Walter Alter

portfolio: the Batcave


The artist found a way to supplement his income
since the San Francisco art game was famous for
eating its young. In the 70's he aquired an antique
Italian made Lambretta motor scooter and found
himself years later as the unnoficial guidance
counsellor and mechanic for a youth sub-culture
revival known as the "Mods".

His San Francisco Valencia St. scooter repair shop
known as "The Batcave" became headquarters for
rallys, club organizing, shop talk and the advising
of troubled youth.

Click photos for larger view



Batman. artist Walter Alter liked to turn wrench and ride motorcycles, a skill set that kep himself, his VW bus and a lot of Lambrettas alive.  
Batman's real ride built from a basket of parts in grandma's back yard in Kentfield where the Batcave began. Triumph T6 Thunderbird. Brando rode this model in "The Wild One"
First pre-Batcave scooterist - Rickie Puke, leader of punk band "The Pukes" doing what he was famous for. RIP Rickie.  
Jim Gilman and his early Lambretta LD outside his Texas St. garage pre-Batcave scooter shop. Batman and Jim would wrench and talk endlessly about anarchy and revolution.
The amazing "Valhalla" stash of Lambrettas in a rotting warehouse on Monterrey's Cannery Row before it got gentrified.  
You had to step around the gaping holes in the floor where you could see the surf lapping the rocks. Not sure who ended up with this bonanza.
One of Batman's several Lambrettas acquired during the Batcave years. This rat ride was ported and jetted with baffles removed from exhaust - loud and zippy.  
Work area of the Batcave. Back then, Batman rarely paid more than $100 for a scooter. Now they sell for $3-6,000. his illegal, hand built basement apartment was to the right.
Looking out the door of the Valencia St. garage that became the Batcave. the Batvan scooter ambulance sits waiting for a rescue call  
Interior of the Batcave residence looking toward the door that opened onto the workshop. To the left is the hot plate and refer, right is the bookshelf.
Batman on his early Series 1 Li 150 with a 200cc motor and a barely visible plexiglass wind screen.  
Batman posing for a magazine photo. Fire inspector said "we like what you're doing, keep the welding tanks away from gasoline".
Scooter rally - South of Market.  
Scooter rally - Fleishacker pool, SF Zoo.
Scooter rally - Whale Bldg at the foot of the Golden Gate Park Panhandle. Many scooter rides began here in this Bank of America parking lot.  
Scooter rally - Bank of America building had a huge humpback whale painted on it, hence the name" Whale Building"
Scooter rally- Outside the Batcave, 959 Valencia St. between 19th and 20th.  
Scooter rally- Downtown SF
Batvan interior. Owned and operated by Batman for over 35 years. He rebuilt 7 engines and replaced 2 transaxles in that period.   Batman with Batvan. Brakes went out in 2013 and rear ender was the end of "Lulu". Lulu rescued a lot of scooters from doom.



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Batcave Walkthrough