The San Diego Chariots MC


Earlier in the year, Chop Cult member, Beefdrippings put up a link in the forum to some pics that a buddy of his had scanned. Photos that his mom shot forty years ago when riding with a small club out of Imperial Beach, CA called the Chariots MC. Sharon, the photographer and companion to the VP back then was nice enough to let us post some of the pics and answered a few questions about the people and bikes in these great old photos.

The takeaway? These are good times we live in and nothing lasts forever. Despite a down economy, long-haul wars and myriad other problems we face today, if you are fortunate enough to have a bike and some buddies who are willing to strap a bedroll on and hit the road, things can be pretty darn good. So if you are a lucky one, sit back once in a while and be thankful because you never know how long it'll last. Enjoy the ride!

You can see more photos, in larger sizes on Sharon's son's flickr page here. Huge thanks to her, Carl and Beefdrippings for helping bring these images out of hibernation. It's funny, some of them look like any of our usual adventures - working on a bike in the Denny's parking lot, drinking beer in the shade, hanging with your buddies, only these dudes look a little classier!


San Diego Chariots MC 06


Q: When were these images taken?

These photos were taken in 1972 with a small point and shoot Vivitar camera. I caught a lot of flack for taking them. Definitely not a cool thing to do - But when they came back from the drug store, everyone was sure anxious to see them. I had duplicates made for both Steve and I.


San Diego Chariots MC 02


San Diego Chariots MC 09


San Diego Chariots MC 04


Q: What San Diego area were most members from or where did you guys hang out the most?

As nearly as I recall it seemed that most of the guys lived in or around National City, Chula Vista and IB. Some of them probably lived in San Diego proper but where anyone lived never came up as a topic of conversation. 

Steve's (AKA, Tusky) house on Holly Street in IB was where everyone hung out after hours when the shop was closed. Drinking at a bar was too expensive. I was Tusky's girl friend at the time and we shared one of two bedrooms. Midget and John shared the other bedroom and there was usually at least one, usually more, camped out in the living room. I cooked for whoever was in residence at the time. The guys were always very appreciative of that and I enjoyed their gratitude. They were always very respectful towards me. 

The garage was attached to the living room, and bikes and parts were brought directly into the living room to be worked on and the avocado green carpeting was usually covered in black grease spots. One of the other wives clued me into the fact that Scrubbing Bubbles Bathroom Foam spray worked great to clean up oily grease spots. Those were the days before the vast array of carpet cleaners were available, or at least that I was aware of... And the foam spray worked very well, although trying to keep that carpet clean was pretty much an exercise in futility. 

We were all smokers back then and the pans from old Panheads were all over the house for use as ashtrays. Motorcycle parts often made up much of the "decor". 

One of the best things about being the VP's "old lady" was whenever we went on a "putt", we were always up front, riding in tandem with the president. I never saw what the pack looked like from riding in the middle or the rear.


San Diego Chariots MC 05


San Diego Chariots MC 03


San Diego Chariots MC 07


San Diego Chariots MC 08


Q: Do you keep in contact with many of the old members any more?

Sadly, no. Wish I knew what happened to everyone. I did hear that one the guys (Chuck) joined another club after the Chariots disbanded.


San Diego Chariots MC 10


San Diego Chariots MC 11


San Diego Chariots MC 12


San Diego Chariots MC 13


Q: Did you guys ever ride in Baja?

I'm guessing that you are referring to Baja, Mexico? If so, the answer would have to be a resounding NO! A group of us drove down to TJ, one afternoon, parked the car and walked across the border. It was not much fun crossing into Mexico back then if one looked as rough as we did. They did not seem to be thrilled about "our kind" coming into their fair (LOL) city. Getting back over to our side was a big pain in the neck. I was worried that we would be searched and detained even though we had made a point of making sure that none of us had anything illegal in our possession before we left home. They could not understand how we had even been admitted into Mexico to begin with. So a ride into Baja would probably not have been a good idea.


San Diego Chariots MC 14


San Diego Chariots MC 15


San Diego Chariots MC 16


San Diego Chariots MC 17


San Diego Chariots MC 20


San Diego Chariots MC 23


San Diego Chariots MC 24


Q: What eventually happened to the Club?

