May 10, 1901 George M. Hendee and Carl Oscar Hedström introduced what became the first commercially successful, gasoline-powered motorcycle in the United States. The debut and demonstration of their prototype motorcycle took place on a steep hill on Cross Street in Springfield, Massachusetts.  The two men had officially entered into a business partnership only about four... Continue Reading →

March 18, 1917 Calvin Lambert became the first person to ride a motorcycle to the top of a rugged hill in the city of San Juan Capistrano in Orange County, California. San Juan Capistrano was famous by that time for the then-yearly return of the white-bellied cliff swallows to the city just in time for spring... Continue Reading →

July 6, 1903 George Adams Wyman arrived in New York City on his motor bicycle 50 days after departing San Francisco on that vehicle. In completing this coast-to-coast trip, the 26-year-old Wyman became the first person to make a transcontinental crossing of the United States by motor vehicle. Twenty days after Wyman finished his journey of... Continue Reading →

July 12, 1939 Motorcycle designer and entrepreneur Arlen Ness was born in Moorhead, Minnesota. When he was in the sixth grade, Ness moved with his family to California. Prior to his motorcycle career, Ness worked in such positions as a pin setter at a bowling alley, a post office employee, and a furniture mover. Over... Continue Reading →

March 14, 1908 Motorcycle designer and manufacturer Philip Vincent was born in London, England. It was during his time as a student at Harrow School, a London-based boarding school for boys, that Vincent was introduced to motorcycles. His interest in this means of mobility steadily grew. He bought his first motorcycle, which was a second-hand... Continue Reading →

African-American motorcycle pioneer Bessie Stringfield was born sometime around 1911 in Kingston, Jamaica. (She was originally called Betsy Leonora Ellis, but she eventually became known as “Bessie” instead of “Betsy”; “Stringfield” was the last name of her third husband.) While born on foreign soil, she became a U.S. citizen after immigrating at a young age to Boston,... Continue Reading →

August 20, 1963 If at first, you don’t succeed . . .  Charles Fehn applied for the third time for a patent for a pioneering type of motorcycle that he invented five years earlier. The entrepreneurial Fehn developed a strong familiarity with motorcycles early on in life. Over time, he even began routinely taking motorcycles... Continue Reading →

Transportation pioneer Augusta Van Buren was born in New York City. She and her sister Adeline, who was born in 1889, jointly undertook a record-setting motorcycle journey across the continental United States in 1916.  (The sisters were descendants of Martin Van Buren, the eighth U.S. president.) Augusta and Adeline were active in the Preparedness Movement,... Continue Reading →

Image: Portraits of three women engineers: Margaret Rowbotham, Beatrice Shilling, and Margaret Partridge Beatrice “Tilly” Shilling, who left her mark as an aeronautical engineer as well as a motorbike and car racer, was born in Waterlooville, England. At age 14, she bought her first motorbike. By that time, she had also developed a strong interest... Continue Reading →

One of the more memorable motorcyclists during the 1910s -- an era that has been characterized as the Golden Age of American Motorcycling -- was a woman named Della L. Crewe. She was born in Wisconsin in 1884 and eventually made her way to Texas. By 1910, she was living in Waco and working there... Continue Reading →

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