For many bicycle enthusiasts, motorcycles are another part of our two wheel Passion. For the world’s top level elite Supercross, MotoGP and Superbike stars; bicycles are a key part of their training and fitness programs. Shimano recently hosted a group ride featuring moto racers and industry friends on a road ride from their U.S. headquarters in Irvine, CA. This was the second year of the Shimano Moto Athlete Road Ride and the turnout for the 20 mile ride was impressive. Athletes enjoyed a post-ride lunch in Shimano’s showroom which was followed by a screening of the new movie The Rise of Enduro with cast member and enduro racer Kyle Warner on hand.
Shimano’s Mountain Bike Marketing Specialist, Joe Lawwill gives some details, “Moto athletes are getting more and more involved with cycling. Some of these guys are more interested in learning about Di2 or our 11-speed drivetrains than the latest factory race bikes. These riders have a lot of fans who look up to them and may not be exposed to Shimano on a regular basis. It makes sense for us to share the brand with a new crop of people. This event is a really good opportunity for the moto athletes to see what happens behind the doors here at Shimano and get in a little ride.”
It’s no surprise that a high tech bicycle company like Shimano would attract the attentions of high tech motorcycle racers from both road race and dirt origins. So many technologies have crossed over from motorcycle to bicycles (disc brakes, suspension forks, full suspension frames) and the trend is just going to continue (electronic suspension controls, electronic shifting).
Before the ride started, there was a moment of silence in memory of Tommy Aquino, a former Shimano moto athlete. Aquino was a young up-and-coming racer who passed away from a very bad motorcycle crash while he was cross training on a local Socal MX track. His crash happened just after last year’s inaugural Shimano Moto Athlete Road Ride.
The 2015 AMA Supercross season has just gotten under way and many of the racers were already in the area. Four of the first six races on the Supercross schedule are in Southern California. The list of Supercross racers on hand included Cole Seely, Justin Barcia, Broc Tickle, Cooper Webb (who had won the previous evening’s West Region 250SX main event), Marvin Musquin (from France) and reigning East Region 250SX Champion Justin Bogle. Besides these current competitors, legends of Supercross’s past were on hand like Jeremy McGrath, Jeff Ward, Mike Bell, Micky Dymond, Jimmy Button and Phil Lawrence. Cole Seely is a member of the Team Honda and the Socal native (Newbury Park) just made the move up to the 450 class this year (from the 250 class). Seely commented, “I always do a little recovery ride on Sundays, so it was nice to link up with a bunch of friends and have some fun. Cycling is a passion of mine, and I’m thankful to have Shimano support me.” Seely finished sixth in the 450SX main event at Anaheim 2 and his trainer is none other than Brian Lopes (multi-time mountain bike champion and superstar).
The list or attendees wasn’t limited to just Supercross racers, motorcycle road racers Nicky Hayden (2006 MotoGP World Champion), Roger Hayden, Josh Hayes (multi time AMA Superbike Champion), Melissa Paris, Chris Fillmore, Eric Bostrom and Jake Lewis also rode. Also on hand was surfing legend Sunny Garcia and watercraft hero Victor Sheldon. Nicky Hayden said, “It was a really nice event with a great group of people. Shimano has nice components and takes good care of us. It was fun to do a nice ride and to get to check out their facility.”
Not to be outshown, there were a few mountain bike athletes representing including trials pioneer Hans Rey, trials rider Ryan Leech, multi-time world champion Jill Kintner, downhiller Bryn Atkinson, enduro racer Cody Kelley and BMX Olympians Robert de Wilde and Joris Daudet.
Enjoy a few photos of the event in our gallery below.