Motorcycle Mliestones

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This is the first of three parts about six incredible women from the golden age of motorcycling.
We start off with 21 year old Effie Hotchkiss and her mother Avis. The year was 1915 and even though she had a good job working on Wall Street she got a hankering to see the worlds fair.Only trouble was the fair was in San Francisco and she was in New York.
So she took her savings and a small inheritance and bought a twin cylinder Harley Davidson model 11-F with a sidecar. This was a 11hp bike with a three speed transmission.
Meanwhile since she could not talk her out of it her mother Avis decided to come along.So the two packed up the bike and went down to the beach and filled a mason jar full of Atlantic Ocean water and set out for the west coast.
effie & avis hotckiss (Small).jpg

Now to be sure there was not a lot of paved roads in those days. But as they made there way west they made stops in Cleveland,Chicago,Davenport,Omaha,Salt Lake City,Reno,Santa Fe and finely San Francisco. Along the way they battled extremes of heat and cold and mechanical break downs. Out of tubes the pair once fixed a flat tire with a cut up blanket stuffed into the tire.
Once they got there Effie drove down to the beach and dipped the front tire in the Pacific Ocean and poured out the mason jar filled with Atlantic.
Hotchkiss_Pacific_Ocean (Small).jpg

Then they went to the fair. While in San Francisco Effie met her future husband when he stepped of the side walk and she ran into him with the bike.

Then these two intrepid women packed back up and rode the bike back to New York.
Witch made them the first people to make a round trip coast to coast to coast on a motorcycle.
They sure don't make them like that no more.

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Sep 2, 2013
Great story. My grandfather had a Henderson when he was younger, about the same era. He lost control of it on a wet cobblestone street and crashed into a butcher shop window. Always loved listening to his stories as a kid. Mike

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Skip ahead a year to 1916. The US is on the verge of war {WW1} two sisters set out to prove that women can help out the war effort by taking over the job of dispatch riders freeing up those men to be front line fighters.
So Augusta and Adeline Van Buren bough two Indian Powerplus 1000 cc motorcycles and planed coast to coast trip.
The two set out from Sheepshead Bay on the 4th of July 1916.
van buren sisters 2 (Small).jpg Along the way they endured heat and cold lack of roads and a few arrests not for speeding but for the crime of wearing mens clothes.
They also were the first people to summit Pikes Peak on motorcycles.
They made it to Los Angels eight weeks later on the 8th of Sept 1916.
Then to put the gravy on the cake they headed south to Mexico.
They were inducted into the Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 2002.
Like I said they sure don't make them like that no more.Considering that women did not have the right to vote yet .

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For the third part of saga we skip ahead to 1935 and cross the pond to England.
We find Theresa Wallach in her own words :
“When I first saw a motorcycle, I got a message from it. It was a feeling – the kind of thing that makes a person burst into tears hearing a piece of music or standing awestruck in front of a fine work of art. Motorcycling is a tool with which you can accomplish something meaningful in your life. It is an art.”
Born in 1909 this 24 year old and her friend Florence Blenkiron set out on a trip. And not just any trip these two decided to be the first people to go from London to Cape Town,South Africa.
So Theresa bough a 600cc Panther single with X-tra heavy duty Weld forks, heavy gauge spokes and a Watsonia side car and trailer.
theresa-wallach-florence-blenkiron-rugged-road (Small).jpg
Along the way they became the first people to cross the Shara desert on a motorcycle. They stopped at Agadez to rebuild the motor then on to Cape Town.
theresa-wallach-the-rugged-road-picture (Small).jpg

She returned to England and set a record at Brooklands race course by going over 100mph on a 350cc Norton single.For which she received the "Goldstar Trophy"
theresa-wallach-gold-star-350cc-norton (Small).jpg
She road as a dispatch rider during WWII.
After the war she came to the states and in 2½ years put 32,000 miles on a tour of the US,Canada and Mexico. Then returned to England.
In 1952 she came back to the states and opened her own shop working on British bikes. She wrote a book "Easy Motorcycle Riding".
She sold her shop in 1973 and moved to Phoenix Az and opened a riding school "Easy Riding Academy".
She rode till she was 88 years old having never owing a car.
Theresa was inducted to the Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 2003.
I found a U-Tube of the trip:

That was one hell of a women.
*********Keep Your Knees in The Breeze**********G**************
A book of her travels is called "The Rugged Road"

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