern California area on two wheels. Needing only a valid motorcycle license, renters can get a great bike, along with a helmet and all the safety gear they need.
Where to rent
Most Harley-Davidson dealerships offer rentals. Glendale Harley-Davidson (3717 San Fernando Road Glendale, CA) has been making Southern California riders happy since 1976 and offers a full range of rentals. They cater to tourists visiting Southern California and can handle all the arrangements for a Southern California Harley riding vacation.
Where to ride
I recommend a Pacific Coast Highway ride, starting in Santa Monica and riding up the coast until Santa Barbara. The ride, which takes riders through Malibu, then Oxnard and Ventura, takes about two hours. It’s great to make the ride in the morning, have lunch and explore Santa Barbara, then return home late in the afternoon.
Las Vegas is about a four-hour ride from Los Angeles, but most of the ride is through the desert. I prefer the shorter ride to Palm Springs which takes about an hour and a half. Another beautiful ride is up into the mountains to Big Bear, about two hours from Los Angeles, along some twisty mountain highways.
On the weekends, Southern California bikers converge on a few long-time hangouts. Don’t miss The Rock Store (30354 Mullholland Hwy Calabasas, CA) in the hills above Malibu. Cook’s Corner (19152 Santiago Canyon Road Trabuco Canyon, CA) has been a bar since 1933 and catering to bikers since the 70’s. It’s the big Orange County weekend biker hangout, located in Trabuco Canyon.
Available rental bikes
At Glendale Harley-Davidson, the full range of Harley models are available for rental, from the XL883C Sportster to the VRSCF V-Rod. All the big bikes are available, my favorite is the FLHX Street Glide. Other options include the FLHTCU Ultra Classic Electra Glide, the FLHRC Road King Classic or the FLSTC Heritage Softail Classic.
Glendale Harley has a great four-hour rate for any bike of $85. A full day on the Sportster is $85, the other Harley models are $139 per day on weekends ($110 mid-week). Discounted rates of $330 for three days and $700 for seven days are also available. In most cases, dealers will credit the rental price against a purchase, making it a great way to experience an extended test ride. These prices do not include insurance, gear or fuel. Rates are similar at other Harley dealerships.
Renters must already have a motorcycle license or valid motorcycle endorsement on a regular license. Minimum age is 25 (minimum age for passengers is 18). A major credit card is required and a $2,000 deposit is authorized on the card upon pick up. Renters must have their own motorcycle insurance that will cover a rental or insurance can be purchased as part of the rental.
Freddy Sherman is a world traveler and editor of the travel blog travel4people.com. In the past six months, he has visited Turkey, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Cambodia and Canada and Peru. You can follow him on Twitter @thefredsherman
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