My god, where do I start to tell you about French Melanie? She is the sort of girl that makes you think, what the hell have I been doing with my life? When she starts to tell you about all the places that she has lived, and all of the things that she has done. Straight off the top of my head, I can tell you that she has lived in four of the liveliest cities in the world: Paris, London, New York and Los Angeles. She has always been heavily into the biker/Rocker world. She started riding motorcycles in the UK before she even learnt to drive, I guess at the age of about nineteen. Over the years, she has owned many motorcycles, ranging from a 1954 BSA through to a chopped GSX1100 Suzuki. And somewhere in between she rode a sweet little 550/4 Honda café racer and a big inch, stroked, hardtail Harley-Davidson.
Whatever she has ridden, the look of Mel’s bike is obviously very important to her, but after many years of riding, she wanted to go back to riding something that felt tight, light, fast and highly manoeuvrable, and was just as importantly completely reliable. With this in mind, she decided that she would like a modern day café racer, but one that had a distinctive So Cal feel to it, to fit into her current Hollywood lifestyle. It had taken her a long time to realise how much of a soft spot she had carried for her earlier café racer, and classics in general, but as soon as she did, this bike became inevitable.
Southern Californian roads are notoriously in really bad shape, so Mel chose to have a bike built that she would enjoy riding whatever the condition of the road. Most of the bikes in that part of the world are heavily chromed and painted in bright colours that match the weather, so getting my first glimpse of Mel’s new ride I was not at all surprised to find it so understated, she has somehow come up with the ultimate Orange County Choppers anti-theme bike, and in a world of glitz and glamour she has a bike to be proud of, a bike that makes a statement about the sort of woman she is.
Part 1/ Word & Images by: by Steve Kelly Photography