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Orange County Focus

LAGUNA BEACH : Noise Is Rub, 'Rubbies' Are Told

September 17, 1993|LESLIE EARNEST

Local motorcycle riders are telling "throttle jockeys" throughout Orange County to lower the volume of their machines when they roll into Laguna Beach, or they may face new parking restrictions.

"We're spreading the word all over," said one Harley-Davidson rider who calls himself Dr. Neon. "Bikers beware, Laguna Beach is not pleased with our antics."

The city has given the motorcycle riders until Nov. 16 to convince other riders who hang out at Las Brisas restaurant on weekends that they must stop annoying residents near the eatery.

The restaurant, located on Cliff Drive at the edge of Heisler Park, has been a favorite stopover for "rubbies" (rich urban bikers), a trendy, upscale subgroup of riders whose numbers have grown in recent years.

Local bikers say they don't spend much time at the restaurant and they blame out-of-towners for causing the problems.

"It's the rubs, that's what it is," said Laguna Beach resident Rock Martin. "They come down to Laguna Beach and drink and show off."

In response to complaints from neighbors about "noise pollution," the council was set to approve a law on Tuesday restricting parking for motorcycle riders on Cliff Drive. However, when about 15 local bikers made a surprise appearance at City Hall to say they could solve the problem themselves, the council voted to hold off.

Martin told city leaders that word of mouth did the job in Huntington Beach.

Complaints here have come mainly from residents who live at the Royal Tahitian apartments, across the street from Las Brisas.

Jinnie Barrie, who has managed the 25-unit building for more than two years, said the noise keeps residents from enjoying the pool and patios on weekends.

"Usually (the bikers) start arriving around 3 on Sunday. You can almost set your clock by them," she said. "I have people in this building 97 years of age that have lived here 20 years plus. They're terribly distressed every weekend, particularly on Sundays."

The ordinance being considered by the city would force motorcycle riders to park at the north end of the 300 block of Cliff Drive, out of view from the restaurant and away from the Royal Tahitian apartments.

But bikers said they need to park in front of the restaurant so they can keep an eye on their expensive machines. And they don't want to park in the lot behind the eatery.

"It's one of those male-bonding type things," said Neon, who estimated his own Harley-Davidson's value at more than $70,000. "It's a thing where you want to stand there and look at each other's bikes. All it would do is put everybody in the parking lot."

Police Chief Neil J. Purcell Jr.--a Harley-Davidson lover himself--agreed that the bikers should have some time to try to exert some "peer pressure."

Local riders said they will distribute flyers in the coming weeks.

But Councilman Robert F. Gentry warned bikers that if the noise isn't toned down, he will take the lead in approving the new restrictions.

Neon said he and another local rider began spreading the word Wednesday night at Cook's Corner, a longtime biker hangout in Trabuco Canyon. The response was less than enthusiastic.

"No one really cared out there," he said.

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