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Pioneers

PIONEERS: Female Dispatch Riders of World War II

Discovering the wartime history of The Wrens

6/12/2014, By Panhead Jim
As Americans, when we think of the role of women in World War II (WWII), we often envision factories filled with women wearing headscarves, riveting together airplanes. That may have happened in the United States, but across the Atlantic in Great Britain, things were definitely more dangerous for the women that helped with the war effort.
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PIONEERS: Honeymooning by Motorcycle in 1934!

A journey that spanned two years and two continents

3/10/2014, By Panhead Jim
After their marriage in 1934, Stanislaw and Halina Bujakowski decided that for their honeymoon, they would fulfill a lifelong dream and travel by motorcycle from their home in Druskininkai, Poland to Shanghai, China. They already owned a BSA motorcycle which was equipped with a sidecar, so all they needed to do was to pack and go.
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First Interview: Cris Sommer Simmons on her Cannonball Run

Riding cross country on a 1915 Harley-Davidson

10/2/2010, By Genevieve Schmitt, Editor
Cris Sommer Simmons was the only American woman riding in the Motorcycle Cannonball Endurance Run that wrapped up September 26, 2010 in Santa Monica, Calif. Cris finished 20th overall. She spoke with me by phone three days after her history making ride from her home in Hawaii where she is relaxing after riding her 1915 Harley-Davidson across the country.
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Vivian Bales: The Enthusiast Girl - Part 2

Read her thoughts on being a girl rider and much more

By Kim Barlag, Photographs courtesy Harley-Davidson Motor Co.
Vivian rode to Baltimore; Wilmington, Delaware, Philadelphia, Trenton, New Jersey, Newark, New Jersey, then on to the Big Apple. Here I am folks in New York, the front door of America. I don't see how any one place could be so big. I rode and rode up 5th Avenue thinking I would never come to the end of this street. When the traffic signals would check the endless string o...
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Vivian Bales: The Enthusiast Girl

First H-D cover girl in 1929 rides 5,000 miles

Courtesy Harley-Davidson Motor Co.
At age 20, Vivian Bales, a Harley-Davidson Enthusiast magazine cover girl, set out on a solo journey to explore the U.S.A. Read in her own words her experiences about being a woman rider in the 1920s, the special treatment she got along the way and the joy and excitement on being a girl on a motorcycle. Her fascinating story offers a glimpse into what it was like to be a woman rider in the early 1900s.
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Marjorie Smith: A Pioneering Motorcycle Businesswoman

She guided a major motorcycle engine builder to where it is today

By Teri Conrad, Photos courtesy S&S Cycle
One of the biggest and most respected engine manufacturers in the motorcycle industry, S&S Cycle, may not have existed if it wasn't for Marjorie Smith. "If it wasn't for her willingness to continue the business in 1959 and take over the office responsibilities and financial burden, there probably wouldn't be an S&S," reflects Ken Smith, one of Marjorie's two sons who started working with the company in the 1970s.
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Hazel Kolb

Why she rode the perimeter of the U.S. all by herself

Story and photos by Bill Stermer
When she appeared on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson in May 1979, Hazel Kolb (pronounced "cob") was the picture of happiness and contentment. Here was this 53-year-old grandmother, halfway through riding her 80-inch Harley-Davidson Electra Glide around the perimeter of the continental United States, alone, and the significance of this national television exposure was not lost on her. "Next to the birth of my kids," she would later say, "it was the highlight of my life."
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Della Crewe

Her snowy motorcycle adventure in 1915

From the archives of Harley-Davidson Motor Company
In the first few decades of the twentieth dentury, the roads made motorcycle touring a rugged sport. Before concrete interstates and blacktop secondary roads, most roads were dirt or gravel trails. Venturing far outside the city required a flair for adventure, a lot of stamina and a rugged machine. The fact that men ventured forth under those conditions was unquestioned, but for the women to do the same caused a great deal of attention, because of their presumably passive role. Even among these exceptional female motorcycle pioneers, some stood out... like a Waco, Texas, woman named Della Crewe.
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