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Old 10-01-2012, 08:14 AM   #1000
Beastly Adventurer
Joined: Jul 2012
Oddometer: 1,185
In 1925, when he was sixteen, my Dad bought a brand new Harley with the money he'd saved up from years of doing odd jobs. When I was growing up he told me about many of his adventures on it. He said that it would easily do 60-70 mph for extended periods but that you had to remember to give the manual oil pump a squirt once in a while. He forgot that once and almost seized the motor. He had buddies with bikes and they would meet up at a cafe and then decide they would ride up to, for a real example, Rutland, Vermont (from Bristol, Connecticut) for a cup of coffee and then come right back the same day. No breakdowns reported. I've plotted his likely route on Google maps and it works out to about a 325 mile round trip. He and his pals did trips like this regularly as day trips, and there don't seem to have been many problems other than cars and aggressive dogs. They were not likely to have been riding flat out the whole way, though. I would imagine that, given the roads as I know them, they were probably averaging around 35 mph. As for the roads, the ones he rode seemed to be fairly well paved, although he said he deliberately sought out sandy, gravelly country roads in order to practice riding in such conditions. All in all, the bikes seem to have run well, when new, although extra care had to be taken if run at high speeds for very long (the manual oil pump, tires). Dad always said that it was youthful ego that led him to buy the Harley, as he knew in his heart that the Indian was a better choice, because he would have gotten one with a smaller, more fuel efficient engine than the Harley's (even though gas was cheap, hourly pay was awful low). He lusted after a Henderson or an Excelsior but couldn't afford one. I think somewhere I have some photos he took of the bike. If I can find them I'll post them in the bike porn forum.
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