I contacted Lonnie Islam yesterday to tell him I could not take the time to participate in the Cannonball Race. I offered to donate the $1500 entry fee to help sponsor the event, which he very graciously accepted. So instead of a Rider I am now a Sponsor.
Best of luck to everyone who is fortunate enough to ride in the event.
After much deliberation, I have decided to remove myself from the Cannonball Trans-Continental Endurance Race. I just can't obligate myself to taking the whole month of September to participate. Sometimes things change and you just have to go with it.
I wish the best to everyone who is able to take on the time and expense to complete this deal.
Rick on his super clean 1983 FXR, this bike is fast !
The Streets of Vallejo !
The Shop, Rick is a very talented artist. Stop in and see him.
We went up to the Bay Area over the weekend and I stopped by to see my good friend and Brother "Rangoon Rick Bordeau. Rick has operated his tattoo shop in Vallejo, Only Skin Deep for about 40 years. I have known him for around 30 years and he has always been there through thick and thin. I apprenticed at his shop in '86 when I thought about being a Tattoo Artist. I earned the nick name "Maestro" because of how I flung ink all over while I was learning. Stop in and see him if you need some work done, he is on Tuolmne Street in Vallejo, CA.
Rick has been riding motorcycles longer than most people have been alive. Don't let his looks fool you, he is in his 60's.
I have been thinking about buying a "real motorcycle" lately. What I mean by that is a motorcycle that will start, run and carry you in comfort whereever you may desire to travel. This '66 Shovelhead may or may not qualify, but I think it might. My '55 Triumph, '28 Indian Scout and any of another dozen or so bikes I have owned recently are not "real motorcycles" but toys that I have enjoyed looking at and riding short distances. The '73 Moto-Guzzi V7 Sport qualified so naturally I sold it on as quickly as possible !
The big question is, does anyone manufacture a modern motorcycle that is not down right ugly or close to it. I have scanned all the websites lately and have come down to either a Harley Davidson Road King or a BMW from the late 70's or early 80's. The Road King is just a clone of the Shovelhead so why not get a Shovel that has been put together with care. I would still get the luxury of the electric starter for when I just don't feel like kicking a bike into life. The Shovel would no doubt pull away from most modern Harleys and would be reliable if taken care of prpoperly.
This does not rule out a 1940's Indian but there are days I just would rather hit the starter button and take off. Plus, a set of hard bags would look just about perfect on the Shovelhead.
I am still working on my '28 Scout and it will be a joy to ride, however, on some days you just want to go some place with as few problems as possible.
Just the musings of a motorcycle aficianado who is looking for the perfect motorcycle. I am not a brand fanatic even though I love Indians, Harleys, Triumphs and Vincents so we will see where this ends up...............
Beautiful 1935 Indian Chief. These early Chiefs really look good, stripped down to bare essentials and ready to run. Someday I'll get around to owning one of these. This one is owned by Mark of Marks' Indian Parts
This picture was taken in 1944 and is one of my favorite vintage pictures. I have posted it before, but I did not know the identities of the riders.
It captures everything good about motorcycles ! "You meet the nicest people on a 1929 Harley Davidson JDH"
Here is a quote from the rider, Ron Fellowes; "My goal is to ride my 1910 Fabrique Nationale overland from Nepal back to Belgium so I can celebrate the bike’s one hundred years in it’s place of origin – the culmination of a lifetime of motorcycling challenges & adventures."
To say this a world class challenge is an understatement, Ron is in his 70's and the hardship of this deal is amazing. Please follow his blog as he has already started the ride as of Feb. 08, 2012
1910 FN Motorcycle
About the bike
FN is a Belgium company established in 1899 to make arms and ammunition and from 1901 to 1967 was also a motorcycle manufacturer. FN manufactured the world’s first four cylinder motorcycle and became famous for the use of shaft drive in all models from 1903 to 1923. In 1905 the first 362cc shaft drive in-line FN inlet-over-exhaust four cylinder motorcycle appeared. This was the world’s first manufactured four cylinder motorcycle. These pioneer machines had a five bearing crankshaft with pedal assist.
