Monday, February 25, 2013

Motorcycle Board Track Racing

A century ago, Americans fell in love with speed. While the Wright Brothers flew overhead and Model T’s rolled off Henry Ford’s assembly line, the new sport of motorcycle racing began drawing large crowds bent on celebrating a piston-powered future.

The Hendee Manufacturing Company introduced the 1.75-horsepower, single-cylinder Indian in 1901. Harley-Davidson followed in 1903. Inevitably, racing ensued. Early contests were held on horse-racing ovals and bicycle velodromes, but around 1909 wooden tracks built specifically for cars and motorcycles began to appear in Los Angeles and then elsewhere.

It was in 1911 that a livery worker named Ashley Franklin Van Order moved from Illinois to Southern California so he could ride his motorcycle year-round. Van Order took a job selling Harley-Davidsons and began riding competitively, but his racing career was cut short soon afterward by an accident, followed by an ultimatum. “His wife, Lilly, told him that if he ever rode again, she was out of there,” says Van Order’s grandson, Jim Bolingmo Sr., a retired professor of science and math. Van Order turned to photography, and the images he amassed from the mid-1910s through the 1920s—his own and possibly others’—constitute the most complete and compelling visual record of early motorcycle racing.

The races must have been spectacular for people who were accustomed to thinking of horsepower in terms of actual horses. The bikes were designed to run fast, and that was about it: they had to be towed behind other motorcycles to get them started, and they had no brakes. The tracks, called motordromes, came in various sizes—a circuit of a mile and a quarter occupied the current site of the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills—and were made of lengths of 2-by-2 and 2-by-4 lumber with rough-cut surfaces. The turns were severely banked, allowing riders to reach speeds of more than 100 miles an hour. Crashes were frequent and horrific—riders who went down faced being impaled by splinters—and often fatal. Spectators shared in the risk: at many motordromes, they peered down from the lip of the track, in harm’s way. On one particularly lethal day in 1912, several observers—from four to six, accounts vary—were killed along with Eddie Hasha and another rider at a motordrome in Newark, New Jersey, when Hasha lost control of his bike and slammed into the crowd.

Yet people flocked to the races at board tracks from Denver to Milwaukee to Long Island. “Photography is great for documenting things like this, and great photography is better than just snapshots. And Van Order was much better than just a snapshot photographer,” says Charles Falco, a professor of optical sciences and physics at the University of Arizona and the co-curator of “The Art of the Motorcycle,” an exhibition that broke attendance records at the Guggenheim Museum in New York City in 1998. Falco says he included a Van Order image in the exhibition to give audiences a sense of the thrill of board-track racing. The action photos are remarkable, given that they were shot on relatively slow-speed glass negatives, and the portraits endure as graceful studies of youthful ardor. In his work, the sport’s stars—such as Albert “Shrimp” Burns (who died in a 1921 crash in Toledo, Ohio), Eddie Brinck (who was killed in a race in Springfield, Massachusetts, in 1927), Ray Weishaar (a 1924 casualty in a race in Los Angeles) and Ralph Hepburn (who survived the motordromes but died trying to qualify a car for the 1948 Indianapolis 500)—remain lords of the boards.

By the mid-‘20s, the sport began to lose its appeal. Perhaps the novelty wore off; certainly the carnage was appalling. Newspapers began referring to motordromes as “murderdromes,” and local governments closed some tracks. Race officials and the motorcycle manufacturers that sponsored racing teams tried to implement measures to slow down the bikes, but that went nowhere. By the early 1930s, board-track motorcycle racing had become a footnote in motorsport history, and Van Order’s career as a photographer was over. He wrote a column about the old days for Motorcyclist magazine and founded a club called the Trailblazers, whose sole purpose, says Bolingmo, was to get the surviving board-track racers together once a year for a dinner. Van Order continued his column through the early 1950s, when declining health forced him to stop.

His glass-plate negatives remained in a box for most of those years. He made copies of many of the images on modern film shortly before he died in 1954, at age 68, and the material passed to his daughter. In 2000, Van Order’s great-grandson, Jim Bolingmo Jr., had many of the photographs digitally restored with the idea of selling fine-art prints, but that plan was put on hold when he died at age 49 of brain cancer in 2003. Today the original negatives and restored images reside with Jim Bolingmo Jr.’s widow, Sharon Con—the last links to a little-known photographer and a time when people were entranced with the idea of going faster than they had ever gone before.

