FOR AS LONG AS I CAN REMEMBER, MOTORBIKES HAVE BEEN A PART OF MY LIFE.
My dad was a mechanical engineer and he used to ride a Velocette MAC 350 during WWII. Throughout my childhood, he had various European Classic bikes and he passed this passion on to me.
I was born in 1964 and I grew up with the bikes from that era as well as the Japanese wave during the 70s of dirt bikes, road classics and the English bikes of that period just across the Channel. I bought my first bike when I was 15 years old –– a Yamaha TY50 trial bike –– and my dad and I dismantled its engine to seriously beef it up!
I was living in the South of France and I rode dirt bikes all the time. That first Yamaha was soon followed by a Yamaha DT125 Enduro, then a YZ125 motocross. I put riding aside as professional and family priorities took pole position in my life, but in 2000, I acquired a Triumph Mecatwin Ascot followed by an X90 from the same Paris-based custom shop. Then came a Ducati Mostro S4R, a BMW Boxer Cup, a Norton Commando 961 Café Racer, two MV Agusta Brutale 1090RR and today you’ll find me on a BMW K1300R…for the moment.
I ride every day around Paris, I do track days as often as possible, and I take every opportunity to ride abroad: Italy, Switzerland, Spain, England and of course the USA, with my buddy Van and all kinds of friends on all kinds of bikes. You can find our motley crew down south at the Barber Vintage Festival, racing the waves up Highway 101 or crossing the vast open deserts of the American West.
One of my favourite places to ride is where I spent many years, in the Provence area of southern France, with its curvy gorgeous roads and dry sunny weather. Van has ridden with me twice there and has fond memories of those roads! I still organize rides in the Provence area with local buddies and far away friends who come to the land of stinky cheese for these trips.
See you on the road.
EVEANNA DAURAY MANLEY
EveAnna Dauray Manley is a full-blooded American who grew up in The South, went to Columbia University in the City of New York and has lived in Southern California since 1990.
As soon as she was tall enough to reach the pedals of her grandfather's little Kawasaki KE100 she learned how to ride in the fields and Jeep trails of his 200 acre farm in New Hampshire. Van's grandfather, "Bo", was a giant influence on her life. Van always wanted to be doing whatever he was doing which usually involved moving at a high rate of speed on a motorbike or snowmobile, working with his hands building or repairing something, growing something, cooking something, working long hours helping his retail customers installing something, or simply enjoying cocktail hour with friends and family!
Like her grandfather, Van became an entrepreneur and built a high-end electronics company, Manley Laboratories, Inc. which manufactures primarily vacuum tube-based audio equipment. She is as comfortable geeking out on the electronics bench as she is working with her customers building distribution networks in both pro audio and audiophile markets around the world. Marketing and branding have been Van's main focus in her professional life, while riding her motorbikes have fueled this creative existence.
"When I am on my bikes, my head goes simultaneously into three modes. The first level is like a constant ticking of a clock. Listening to music keeps my brain engaged and turned on. The second level is interpreting stimulus around me: my hands are cold, there's a bridge, turn my head, look at that pretty cow, there's a space to pass that car, you know, motorbiking awareness things. The third level is deep contemplation of my life wondering how did I get here, appreciating this, and dreaming about what is coming up next in my life and who that's going to be with. Working on the computer all day is very frustrating and distracting. It is only while riding that my brain seems to actually focus."
Manley Labs has provided a professional excuse for Van to travel around the world and she has interjected her travels with motorcycle tours whenever possible. She has spent weeks riding in the Alps, Western USA, South of France, and Vietnam. In 2006, Van rode solo across the USA on her 1991 Harley-Davidson FXLR visiting audio customers and family along the three month-long journey. Van is fearless and impassioned. And definitely happiest when she is on a motorbike.
You'll usually find Van scooting around Los Angeles with her biker buddies on her H-D, 1998 Triumph Thunderbird Sport, or 1974 Moto Guzzi 850T she just picked up.