Slow Riding into the new year has become a California Vanning tradition
January 10 marked the ninth anniversary of a Van Run known as the “So-Cal Slow Ride,” put on by the California Street Vans club. Unless you’re in the van scene, of course (and we’re not talking about trust fund kids living their “#vanlife” in the fashion magazine stories), you may not know what a “Van Run” even is. According to a thread on Vanning.com, one of the oldest continually running custom van forums online, a member asked the question, “What is a Van Run supposed to be?”
A variety of opinions appear in the responses. Member “Hotrod AL” in Columbus, Ohio, talks about Hot Bands, Cool Vans, and Cold Beer. Member “Starlord” in Wichita Falls, Texas, speaks the gospel of like-minded people getting together to have fun, checking out the vans, and meeting folks. Essentially, a Van Run is anytime vanners get together in their vans and go do van stuff together, whether it be a one-day cruise or over the course of many days. The “Slow Ride” could be considered a Van Run or a Van Cruise. Again, it’s subject to interpretation.
The first So-Cal Slow Ride took place back in 2012, and the event has steadily grown ever since. It generally starts at an unsuspecting grocery store parking lot somewhere in the Torrance, California, area. Vanners from SoCal and beyond start flooding into the parking spots by 10 a.m. to meet up with new friends and check out the attending rigs.
Then, at 11 a.m., engines start firing up and everyone heads for a cruise along the water through Palos Verdes. Along the way there are generally two or three photo-op stops where Vanners and spectators alike quickly document the gathering before getting back on the road.
As the cruise goes on, people slowly peel off, but there’s always a good number of folks who stick with the Run all the way to the end of the line. The Slow Ride route’s destination is usually the Korean Friendship Bell in San Pedro, but that’s subject to change, as was the case for the 2021 event. The stop spots along the way, ya see, are generally public parking lots. If it’s a nice day out those areas can be already filled with non-Vanners, and that’s where it helps to have a Plan B. That information, as needed, is normally posted to Facebook post, so Vanners ensure that their phones have plenty battery (or a car charger) in case they you fall behind or get stopped at a light. Nobody wants to leave a van behind.
California Street Vans member Jim Thompson says this was one of the group’s biggest turnouts yet. The final count: 116 vans in total attendance. Not a bad way to spend a Sunday.
For more info on So-Cal Slow Rides, click here.