"Throttle Jockey" is written by Times staff writer Susan Carpenter, a 14-year motorcycle veteran and a former certified motorcycle instructor. Her column will appear every other Wednesday in the Los Angeles Times' weekly Highway 1 automotive section, and will be available online at http://www.latimes.com/highway1
- comprehensive motorcycle reviews, ranging from an $800 Chinese motorcycle and $90,000 Ducati Desmosedici Limited Edition to everything in between, including scooters;
- an inside look at the men and women who make up Los Angeles' diverse motorcycle culture and the sport bikes, touring bikes, hybrids, choppers, dirt bikes, dual sports and scooters they ride; and
- first-person reports showcasing local motorcycle race tracks as well as well-traveled and lesser-known road tours.
According to the Motorcycle Industry Council, California ranks first in terms of motorcycle sales and ownership, with more than 1 million motorcycles owned in the state. In 2005, motorcycle sales in the state were 77 percent higher than they were in 2000, with Southern California the center of this growth.
The major Japanese motorcycle manufacturers Suzuki, Yamaha, Honda and Kawasaki have their U.S. offices based in the state. Many of the top custom motorcycle builders, such as Jesse James' West Coast Choppers and Von Dutch Kustom Cycles, also are headquartered here.
"Southern California is motorcycle nirvana," said Carpenter. "The weather's perfect pretty much year round and there's good riding almost everywhere you look: mountains, desert, streets and on the tracks. That's why so many riders from your average street biker to the top motocross and track pros call Southern California home."
"With so many new motorcycle models coming out each year, anyone interested in riding can find a bike that suits them and this column will be their guide," she said, "whether that person is an empty-nester motorcycling for the first time, a woman moving up from the passenger seat or a rider returning to the sport."
Biography: Susan Carpenter
Carpenter purchased her first motorcycle in 1992 and, during the next decade, has owned 10 different motorcycles, including her current 750cc Ducati Monster. In 1997, she became a certified motorcycle instructor, and for the next two years, taught the California Motorcyclist Training Program's Basic Rider Course.
Carpenter began her journalism career in 1995 as a freelancer for the San Francisco Weekly and as editor of the former Los Angeles fashion magazine UHF. In 1996, she began freelance writing for the Los Angeles Times and Jane magazine. In late 1998, she joined the Los Angeles Times as a features writer and has written about rock music, alternative culture and the Los Angeles motorcycle scene.
About the Los Angeles Times
The Pulitzer Prize-winning Los Angeles Times is the largest metropolitan daily newspaper in the country, with a daily readership of nearly 2.2 million and about 3.3 million on Sunday. With its media businesses and affiliates including latimes.com, TheEnvelope.com, Times Community Newspapers, Recycler Classifieds, Hoy, and California Community News the Los Angeles Times reaches approximately 7.6 million or 58 percent of all adults in the Southern California marketplace every week.
The Los Angeles Times, which this year marks its 125th anniversary covering Southern California, is part of Tribune Company (NYSE: TRB), one of the country's leading media companies with businesses in publishing, the Internet and broadcasting. Additional information about the Los Angeles Times is available at www.latimes.com/mediacenter.