Credit To: Smithsonian Magazine
Original Story: HERE
Read more:

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Hollywood Hogs

Harrison Ford
Harrison Ford on an early Harley
   The list of famous Harley riders is almost as long as this motorcycle’s history. Today we explore some of our favorite and respected celebrity riders.
Among the first women ever  to ride to Sturgis were The VanBuren Sisters, Augusta and Adeline, and
though it’s not documented, the very first woman to ride a Harley Davidson motorcycle was more than likely Janet Davidson. Janet was an aunt of Arthur, Walter and William Davidson. She helped her nephews by using her artistic talents to paint pinstriping and lettering down the sides of their motorcycles.

So here, for your entertainment, is the low-down on some of the more famous Harley riders of our time.

Michael Forbes with Elizabeth Taylor
 Malcolm Forbes, the founder of Forbes Magazine and reportedly one of the wealthiest men ever, is our first celebrity in the spotlight.  He enjoyed riding Harleys so much that he quickly amassed a collection of more than 50 Harley Davidson motorcycles. He shared his passion for Harleys with his longtime friend, Elizabeth Taylor. His personal endorsement of this brand of motorcycle helped sales soar to even greater heights.

Jay Leno on his first Harley
    Jay Leno, famous late-night television celebrity, is a proud owner and rider of several Harley Davidson motorcycles, too. In fact, this celebrity is one of the few famous Harley riders to actually enjoy getting his hands greasy by doing his own maintenance and repair work. That is attributed to Jay’s first job as a mechanic, which he held during his years in college.

Dennis Hopper and Peter Fonda in Easy Rider
Brigitte Bardot was a famous movie star and pinup star in the 1950’s. In the 1960’s she became so enamored by Harley Davidson Motorcycles that she debuted her hit single entitled Harley Davidson. Also popular was a photograph of her astride her favorite motorcycle. She is wearing hot pants and a partially unzipped leather jacket.

   And who can forget Dennis Hopper and Peter Fonda, probably the most famous Harley riders of all time. The photo from a scene in the 1969 movie Easy Rider of the two of them atop their Harleys was seen around the world and is still one of the most sought-after and most recognizable photos of all time.

'The King' Elvis Presley
Elvis Presley was known to have a Harley or two, and photographs of this legendary music icon riding his Harleys are just as popular as the Easy Rider photograph. Elvis would roam the streets of Memphis for hours with fellow Harley riders enjoying the fame of being 'The King.' His favorite and most portrayed model of motorcycle was the Harley Davidson Road King.

   Some other famous Harley riders include Don Johnson, Jackson Browne, Mickey Rourke, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Tina Turner. During an appearance in his campaign to become President of the United States, then Governor Bill Clinton happily posed astride a Harley.

Article Based On: Celtic Thunder Hogs

Thursday, February 14, 2013

10 Freakish Motorcycles

Today in Myths, Legends and Tales we take a look at some truly bizarre custom two wheel machines. These bikes push the limits of the human imagination and give us some ideas on customization of our own. We'll try and put something together with the neighbors bicycle this weekend and see if we can get it to purr like our number...

10:  Dolmette Chainsaw Motorcycle

If ever there was a bike created for the weekend warrior and motorcycle enthusiast, this is it. Powered by 24 chainsaw engines, this motorcycle cranks out 168 horsepower and 96 lb-ft of torque. Developed by Dolmar, known for their professional-grade chainsaws, the Dolmette bike is over 12 feet (3.7 meters) long and weighs about 660 pounds (299.4 kilograms). Each engine is pull-started just like a chainsaw and the entire assembly is connected to a 5-speed Harley Davidson transmission.

9: Hubless Motorcycle 

The Hubless Monster motorcycle was developed by Amen Motorcycles and is the first fully functional double hubless bike in the world. The plans for the bike were drafted eight years before the bike was built. As the company began its work, the tire size for the motorcycle didn't even exist.

8: Dodge Tomohawk 

When the Dodge Viper was first introduced, many car enthusiasts dropped their jaws, and their wallets, for its looks and high horsepower. Later, Dodge went one step further, if nothing more than for publicity's sake, and strapped the Viper's 500-horsepower engine between two (actually four) wheels and put a seat right on top of it. The Dodge Tomahawk has an 8.3 liter V-10 engine that can theoretically reach a top speed of 400 miles per hour (643.7 kilometers per hour), but of course it's never been ridden that fast, that we know of.

7: The World's Longest Motorcycle

Although this bike may not be known for its speed, it tops out at only 30 miles per hour (48.3 kilometers per hour), it does hold the Guinness World Record for the longest motorcycle in the world. The 46-foot (14-meter) long motorcycle was built by Colin Furze as a gift to himself for this 29th birthday.