 It disbanded - a few months after Steve and I parted ways, although our split had nothing to do with it. There were enough reasons, collectively, I believe to "break the camel's back". Shortly before I moved in with Steve, the club president (Sonny) was killed in a tragic motorcycle accident. Steve kept his position as VP and Charley became president. Charley was very well respected but I don't think the club ever fully recovered from Sonny's death.

Money, or the lack of it, was also an issue - a couple of the guys, Steve included and I believe, also John, were laid off from National Steel. House payments could no longer be made and Bozos was not making enough to make ends meet to support Charley, his wife and new baby. He needed to provide for them with a regular paying job.

Most of the Chariots were in their early twenties and pretty narcissistic about how bad they were. We realized (I include myself) that we were probably not all that bad after a group from a well known 1% club crashed a party we were having at Bozo's one night. These guys were well armed, a lot older, nasty and a truly sadistic bunch trying to bully and scare us with how bad they were. None of the Chariots were lightweights or cowards. Many were former Viet Nam Vets, among them a Navy Seal. I truly believe they would have gone to the wall for each other. But I don't think they had aspirations of being like the bigger clubs. They just wanted to be left alone in their own shop on their own side of town. It was too much to ask for. Some of the guys had families and responsibilities.

I cannot say positively that these are some, any or most of the reasons the Chariots dissolved. This is just surmising on my part, looking back, after the fact, many years later. 

I have always felt blessed to have been able to spend apart of my life in that lifestyle. There was never a dull moment and hearing the sound of bikes coming down the street always made my pulse quicken - I was able able to recognize, sight unseen, who each club member was by the unique sound of his bike's engine. They all rode Harleys.

It is gratifying to know that after so many years, these photos have been given new life and have been enjoyed by a much larger audience than I could have ever imagined..



San Diego Chariots MC 25

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Comment with Chopcult (71)

Commented on 4-6-2012 At 04:17 am

Great pics and an excellent story of how clubs operated "back in the day". Thanks for sharing!

Commented on 4-6-2012 At 04:47 am

Those pics are fucking awesome.. thanks for sharing

Commented on 4-6-2012 At 04:48 am

Thank you do much for sharing.

Commented on 4-6-2012 At 05:12 am

Thanks for sharing - great!

Commented on 4-6-2012 At 05:17 am

Thanks for sharing.
It`s always nice to beable to look back and remember how things were when we were young.


Commented on 4-6-2012 At 05:40 am

This write up was fucking rad!!!! Way more of this!! Awesome story and killer bikes!

Commented on 4-6-2012 At 05:41 am

Thank you!

Commented on 4-6-2012 At 05:42 am

Nice pictures and words, thank you Sharon

Commented on 4-6-2012 At 05:44 am

Thanks for sharing these, there awesome!

Commented on 4-6-2012 At 05:53 am

very nice!

Commented on 4-6-2012 At 05:57 am

Thank You... Sharron.

Commented on 4-6-2012 At 05:57 am

Thank You... Sharron.

Commented on 4-6-2012 At 06:00 am

Everything about this rules.. coolest mom ever.

Commented on 4-6-2012 At 06:21 am

Very nice, Great pictures and She had a great eye glad you got them!! Thanks for letting us check them out!! Long live the CHARIOTS MEMORY!

Commented on 4-6-2012 At 06:40 am

that was a great read and excellent photos. Thanks for sharing

Commented on 4-6-2012 At 07:17 am

I love to hear stories from the "vintage" days. The pics are great and remind me of when I was a child in the 70's, much like looking at my own old family photos- when long hair and skinny jeans were just the way it was, not some fashion statement. It is sad to hear of clubs that just want to keep to themselves disbanding- they are rare as it is, I just wanna ride with genuine folks who aren't out to prove a damn thing.

Commented on 4-6-2012 At 07:30 am

Thanks for this! So good.

Commented on 4-6-2012 At 07:41 am

Rad article, I wish my mom was in an MC! Absolutely badass! haha

Commented on 4-6-2012 At 07:45 am


Commented on 4-6-2012 At 07:46 am

Awesome pictures and awesome to hear from the person who took the pictures of how it was back then

Commented on 4-6-2012 At 08:31 am

As others have already said - Great write-up and pictures! Thank you for sharing.

