Focus on the Backroads » Photo Journeys

FOCUS ON THE BACKROADS – The Motorcycle

A motorcycle is a lot of different things to different people. To some people motorcycles are loud, annoying, scary, and just a pain in the rear-end (they have never ridden a bike for hours at a time and really know that a pain in the rear-end is). BUT TO A MOTORCYCLE RIDER it can only be described as one thing – FREEDOM! The freedom to explore the backroads of America.

In 1867, Ernest Michaux, fitted a small steam engine to a velocipede which was the first bicycles with pedal. The velocipede had been developed by Ernest’s father who was a blacksmith in Paris. The first American motorcycle was built in 1868 when Sylvester Roper built a velocipede with a coal-fired boiler place between its wheels. Roper died on June 1, 1896 demonstrating his machine. During this time many companies began to develop “motorized bikes”.

In the early 1900s motorcycles began to see their popularity grow. The Indian Motorcycle Manufacturing Company was founded in 1901. In their first full year of production they manufactured 500 bikes. In 1913 they had their best year ever selling 32,000 units. In 1903 Harley Davidson started producing motorcycles – and we all know that story. By 1920 Harley Davidson was the largest manufacturing with dealer in 67 countries. Motorcycles were being manufactured all over the world.
In Germany BMW introduced a shaft drive and other advanced technology. In the 1920 there were over 80 companies in England alone manufacturing motorcycles including familiar names like Triumph and Norton.

In the 1950, companies from Japan including Suzuki, Kawasaki, Yamaha, and Honda began introducing their motorcycles to the world. These bike changed the motorcycle world ending the dominance of the European and American manufacturers. Today these companies still dominate the world market – but after some hard years Harley Davidson remains very popular in the United States.

WELL BACK TO THE ROAD – why do we ride?
Unless you have experienced cruising down a country road (at whatever speed you chose) on two wheels, and in some cases three, you will never know the answer. Unless you have had the pleasure of enjoying the smell of flowers, exhaust, fresh baked bread, and meat being smoked as you pass houses, you will never know. Now I must add there are a few road odors, such as a recent skunk roadkill, that are not all that pleasurable. Unless you have been flashed a friendly wave while passing a fellow rider going the opposite direction, you will never know. Unless you have spend time at a gas station, local cafe, or rest stop sharing with other riders where you have been and where you are headed, you will never know. Why we ride can be summed up in one word – FREEDOM

Four wheels move the body…..TWO WHEELS move the SOUL anonymous

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