SBCC student continues revving family tradition of the open road


Ryan Painter

Jan Kamillo Kreitzberg leans on his motorcycle after class on Feb. 28 at City College in Santa Barbara, Calif.

Ryan Painter, Staff Writer

Riding to school on his army green motorcycle that has taken a few dents, City College student Jan Kamillo Kreitzberg has chased a dream of studying in the United States. 

Motorcycles are some of the fastest vehicles on the road, and are known for their thrill and the accompanying adrenaline rush that comes with riding one.

“I know it’s scary but at the same time you feel so alive because you have to be so focused and present,” Kreitzberg said. “Taking in life. It’s a beautiful feeling,”

Kamillo was introduced to motorcycles at a young age through his father Arne, and began riding with him around Solingen, Germany. 

“My dad, my grandma and even my great grandma had a motorcycle license,” Kreitzberg said.

2-year-old Jan Kamillo Kreitzberg straddles a motorcycle with his father Arne Kreitzberg in 2000 at Kassel, Germany.
2-year-old Jan Kamillo Kreitzberg straddles a motorcycle with his father Arne Kreitzberg in 2000 at Kassel, Germany.

Kamillo’s parents had built roots in California, and he recalls at age 12 the feeling of landing in the Golden State. 

“Coming here was my number one dream. I remember being here and feeling like I came home,” he said.

After high school, Kreitzberg knew that his next adventure would be within the states.

While visiting his mother’s host family in Victorville, Kamillo stumbled upon the mode of transportation that has been a part of his family for generations.

“I was walking around different garage sales when I came across this guy who started talking about motorcycles,” he said.

A bit of conversation and a price he couldn’t refuse later, he had purchased a motorcycle.

Kreitzberg was one step closer to his American dream until COVID-19 intervened and forced him to return to Germany. 

Still, he refused to give up on his dream of studying in the states. The American Institute for Foreign Study helped him find his road back, introducing him to City College.

“I applied to this one school in California, the place I wanted to be,” he said.

When he received his acceptance letter, Kreitzberg felt that the hardships were finally coming to an end.

“I freaked out. I was the happiest guy.” 

Once back in the US, he first thought about getting back on his motorcycle, having missed the freedom and thrill. After reuniting with his bike, he took off and headed to his new home on the coast.

Late one night when the ocean fog was heavy, Kreitzberg rode into Santa Barbara site unseen, ready to start his next chapter at 23-years-old.

“My first thought was, ‘I made it.’” he said. 

“I had so many setbacks, but my mind was always here. Making it was one of the most important life lessons I’ve had.” 

As a City College student, Kreitzberg finds freedom in riding his bike and taking study breaks at the beach.

A motorcycle also means a different kind of “free” when it comes to dealing with parking at City College.

“Parking permits are not required for motorcycles, but there are certain areas that they can and cannot park,” Director of Campus Security Erik Fricke said. “There are designated parking areas such as the upper section of Lot 2-A, [a] concrete pad in Lot 3 and in certain slash zones of 5-2, 5-3, and 5-4 of the parking structure.”

Kreitzberg has been studying business, and plans to ride off to a four-year university for the next stop in his American academic journey.

“It is so worth it just saying yes and not expecting anything. If you have a positive mindset it will be a good time,” he said.