6: The Monster Bike 

The world's tallest rideable motorcycle (aka The Monster), was the dream of Greg Dunham from California. It took three and half years to complete the motorcycle, which started out as a drawing he made after attending a monster truck show years earlier.

5: Snaefell Laverda Sidecar 

Created by the French motorcyclist, Francois Knorreck, this modified 1976 Laverda is truly a once-in-a-lifetime site on the road. After making sport modifications to the original motorcycle for several years, Knorreck decided to go in a completely different direction and add his own hand-crafted sidecar onto the motorcycle. The sidecar consists of 63 molds, parts from BMWs, Audis, Volkswagens and even doors that open up like a Lamborghini.

4: Mission One Electric Motorcycle

We've added this all-electric motorcycle to our list of strangest motorcycles not because of its appearance, but because a full-production, 150-mile per hour (241.4-kilometer per hour), battery-powered motorcycle isn't something you see on the road every day. The Mission One, created by Mission Motors in California, has a high energy lithium-ion battery that provides the bike with 100 lb-ft of torque to the one-speed transmission. The battery range is 150 miles (93.2 kilometers) and can be recharged in 2 hours from a 240-volt source or 8 hours from a standard electrical socket.

3: The UnoCycle 

This strange motorcycle was developed by then 17-year-old Ben Gulak after a family trip to China. Gulak noticed all the smog coming from small motorbikes and decided he would make a zero-emissions commuter motorcycle. After two years of work, the UnoCycle was born. The battery powered motorcycle incorporates gyroscopes, similar to those used on a Segway, to balance the bike and allow the driver to move forwards and backward simply by leaning in those directions.

2: The Radial Chopper 

Out of all the motorcycles on the road, not many can claim that they're powered by an airplane engine. This bike, developed and built by John Levey and his brother-in-law Mike Wherle, took just nine months to build and incorporates a 2800cc Australian Rotec radial engine. The 110 horsepower, 160 lb-ft torque engine has a circumference of about 32 inches (81.3 centimeters) and starts up with a big puff of smoke every time.

1: Peraves Cabin Motorcycle 

This futuristic-looking cabin motorcycle might look strange on the road now, but in coming years it might be the predominant alternative to gas-powered vehicles. The cabin motorcycles, created by the Peraves company in Switzerland, were finalists in the 2010 Progressive Automotive X-Prize competition, where new vehicles exceed 100 miles per gallon (42.5 kilometers per liter) equivalents and are tested for regular daily driving use. The two-seater cabins are fully enclosed and the motorcycle rides on two wheels, except when stopping. As the vehicle slows down to a stop, a small wheel on either side of the cabin lowers to stabilize the bike

Story from Discovery
Read Full story HERE!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

LRS Made in the USA

Made in USA.
How much of a product is actually made in our great country? Let’s find out about your LRS windshield.
Sunny Las Vegas, at night when it's not really very sunny.

You have gotten to know the individuals of LRS in past emails. Matt Gardner, James Ferlingere, West Gill and Roger Block. We thought you may be interested in the daily “grind” here at our facility in Sparks, Nevada through the eyes of me, James Ferlingere, sales manager for LRS.

Your shield, before it is made.
When we say, “Made in USA”, we mean it. We purchase the material we use to make our shields from a large plastics company in Nevada, just outside of Las Vegas. They make the material right there in their facility. The material we use is of the highest quality. We order our material to be slightly thicker than stock shields. This adds rigidity to your shield, and will not flex or bend from wind at higher speeds. The flexing and bending is a big cause of buffeting. The material comes in by weight in large sheets. We cut the sheets down to manageable sizes. These sizes will then be used to cut out shield blanks on our laser cutter. The blanks then go through a process to round off and polish their edges. This process can be a little time consuming.

Polishing the edges!
Once the blanks are ready to go, they are “heat-formed” into the shape you know. The shaping of the shields is a precise process for accurate and precise fitment into your fairing, or into the hardware assembly of your windshield system. This is also the step in which we achieve our known “re-curve” at the top of each of our shields, which pushes the wind up and over your head. A great deal of thought and engineering has gone into our “re-curve” design for maximum wind deflection. We feel very strongly about our design being superior to others’ designs. If you had one of each in front of you, you would be able to clearly tell the difference in the two.

Once the shields have been formed, they are thoroughly inspected. Any blemishes are attempted to be fixed. If they can not be, they are considered “blemished” and we do not sell these. We remake them. This is another big thing that makes us unique to others. We make our shields right here in our facility daily. We don’t actually keep stock of any completed shields.