A 1910 FN (Fabrique Nationale) four cylinder in-line engine
Charles Lindbergh was an icon in his day on at least the same scale as our present day Hollywood heros who haven’t really done anything but act.You have to remember that in the 1920’s there was no television and that people were admired for what they actually accomplished.This was the time period when aviation was just developing.The Wright Brothers had flown for the first time in 1903 and all the great aviation pioneers like Alberto Santos-Dumont, Henri Farman and Glenn Curtisswere just getting their wings so to speak.
As a boy, Charles Lindbergh had a keen fascination for the mechanical workings of machines generally and for internal combustion engines in particular. When he was in high school, he ordered a twin-cylinder 1920 model Excelsior “X” motorcycle through the local hardware store. Lindbergh was a shy and quiet young man, but he rode his bike fast, hard, and, as his classmates remembered it, rather recklessly. “I loved its power and speed,” he admitted. On the way to town, Lindbergh would tear through a path that ran past a power plant, through a thicket of bushes, and along the steep banks of the Mississippi River. As an observer remembered,
“it seemed like he wanted to see how close to the edge he could get without plunging in.”
The owner of the plant became so concerned that he closed off the trail. But the future pilot was as cool on that bike as he was behind the controls of a plane; he never had an accident.
Later when Lindbergh started training as a pilot, flying was still rather primitive.He worked as a traveling stuntman with an airshow where he wing walked and did other stunts.Later he flew air mail across the country and it was on one of these flights that he first considered the possibility that HE could fly across the Atlantic.
Designated to be awarded to the pilot of the first successful nonstop flight made in either direction between York City and Paris within five years after its establishment, the $25,000 Orteig Prize was first offered by the French-born New York hotelier (Lafayette Hotel) Raymond Orteig on May 19, 1919. Although that initial time limit lapsed without a serious challenger, the state of aviation technology had advanced sufficiently by 1924 to prompt Orteig to extend his offer for another five years, and this time it began to attract an impressive grouping of well known, highly experienced, and well financed contenders. Ironically, the one exception among these competitors was the still boyish Charles Lindbergh, a 25-year-old relative latecomer to the race, who, in relation to the others, was virtually anonymous to the public as an aviation figure, who had considerably less overall flying experience, and was being primarily financed by just a $15,000 bank loan and his own modest savings.
If you want to read an interesting book, read “The Spirit of Saint Louis”.The book tells about what he went through to develop a plane that could make the journey and then tells about how he flew solo across the Atlantic and landed in Paris.Remember he did this in 1927.The obstacles were huge but he overcame them and earned his fame.Sadly enough he experienced great tragedy later in his life because of his fame.
To understand these early pioneers is to understand the Cannonball Race, it is not required that we do such a thing as ride across the country on motorcycles most people would consider unridable relics.
It is the DOING of the thing that makes it so cool. Turn off the TV and Do something.
I was reading some articles on the 2010 Cannonball Run and came across a couple of truly heroic riders. This couple came all the way from Germany and rode two incredibly small bikes when you consider the distance and terain to be traversed.
For all the Cannonballers, the husband-and-wife team from Germany, Katrin Boehner and Dieter Eckel, became instant favorites. Both riding singles, she on a 1907 JAP (the oldest bike in the event) and he on a 1913 BSA, the elegant pair traveled together and usually brought up the rear, since their tiny machines rarely went above 25 mph.
Katrin’s motorcycle had no clutch or transmission, and was started by pushing the bike as she ran alongside until the engine caught. The petite woman would then sling her leg over the seat and putt on down the road. This dance was repeated each and every time she came to a stop over the course of the entire 3,294 miles.
The couple maintained the top two slots in Class 1 for most of the run, until Dieter’s BSA snapped its front fork cleanly in two in Arizona and sent rider and machine sliding across the blacktop. Dieter managed to stay onboard and escaped with slight road rash, but the bike did not fare as well. Not to be sidelined, Dieter rode his backup bike until it, too, failed. Afterwards, he took up a permanent position as a passenger behind sidecar dude Jerry as they rode along, trailing Katrin across the rest of Nevada and California.
I took my magneto and carburetor over to John Eagles today to try to get ahead on things so I don't get caught short in September. He has been rebuilding magnetos for a long time. John is someone I had only read about so it was cool to meet him in person, he has a lot of vintage motorcycle riding behind him. He was one of the original founders of the SOCAL AMCA. He had some very cool old bikes, anyone of which would be good for the Cannonball.
