For the past month or so, I’ve been heading over to Cook’s Corner. Cook’s is a biker bar that started back in 1926 (although they didn’t sell alcohol until after the prohibition in ’33), giving it a history several decades older than the cookie-cutter city of Irvine. My friends say it must be quite a peculiar sight to see: a fairly short Asian girl with her camera(s) among these [often] taller and burly motorcyclists.

Taking inspiration from the 100 Strangers Project, which I have been meaning to start for a few years, I first set out only with the idea to talk to strangers. However, while people in Irvine were generally friendly, I did not find our conversations particularly inspiring.

One weekend, on the way to Holy Jim’s Trail, I passed Cook’s Corner. As usual, bikes, mostly Harleys, lined the corner. Seeing Cook’s with this Strangers project in mind sparked my interest. So far, I have found that weekends are best, as there are more subjects to choose from; however, colder, cloudier days – even on weekends – yield far fewer bikers.

HSCP: George


The last Harley I got was when I was 17 or 18 years old. That’s the one I first bought. I learned at 10 [years of age]. Ended up trading [the Harley] for a ’57 Nomad. I bought if off a friend, finished. I’m having the rim done to match the front.
People told me I shouldn’t ride because I got knee surgery, but I told them, “I can stand, walk; I can ride a bike.”

I’m still working out the project; I have tried going at different times of day, changing lighting – it is definitely a work in progress, but I have high hopes for it.

HSCP: Lori
I’ve been riding for four years. Started on a Softail Heritage, but got the Touring version last year, in January. [The Touring] is comfortable for long distance. My boyfriend has one. I wanted to go to Fresno, but my bike at the time wasn’t really good for long-distance, so he said, “Use mine.”
I ride with a club called “First Ladys.” We do charity events, long-distance rides, like, to Arizona. I ride about four days a week, just so I can get practice.
I’m actually an emergency room nurse, so I used to never want to bike. But my friend taught me. It was a wonderful freedom, really.

Several people, including those I have interviewed, asked me if I were afraid. I am actually not so scared by the fact that these people are bikers. Frankly, I pushed myself to start this project to become more comfortable with people – all types of people. Bikers just happened to capture my attention most at the time. Also, I’ve had mostly good responses from people. As Lori said, a lot of the bikers are just “hard shelled cream puffs.”