July 25, 2009

1924 Harley Davidson Classic Motorcycle Ride

I have done a lot of cool stuff over the years, but there are certain things that you just never forget.  Last weekend, I went over to Buzz’s house to help him test run his 1924 Harley for the ride he actually made today in Ohio.   It fired right up, ran well, and we ended up riding all the way into town for a coffee and then back to his house.  After we returned, he asked me if I wanted to ride it, and instead of saying “what are you crazy??!!” (which is exactly what I was thinking), I calmly said, “sure, but only if you are comfortable letting me ride it”, and I think Buzz said something like, “just don’t crash and remember to retard the spark with the left hand grip if anything happens.”

Vintage 1924 Harley JDCA Motorcycle

Vintage 1924 Harley JDCA Motorcycle

So I got off my ’58 pan, walked over to this living, breathing antique, and climbed on.  Just sitting on the bike was incredible.  It looked old, it felt old to sit on, and yes, it smelled old.  I was careful to ask Buzz every question that came to mind — left foot clutch toe to go, 3 speed hand shift, right foot rear brake, no front brake, left hand grip retards spark, right hand grip throttle, etc.   I was ready, so I clicked it into 1st gear and slowly pressed the clutch forward with my left foot.  It didn’t actually start to catch until it was almost all the way forward and then it caught quickly.  I almost stalled it, but accelerated enough to get underway.   Fortunately, Buzz had bent the handlebars up and out, but they still took some getting used to.  For anyone who has never sat on a bike like this, the handgrips and bars come straight back so its actually like you are holding onto the handles of a wheelbarrow.  That makes it tougher to balance but I got the hang of it pretty quickly.

Once I had it figured out, I shifted into 2nd and reached a comfortable 20-25 mph cruising speed on the quiet residential road we were riding on.  We were riding a loop which was probably about 1 mile long and by the final 1/4 mile of my first loop I was really starting to enjoy myself.   So much so, I shamelessly gave Buzz the “going around again” signal.  As I made the second loop, I couldn’t help but let my mind wander.  I thought about the fact that this bike was among the earliest motorcycles ever, and I was actually riding it.  I began to wonder whose it was, who rode it over the years, where did they ride it and how?  I wondered what it must have been like for the person who rolled this bike out of the shop brand new 85 years ago.   I’m sure they were very excited and very proud — and I’m sure they would be very proud today to see the bike still running, and running well.

Filed under DMF's Blog by dmf1

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Comments on 1924 Harley Davidson Classic Motorcycle Ride

July 27, 2009

Buzz_Kanter @ 12:05 pm

Glad you had fun and you sure looked like you knew what you were doing on the old Harley. Do I see something older than your Panheads sitting in your garage in the near future? Perhaps a VL or JD?