Wrapped and Inspected, ready to ship!
When you order your shield, your order is “processed” and put on a “daily list” of shields to be made. It is then handed off to our shield maker. He then goes down the list, and cuts, preps and forms each shield on the list. During this time, I process your orders, and get shipping labels ready. Later in the day, I hand them off to our shield maker, and he packs and ships your shields. This is how we are able to ship within 24 hours of your order being placed.

Once you receive your shield, you install it on the best American made motorcycle, Harley-Davidson. We ourselves are HD riders. You’re not getting a big factory made mass produced windshield. You are getting a high quality, man made windshield, made by bikers, for bikers.

Getting boxed and ready to ship!

The end result is:
·         Highest quality, heat-formed shields
·         100% Made in USA
·         24 hour shipping
·         1 on 1 superior customer service
·         Pride in our product
·         Made by bikers, for bikers

Friday, February 8, 2013

Blood Alley

Every street has a name and every highway a number.  Today in Myths, Legends & Tales from the road we take a closer look at a highway that is rumored to have been collecting it's share of numbers over the years.  So many people have died along this stretch of road that it is commonly known to be cursed or haunted. Join us, in exploring the Blood Alley, a road that is nearly infamous for the hundreds who hive died along it.

There is a long stretch of twisting and narrow roadway in Arizona that spans from Prescott to Wickenburg through Wikiup and down into Kingman.  Commonly known as "Blood Alley", highway 89 cuts through the desert hills of Arizona around sharp corners, through canyons and over quickly ascending and descending hills.

Before the highway was redone in the late 1980's it had claimed countless lives in massive pileups, cars veering off the road, losing control and misjudging turns.  Locals all began to call the perilous road "Blood Alley" because of all the lives it had claimed.  It wasn't long before people began seeing apparitions, ghosts or unexplained visions along and in the road.

Because of the many hills and general geography of the road most cell phones and radios don't work for almost the entire span and it's so seldom used anymore that it is not rare for travelers to travel the whole highway without ever having seen another soul.

One of our fans emailed us his story of the road and it caused us to search out a few of the various tales commonly known on "Blood Alley".
"After riding all day I was just looking for a spot to spend the night because it was getting dark and the road had been twisting like a corkscrew and I just wanted to get some sleep.  Right after the sun had passed below the hills I saw a kid in the distance just playing the road.  I rode toward him worries  that he might be abandoned or lost here in the middle of nowhere.  I rode toward him for a while before I realized that I never got any closer.  Then it started to get creepy, I was alone and thought it was just the long day, but I swear that kid kept looking up at me and smiling.  He was just waiting for me to catch him.  I must of rode for fifteen minutes chasing that kid along this crazy road and I never caught up to nothing but some headlights in my eyes.   After the truck passed I never saw the kid again.  But it was creepy enough that I don't want to ride that stretch without a buddy again."

Submitted by Ralph-O a New Mexico fan.

The guys at LRS are curious and we're looking to hear from more riders about this terrible trail.  Please contact us at to let us know your experience with a haunted highway near you.

Until your next ride, be safe and keep the rubber side down.

The LRS Team.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

LRS Laser Inscribed Shields

Today in Myths, Legends and Tales from the road we get an insider look at how Long Ride Shields, our sponsor, makes their Laser Etched Shields.  Join us, for a look into what is happening in the LRS shop when you order one of their amazing creations.

To start this project, the Laser guru himself, James receives artwork that will be etched.  Some artwork proves to be challenging, as each image must first be converted to black and white.  The more colorful the image, the more difficult it is to preserve the quality during the conversion process.  Below you see the converted image from a color photo.  This process typically takes between 15 and 30 minutes, depending on editing that takes place to preserve the images quality.

Initial Bitmap imaging.  Not ready for Laser Etching.
James uses Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator to convert and preserve images which will eventually be etched.  In our example image you can see that the initial bit map conversion is grainy and has several major coloring issues that would make a laser etching looked sloppy or blemished.

This is the cleaned up image after conversion.  James spent some time to eliminate the sandy background and recolor the gun so that it would show more clearly on a shields surface.

When the image is converted and James think it will make another awesome LRS design he runs a quick test on some scrap material in the shop.  Once etched on the scrap material he can more accurately judge how the image needs to be modified.  In some cases, James can get an image just right on the first try.  Some prove to take a little more editing.  There are also several other programs and tricks he can use to clean up images that are not properly etching.

The photo to the right is James initial run of the design.  The etching went perfectly and you can see how it looks on a dark tint material.

If you're interested in getting your new LRS Shield Laser Etched with your own design, please give James a call at (775) 331-3789.  He can print almost any design on any of our shields.  Please email your designs to James at

See you on the road, be safe and ride hard!
-The LRS Team

 Some of LRS's other creations-