“We were just kids who wanted to race.”[i] One of the most recognized images of off-road riding, and possibly the sport’s most iconic photograph, comes from the early years when motocross first captured the American imagination. It is that of a lone, airborne motocross racer. The image was first seen on the December, 1972 […]
Do you want to get started enjoying the fun of old motorcycles? One of the best ways to learn about the hobby is to attend a vintage motorcycle event. These are often referred to as “swap meets” or “bike shows.” Let’s get started!
The Beginning of a Phenomenon The T-shirt with printed image—a phenomenon dating largely to the 1950s, exploding in popularity in the 1960s, and with its ancestral roots in post-World War I returning servicemen—is an ideal medium for proclaiming classic motorcycles. Interestingly, Marlon Brando, the actor whose portrayal of a motorcyclist in 1954’s The Wild One […]
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 […]
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.
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 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 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 […]
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 […]
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, […]