Commented on 4-6-2012 At 09:32 am

Thank you for sharing. Awesome photos. Somehow I missed the original link. These photos make me want to strap on the bedroll and hit the road with some friends.

Commented on 4-6-2012 At 09:37 am

That was cool ! great job

Commented on 4-6-2012 At 09:44 am

This is the best feature you guys have put together yet . Amazing stories and photos .

Commented on 4-6-2012 At 09:58 am

Excellent pictures and article. I really like how Bill reminds us to be thankful for all the good times and that nothing lasts forever. Thank you.

Commented on 4-6-2012 At 10:01 am

Probably my favorite article on CC ever. She's a pretty eloquent lady as well. Fun read.

Commented on 4-6-2012 At 10:32 am

Great! I always love reading and looking at old shit like this... hell who doesn't!

Commented on 4-6-2012 At 10:50 am

Fantastic. A thoughtful and interesting reflection a fascinating slice of life, with phenomenal photos. I vote for a feature of this quality every friday morning. Thanks to all involved.

Commented on 4-6-2012 At 10:53 am

Yes, thanks for sharing. Great photos!

Commented on 4-6-2012 At 11:35 am

Awesome make it even better. Have to re read when on a computer get a better lOok at some of those bikes

Commented on 4-6-2012 At 12:17 pm


Commented on 4-6-2012 At 12:26 pm

AWESOME write up! great pictures.

Commented on 4-6-2012 At 12:40 pm

Sick Write up!! nice pics!

Commented on 4-6-2012 At 12:40 pm

THANKS! Those are awsome!!!

Commented on 4-6-2012 At 01:28 pm

Seeing the pix, it becomes quite clear why the Chariots didn't go to Baja Cal. Back in the Late 60's early 70's

Long Hair.

Much frowned upon by Law Enforcement and Military in Mex at the time.
Perhaps because it them of Che Guevara, disorder in general, and a few rebels
up in their own mountains. Also didn't really like gringos in general, especially
ones that weren't spending any. Probably no law enforcement ANYWHERE liked "dirty Hippies"

Case in point: a young couple I knew at the time, went camping in Baja, ignoring all the above. Second night out, theraged rousted out of the tent by an army patrol.
She's forced to shave his head at gunpoint. His shoulder-length surfer hair and
Jesus beard- all history. Fortunately, the only pharmaceuticals/drugs that the search showed up was her birth control pills. And prescription.

Commented on 4-6-2012 At 02:03 pm

Thanks for taking us down memory lane.

Commented on 4-6-2012 At 02:41 pm

propa choppa's!!! this is a real nice post!

Commented on 4-6-2012 At 03:22 pm

Great photos... and excellent interview. Love the fact images like this are still coming to light...

Commented on 4-6-2012 At 03:51 pm

Pure gold, every bit of it.

Commented on 4-6-2012 At 05:02 pm

too much competition and not enough cooperation makes life bleaker. just like jail. thanks for being so honest and cool.

Commented on 4-6-2012 At 05:34 pm

Thank you for this.

Commented on 4-6-2012 At 06:12 pm

Bad Ass !!!!!!!!!!!!!! Great pic's. Love those choppers. Great history. Thanks.

Commented on 4-6-2012 At 07:23 pm

Maybe about a year ago another set surfaced, Devil's Desciples, Ct. or Mass. I think 60's b&w. Anybody remember who shot them, and where they are?

Amazing how little was photographed back then vs now. isn't it.

Commented on 4-6-2012 At 07:34 pm

Its funny to think that the only goal I have is to ride a Harley around.

Commented on 4-6-2012 At 07:34 pm

Its funny to think that the only goal I have is to ride a Harley around.

Commented on 4-6-2012 At 08:11 pm

My sister's name is Sharon....she's a 911 operator and she hates me!! I love history!! Thankx Sharon!!.....also, there's reasons why my pix don't get made public....6 cop cars were on my street today and they weren't looking for me...miracles DO happen!!! FTW..................................

Commented on 4-6-2012 At 08:41 pm

So awesome!

Commented on 4-6-2012 At 11:37 pm


Commented on 4-7-2012 At 12:02 am

awsome! thanks for sharring that!

Commented on 4-7-2012 At 12:40 am

thats awesome..
i wish i lived in those days..

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