The Motorcycle as Art

the motorcycle as art

Recently, while returning home from a business trip, I decided to take the long way home and visit my favorite art museum.  On special exhibit at the museum were tow collections of drawings and paintings—the first was an expansive collection of Andrew Wyeth watercolors, while the second consisted of a compilation of landscape paintings by […]

Definitions, and the Maico as Material Culture 1.1

1981 Maico 490 t shirt

A Social History of Motorcycle Technology This post and many to follow is a social history of a technology.  By this I mean that it examines an item of technology—in this case the German-made Maico motorcycle—and explores the links between the object and that segment of humankind who interacted with it.

The Restorer’s Quest: Why we display old motorcycles and cars

Validation The key reason owners/restorers bring old motorcycles (or old cars) to events, to compete for awards, or seek to display them, is essentially validation. By this we mean that the restorer wants to have someone say, in effect, “You did a good job restoring that,” or “That’s a nice motorcycle.”

The History of Maico Motorcycles and American Sport Motorcycle Culture – Preface, Part 3

Maico Logo

The Motorcycle Bug Returns   In 1986 I was a twenty-eight year old Marine captain in steamy Jacksonville, North Carolina, preparing to leave the military and get on with life. I was stationed at Marine Corps Air Station New River, across the brackish New River inlet from Camp Lejeune, whose thousands of Marines we supported […]

The History of Maico Motorcycles and American Sport Motorcycle Culture – Preface, Part 2

The Maico – The People and the Culture As the premier tool used by the most dedicated racers of the time, I see the Maico motorcycle as an excellent touchstone for this little-studied American group. By analyzing the motorcycle as material culture and studying the relationship between this machine and the people who interacted with […]

Friends Talking: DIRT BIKE Magazine and Conversational Journalism in the 1970s

DIRT BIKE Magazine, 1972

    Abstract: In the very early 1970s, at the height of the worldwide motorcycle boom, an ad salesman named Rick Sieman envisioned a journal which would enable honest information to be exchanged between enthusiasts. He imagined this journal as the equivalent of “friends . . . talking,” and leveraged his modest resources to found […]

Going Hunting

junkyard motorcycle

By David Russell Saturday.   The day of Recovery, if not The day of Rest.  The one day of the week when it’s OK not to work; to not even consider work, and not obsess upon the waiting tasks you’re not accomplishing.  A time-out—that half-a-weekend without even Sunday’s frantic early-morning combing of little boys’ hair, […]

The History of Maico Motorcycles and American Sport Motorcycle Culture – Part 1

motorcycle

By David Russell   Introduction Most Americans would profess to some basic knowledge of the culture and history of motorcycling in this country. Some among them have likely encountered Hunter S. Thompson’s Hell’s Angels: A Strange and Terrible Saga , and may have at least attempted to absorb Robert M. Persig’s Zen and the Art […]