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We here in Cafe Racer pride ourselves as not just a vape company, but also as a lifestyle brand. As our name and logo suggest, we are deeply enamored by custom motorcycle culture. We’re into vintage motorcycles and the captivating people who build and ride them.
That’s why we would like to share that side of our brand by doing a monthly feature on some of our favorite people and companies in this space. It could be anyone who creates bikes for themselves or those that build bikes for others professionally. Some also make clothing and accessories that go hand in hand with cafe racer lifestyle. For this month, let’s take a look at Seaweed & Gravel, a vintage motorcycle, goods, and apparel brand that serves as a throwback to California’s past as a stomping ground for rugged old souls.
In their own words, Seaweed & Gravel is “the retail extension of the collective conscious of non-conforming-never-grow-up-weirdos.” You’re not going to find here the usual kind of clothes and apparel that you may find in other shops, and that’s exactly the way they like it.
Everything is centered around surfing vintage motorcycle culture, from new and vintage clothing for men and women, surfboards, custom and vintage motorcycles, and accessories. But you’ll also find home goodies, bonsai trees, and more.
You can also have a custom-built Cafe Racer motorcycle designed and made for you here. Whoever heard of a shop that mixes motorcycles with surfboards and bonsai trees? The whole place is designed to be outside-the-box from the ground up.
The brand is the brainchild of David Patri, who spent twenty years working in the apparel industry. He went on to open Seaweed & Gravel in 2012 after growing “tired of watching retailers control the destiny of clothing design,” which seemed to suppress anyone looking to do something new and fresh in the ready-to-wear clothing industry.
He wanted freedom from corporate control, which is what Seaweed & Gravel represents. The hodge podge of vintage products featured in the shop stray away from trends and fads of the modern day and harken back to a glorious past that colored California’s history.
It also represented much of David’s youth, when he would surf at spots like Beacons, Grandview, and Stone Steps during summer. Much of what’s inside Seaweed & Gravel are filled with his private collection, meant to connect with likeminded artists, makers, surfers, and travelers from all walks of life.
During the grand opening of Seaweed & Gravel, David met Brady Young, a young custom motorcycle builder in the local area. They hit it off right away and decided that they could team up and bring their collective efforts and knowledge into the brand. Brady was already known for designing and building Cafe Racer-style motorcycles, which was a perfect fit for the brand.
This tandem brought even more substance to the brand, with David designing apparel and Brady working on bikes. What completed Seaweed & Gravel as a brand was the community that organically gathered around it, composed of misfits of all sorts with a common interest in surf and vintage motorcycle culture that’s distinctly Californian.
As it grew, David added small local brands to the stock of vintage and handmade goods to promote them. He knew from his experience in the apparel industry how hard it is for small local brands to gain traction in a market ruled by big brands. Through this effort, he could do what he couldn’t in the corporate world and help individuals and small companies grow.
Their main location is in the middle of Leucadia, at 1144 North Coast Highway 101, Encenitas, California, just down the road from Cafe Racer's headquarters. They don’t have a listed phone number, but they do have a website, a Facebook page and avid following on Instagram (@seaweedandgravel) with over 44k followers.
The place is something you can both expect and not expect for something in Leucadia. In front of the store is space for motorcycles, where like-minded people can hang out and congregate. At first glance, it seems all macho with all the metal and rubber. But then, you go inside the store and get something seemingly out of place in this tiny Cafe Racer mecca.
The front of the store is decked out in painted brick and old wood, with a black on white sign on top. There’s a surfboard on the left, a portrait of Chief Sitting Bull painted on the right, and bonsai framing the front seafoam green doors. Inside, you see a mix of vintage biker apparel, lace dresses, boots, hand-painted surfboards, hats of all sorts, and more bonsai trees.
The central theme of Seaweed & Gravel is anything David and Brady have imagined. It attracts anyone who would be interested in whatever there is in the store, whether it’s artists, makers, bikers, chefs, flea market collectors, tourists, and everyone else in between.
Whether you’re interested in motorcycles, surfing, gardening, crafting, collecting, or so on, you may find yourself at home in Seaweed & Gravel. It’s outside the box, which is how David Patri digs it.