Rare 1942 WL Readers Ride

Posted on 8th April 2010 by Electra Glide In Blue in Harley-Davidson, Readers Ride - Tags: , , ,

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Harley Davidson was gearing up for the war effort in 1942. There were few 42 models manufactured for civilian use before a total freeze was put on non-essential war production.

Out of this production year only 142 WL’s were manufactured. The WL, a 45 twin with high compression had a retail price of $350.00.

This rare 1942 WL reader’s ride comes from Jay, out of western NY. Jay tells me this bike came out of Texas and he bought it in Ohio. Jay’s an old school 50’s kind of guy and loves motorcycles and cars that are bobbed or rodded from the 40’s and 50’s.

Be sure to check out the last photo, a reader’s ride bonus.

The 42 WL Engine.

And the bonus, Jays 1928 Ford Roadster.

A big thanks to Jay for sharing his 42 WL and the 28 roadster. Stay tuned for Jay’s Panhead and Sporty pic’s.
As always, thanks for stopping by and ride safe,

Electra Glide In Blue

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Motorcycle Kidney Belts With Some Harley History

Posted on 30th March 2010 by Electra Glide In Blue in Classic, Harley-Davidson, Old School - Tags: ,

Its 1920 the road is rutted packed dirt, gravel or in the big towns, paving bricks. Your motorcycle has no rear suspension. You feel every little bump and rut from the rear wheel through the frame and seat to your kidneys. Thank god you have on your riding belt, later to be called the kidney belt.

Harley Davidson Kidney belts

Photograph courtesy of the Harley-Davidson Motor Company Archives. Copyright H-D.

What makes kidney belts so historically interesting is that they were one of the first articles of riding wear that were adapted specifically for motorcycle riding, and they were also among the first articles to be personalized by the rider. Archival photos as early as about 1920, show motorcycle riders wearing kidney belts with personalized studs depicting the rider’s initials and other designs. Other historical photos over the decades show club riders and rally attendees in their favorite riding belts, both “stock” and highly personalized. Numerous belts in the Archives’ collections are as unique and imaginative as motorcycle riders themselves with highlights such as reflectors, hand tooling on the leather and even handles for the rear seatSporting a leather kidney belt rider.

Harley-Davidson began offering belts to riders in the accessories catalog as early as 1927. The “Brown Cowhide Leather Belt” was offered as a “Grade B” for $3, or, if you wanted to splurge, the “Grade A” was available for $4. In later years, Harley-Davidson offered leather riding belts complete with studs, gems, conchos, pockets and the Bar & Shield logo. Alternatives to the typical flat leather construction were a woven leather configuration for flexibility.

On the right is a picture of my uncle sporting his personalized kidney belt. I can remember finding this up-stairs at grandma’s house when I was about ten. I thought my uncle may have been a wrestler, I had seen these things on the TV. The back side of the kidney belt had his initials in chrome studs.

Here is a picture of Bessie Stringfield sporting her kidney belt. It was said at the age of 19 Bessie began tossing a penny onto a map and then rode to wherever it landed.

Bessie Stringfield sporting her kidney belt

Bessie Stringfield picture courtesy of The Selvedge Yard.

With the arrival of rear shocks in the late 50’s the punishment of the road had been tamed. Today the motocross riders are about the only ones to sport the modern kidney belt.

Some of this info is from an article by Bill Jackson, Senior Archivist for Harley Davidson.

You can click on any photo to see a larger image, enjoy.

Electra Glide In Blue

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Protecting Your Motorcycle Ass

Posted on 26th March 2010 by Electra Glide In Blue in Motorcycle Safety - Tags:

After reading all the news reports out of Phoenix, about the eight motorcycles being rear-ended while setting at a stoplight Thursday afternoon you just have to wonder, what the hell happened there?

Obviously the driver of the dump truck is a fault here. What the hell was the distraction?

In a split second three were killed, a fourth one passed away Friday night. Four others were seriously or critically injured, and one was treated and released from the hospital.

If they all would have been packed in a cage, the end result would probably been close to the same. My thoughts and prayers are with all who have been affected by this tragic accident.

The investigation into the crash may take some time. I’m still shaking my head on this one. When I’m sitting at a light I try to protect my ass as much as I’m watching what’s happening in front of me.

There have been quite a few comments on some motorcycle forums today about this so I thought I’d list some motorcycle safety recommendations for protecting your ass and trying to stay alive on a motorcycle.

1) Increase your following distance. By allowing more time for you to stop, you decrease the likelihood that you will surprise the person behind you. The person behind you will definitely be surprised if you have to stop quickly, but if you can stop smoothly and gradually, then you force them to do the same.

2) Communicate your intentions. While it’s not really an option in an emergency stop situation, in everyday traffic, you can tap your brakes a couple of times to flash your brake light. People behind you are MUCH more likely to notice a flashing light than a static one. You my what to consider a brake light modulator.

3) Always have a line of escape by constantly scanning the areas all around you.

4) Be ready to swerve instead of stop. If you recognize that a rear-end impact is imminent and you have the time and wherewithal to deal with it, swerve between lanes of traffic and let them hit the car in front of you instead.

5) Don’t obsess about the person behind you. If you’re busy thinking about what’s behind you, then you’re less likely to notice what’s in front of you.

6) Never take the traffic around you for granted. Anticipate driver error.

Ride safe and watch your ass.

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Rattlesnake Reservoir

Posted on 18th March 2010 by Electra Glide In Blue in Living, Motorcycle Rides - Tags: , , ,

With highs reported to be in the upper 60’s today, and a storm warning for Friday (5 to 10in of snow) I took off on the 49 Pan with no particular place to go. I headed west, when in doubt, head west young man. That’s what I’ve always been told.

Heading into the foothills on hwy 34, I was picking up the smells of spring. After crossing the Big Thompson River the second time and I hung a left onto County Road 29. Any farther west and I’d be dropping into the Big Thompson Canyon, which wasn’t a bad idea I thought, but I wanted to get high today and look to the east. A good place around here to get high enough to maybe see Kansas is the road up to Rattlesnake.

County Road 29 follows the foothills and is a nice curvy blacktop. If you run this for about two miles, you come up on County Road 18E, you can only turn west and it’s clearly marked for Carter Lake, Flatiron Reservoir, Pinewood Reservoir,
and Ramsay-Shockey Open Space.

When you run County Road 18E all the way up, you gain about 2640 ft in elevation. Trying too keep your eyes on the road is a challenge, for the views are breath taking. So is the thought of the small guardrail that separates you from nothing but air.

The road ends at Pinewood Reservoir, or Pinewood Lake as it is sometimes called, or Rattlesnake Reservoir as it is called locally. There is good fishing I have been told, and it’s a nice place to have a bagged lunch.

Built in 1951 and named Rattlesnake Reservoir because of its location in Rattlesnake Park, the names were officially changed to Pinewood in 1966. I think it had something to do with tourism.

I saved taking any road pictures for the trip down. This shot is at the highest point of the trip and looking west.

And all the rest are east bound pictures and you can click on them for a larger image.
On a clear day you can see Kansas…….

Going down……..

And curvy…….

More Kansas…….

Rock wall………..

Ride Safe and enjoy,

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