I also stopped by John Bivens shop to see how my frame and forks are coming along. In my book, Bivens is top notch. When you look at the bikes he builds you almost can't believe how good they look. Anyhow, we are plugging right along. I want the Scout to be running and rideable no later than the end of July so I can try to work out last minute issues. I am going to run with primer on the frame, forks and sheetmetal and paint it after the Cannonball. I am more concerned with the mechanical integrity of the machine than how pretty it looks. The wheels, engine and few other items will be in the correct finish as it would make no sense to cut cost in those areas.
I went over to the coast today to get a needed day at the ocean. There is probably no other place where you could drive around in normal traffic and see so many vintage VW buses. I counted 8 in about 5 hours not to mention all the Beetles.
The VW was one of the best utilitarian vehicles ever built, for $1500 you could always get one back on the road.
I know this is a side track from motorcycles but you have to love their mechanical simplicity and clean lines.
This is a great photo of Bluey Henderson on his Vincent Lightning F10AB/1C/4439 purchase in 1951. The photo is taken just outside the front door to Sven Kallin's dealership .
Reg Dearden on the super-charged Lightning
The Dearden super-charged Lightning
Rollie Free Flat Out at Bonneville
The Rollie Free Vincent as it is today
The Vincent Black Lightning came about in 1948 and was an amazing machine for its time.It is still considered one of the worlds greatest motorcycles ever built.
Vincent motorcycles started when a young Phillip Vincent acquired the rights to the trademark of the well respected British HRD motorcycle in 1928. With the help of engineer Phil Irving, Vincents got better and better. Besides adding power, the Vincent machines pioneered features that were innovations to motorcycle technology. This included the first full rear suspension, a foot shift 4 speed gearbox, V Twin engine, and side stands. The Vincent Black Shadow of 1948 pushed the envelope further, with a cruising speed of 100 mph, and a maximum speed of 125, despite the speedometer’s 150 mph top peg.
The Vincent Black Lightning also came out in 1948, and was a sensation in the motorcycle world. It had a top speed of 150 mph, and was rated at 70 horse power. On September 13 of 1948, Rollie Free became the worlds fastest motorcyclist at a speed of 150.313, riding a specially tuned production model Vincent Black Lightning on the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah.
The previous record was 136.183 mph, set by a Harley Davidson. Incidentaly Rollie Free had a life long aversion to harley Davidson for past dealings so the record was somewhat personal.
Free’s riding leathers had torn in earlier runs of 147 mph, and they were scooping air and flapping, so for the record breaking run, he wore a speedo and sneakers, and extended his legs back to reduce drag.
Vincent Black Lightnings went on to win races and set records all over the motorcycle world. Unfortunately, the company went out of business in 1955. Never forgotton, the Black lightning is one of the most sought after motorcycles ever built.
The orginal "Rollie Free" Vincent is in a collection in Texas. Pretty amazing stuff for a bike from the 1940's.
In 1950, English motorcycle dealer reg Dearden had Vincent build him a special super-charged Lightning to break the World Speed Record. It took six months and cost thousands of pounds but the bike never saw a single run ! Speed costs, how fast do you want to go ?
This 1914 Cyclone and a Honda CR110 were stolen from a Bel Air, California home during a home invasion robbery. They broke in and tied the man up and loaded the two bikes into a van and drove away. His wife managed to escape and went and called the police.
These bikes were shown in the book Motorcycle Dream Garages so they were exposed to the public.
It is one of the best motorcycle collections in terms of value and rarity that exists today. There are only six of these Cyclone racers known to exist. The Cyclone has been valued at $1 million and the Honda at $60,000
It is a pretty sad event when you have to hide away your collection to keep them safe from these type of predators. I will be more careful myself. Keep your alarm on and your magnum loaded !
The only thing that makes any sense is that the bikes were "ordered" by an unscrupulous collector as you would never be able to show them to anyone, especially the Cyclone.
I just stumbled across this picture of a very young Stan Dishong. He was apretty amazing guy, he rode dragsters, choppers and even did stunts for the movies.
There is still a street named for him in Vallejo, CA....Dishong Street
I was over in Upland,CA the other day and spotted this super clean Panhead in the back of a pickup. Check out the detail, internal throttle, twist grip clutch, shifter thru the primary, juice rear brake with what apears to be an early Sportster front brake. It just goes on and on, look at the lights built into the sissy bar. Very, very cool. I still like a good custon built with original parts.