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The two-wheeled signs of spring

Man riding a motorcycle while a woman in the sidecar looks on affectionately.

Is winter officially over with the first motorcycle sighting? I would like to think so. Certainly these brave souls on their (mostly) two-wheeled contraptions must be the harbingers of spring.

Or, perhaps they’re overwhelmingly optimistic. Either way, seeing several riders between our recent “snow events” made me think about motorcycles in general.

Where else would l turn to but the library for information?  I discovered books on the various ways to ride and maintain your machine, and even plan the perfect scenic motorcycle trip. Check out Motorcycle Camping Made Easy by Bob Woofter.

Looking for something a little more armchair adventure level? Biographies are available about motorcycle legend Robert Craig “Evel” Knievel, Jr., and you can also learn about the history of the motorcycle. Did you know the first motorcycles were steam powered?

Motorcycles originated in Europe in the late 1800’s. The concept spread from Germany and England to America where ideas were tried and improved upon until 1898. At that point the first production model in America with an internal combustion engine was made available to the public.  At the turn of the century, mass production began.

These increasingly powerful machines differed hugely from the early beginnings as a bicycle retrofitted with an engine. With the advent of World War I, production was greatly increased as dispatch riders used motorcycles to transport messages. Popularity increased, and after World War II motorcycle “gangs” sprang up and were popularized in movies.

Having been a “passenger” on a motorcycle, I can say there is a freedom experienced as you fly down the road. I’m pretty sure I’m over that now. I can dream, though, of warmer days and road trips. Hmmm, maybe one of those three-wheeled jobs.