Charlie Mihalik of the Yorkville Motorcycle Co., Ace dealer, New York and friends P. J. Bailey of the Ace Factory and Walter D. Batterson, Harley-Davidson dealer of Corning, N.Y. used their machines to get them to and from their fishing and hunting excursions. They were reported as having, “returned from a week’s outing and hunting trip in the woods”, their conveyances consisting of three sidecar outfits, guns, ammo, camping equipment, clothing, and camera supplies. Batterson and Fish were successful hunting partridges while Charlie set out for pelts coming back with three he planed to have made into a luxurious set of fur gauntlets for his winter riding. “All three pelts came off the kind of little black Kitties that have white stripes down their faces, and when Charlie brought them in the rest of the bunch knew of his success long before they saw him”. – “Motorcycle Illustrated”. Nov. 30, 1922.
The following month Mahalik, Batterson, Ed Fish, and Bailey set off for their hunting lodge in their motorcycle side car rigs. The side cars were packed with duffle-bags in which were packed hunting equipment, extra clothing, guns, boots, ammo, camera supplies and other gear. The day before they set out, Fish and Batterson rode to Long Island for some duck hunting and on the way were struck by an automobile. “The violence of the impact caused the motorcycle and sidecar to turn two complete somersaults, throwing both Batterson and Fish many feet from the machine and causing many painful bruises…”. The car in question did not stop to see if the men were injured or offer any assistance.
They drove the motorcycle back to Yorkville and had the spokes of the sidecar wheel (the point of contact with the automobile) repaired and some dents straightened out and set off in search of deer. The men were the guests of Sheriff Schoonover and for a week packed into every day “exercise and satisfaction”. Mahalik bagged himself a deer after which he walked back to the lodge to get his motorcycle. The deer was put into the sidecar and driven back to their lodgings, hung, skinned, and dressed. “Motorcycle Illustrated”. Dec. 1922.
The October 19, 1922 issue of the same magazine contained a photo of William S. Harley and William Davidson, you guessed it, as they returned from a fishing excursion. “The two Bills left the factory after working hours and rode out twenty-five miles to a lake that has the reputation of being well fished out. With a full moon in their favor, they got in about five hours of fishing and when they called it quits, had 39 pounds of pike and bass to their credit. The big pike that shows so prominently in the pucture weighed 8 ¼ pounds”.
One can find numerous stories of camping excursions with motorcycles in the old magazines. One in particular seems to have been a great trip for all. A group of people, men and women, left with several riders and a sidecar outfit carrying pup tents, blankets, rubber blankets, mess kit and cups. The author extolled the pleasures of supper by the campfire followed by breakfast of piles of bacon and hot coffee. The accompanying photo showed a dozen or more people in their tents.
“Recreation”, May 1916, carried an article by W. H. Wallace of his camping excursions from his bike and a detailed list of what he carried with him. His food, toilet articles, and camping equipment (tent, poncho, blankets, water bucket, wash basin, candle lantern, camp stove, rubber match box, fry pan, cooking pot, tin cup, tin plate, bread pan, knife and fork, tablespoon, dessert spoon, camp axe, trenching tool, canteen, sweater, change of underwear, cheesecloth, and a ball of cord) fit into cardboard carrying cases. The pot, skillet, mess kit, etc. nested so tightly together that it took little space to pack and did not rattle while riding.
Outdoor excursions were so popular that in November that year the magazine advised dealers on how to successfully stage a seasonal window display. The photo had a mock-up cabin in the background with a deer head and antlers hanging from the front, lots of tree branches to simulate the look of being in the woods, two hungers with rifles, and a motorcycle parked underneath some of the branches. It was an ingenious sales tactic.
Scenic rides have been part of riding since the first bike fired up, some were just a little more out of the ordinary than others. The Nov. 30, 1922 issue carried a photo and a caption on a trip made by a young woman. “Mrs. Maud M. Randall, of Atlanta, Ga., recently drove her motorcycle and sidecar outfit from Atlanta to Providence, R. I., where she is a guest of her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Albert A. Watson. Mrs. Randall is an all-around sportswoman, an equestrienne of note, and the owner of several prize-winning dogs. Two of them, valued at $1,000 each are taking a ride in the sidecar”. The magazine neither indicated she made the trip alone or accompanied by her husband.
© Vickie (Rumble) Brady, vrumblesramblingbikerblog.wordpress.com