Sunday, October 16, 2016


As seen currently on

The New Café Racer Paradigm
Revival Cycles’ Rickman-Velocette
Paul d'Orleans 2016

Revival Cycles' Rickman-Velocette - best of the genre?
The Rickman brothers made their name in the late 1950s by embarrassing the British motorcycle industry in motocross. They ditched the heavy lug-and-tube frames of the barely modified roadsters that passed for competition machines at the time, and built their own brazed-up lightweight chrome-moly frames, which they nickel plated for show, and also to reveal cracks from hard use. Rickman collaborated with Doug Michenall of Avon fairings for the fiberglass bodywork on their Rickman frames, which made them among the best looking motorcycles anywhere when they began selling chassis kits to the public in 1961.
The compact and sleek aluminum fairing built by Andy James
Only a few years later, they took their idea road racing, with a lighter, narrower, and stiffer chassis than the industry-standard Norton featherbed, into which mostly Triumph engines were slotted, although they also made frames for Norton, Matchless, and Velocette motors—or anything else by special order. At first these were strictly road racers, but their real popularity was on the street, where a Rickman-anything was a glittering attraction wherever parked. By the 1970s, four-cylinder engines from Honda and Kawasaki were housed in wider Rickman frames, and the company survives today, ready to frame up whatever you’ve got.
Stunning details, and simplicity
A Rickman chassis, like a Triton or BSA Gold Star, has a silhouette enshrined in the Pantheon of classic café racers, although like its hallowed kin, the quality of the built machine varies greatly. Tipping the sad end of the scale was this Rickman-Velocette as it was delivered to Austin’s Revival Cycles a little over a year ago. With a three-bend exhaust pipe, a chopper-worthy kicked-up Velo fishtail muffler, tossed-spaghetti wiring, and wonky bodywork, the impact was pure Greyhound—as in bus. Revival’s Alan Stulberg says, “It wasn’t cohesive.” He’s just being diplomatic. “Okay, it was pretty ugly. I took it on to show the difference between an off-the-shelf custom and what we do, which is a coherent design from first principles. Now it’s a completely different motorcycle. You don’t have to start with a factory bike to make a good custom bike.”
As purchased - a mess
The best part of any Rickman is of course that nickel-plated chrome-moly frame, which also holds the engine oil to save weight. Rickman made frames with lugs specifically for Velocette engine/gearbox combos, which are extremely narrow compared to a Triumph twin, for example.
While this Velo frame was beautiful, Revival still chopped the seat loop, installing a shorter one and re-plating the frame. The alloy fuel tank was stretched and reshaped with a hollow at the back, so the alloy bump-stop seat unit could slide underneath, making a continuous bodyline. The fork was swapped for Ceriani road race unit (with custom triple clamps), and a magnesium Fontana four-leading-shoe brake installed, paired with a Norton Manx conical rear hub.
Not an illusion!  An observation deck at COTA in Austin
While an LED lamp was integrated into the seat bump (with modern battery and electronics hidden beneath), the headlamp was sourced from a 6-volt Miller bicycle kit! The headlamp rim barely protrudes from Andy James’ lovely aluminum bodywork—not everyone loves the lamp’s small scale, but it’s totally sufficient with a retrofitted LED bulb, powered by an Alton 12-volt alternator. The Velocette Venom motor is built from replica cases, mated to a standard close-ratio four-speed gearbox, and exhales through Revival’s continuous-taper megaphone exhaust, which follows the line of the frame exactly, just as it should. Mr. James also fabricated the delicate/elegant stainless-wire bracketry for the abbreviated alloy fenders, and exhaust, and everything else. The workmanship throughout is perfect, far better than any off-the-shelf race parts available in the 1960s or ‘70s, and in fact, better than the Rickman brothers could afford to provide their customers, not than anyone expected such artisanship in the period.
The 'off side' - interesting to see the primary drive resolution, which is surprisingly standard
The intervening decades have allowed a re-think of legendary designs, especially as a new generation of custom builders aren’t steeped in the period’s rules. “The best part of me not knowing how ‘it was done’ was I didn’t know what was untouchable. At first when we spoke with the customer, he specified traditional parts, but eventually we convinced him it would be better if we did our own thing.” Stulberg was familiar with the Rickman-Velo in its previous incarnation, when it was for sale online: “I’d seen it some time ago—it was this illusion of a well-built bike. I thought, ‘I’d really like to fix this thing.’ A year later I got a call from the buyer, and when we agreed to rebuild it, he had it sent to us before he even saw it in person. He still hasn’t! But he’s pretty happy, especially after it crossed over the podium at the Quail Motorcycle Gathering.”
The machine in question on the lawn at the Quail
In full disclosure, I presented the bike with the Design and Style Award at the Quail for the custom motorcycle I’d most like to take home. You’d be hard pressed to find a more beautifully integrated Rickman chassis, and the understated BRG paint tones down the bling of all that naked alloy and nickel plating. It’s a gorgeous machine, with enough road-race grit in its soul to compel a good hammering down a twisty road, expense be damned. Revival’s recent customs masterfully evoke this visceral, speed-horny response from a café racer’s soul, and their “silver machines” are excellent inheritors of the Rickman mantle.
A laying of hands, and a benediction!  Awarding the Rickman-Velo the Custom&Style Award at the Quail Motorcycle Gathering

Wednesday, October 12, 2016


[Martin Squires is an illustrator extraordinaire whose work appears regularly in Classic Motorcycle magazine.  He provides a slightly different view on the old bike scene through his art, and this is the second of his 'Motorcycle Specials' series for The Vintagent.]

In Janurary 2015 I sketched Ossie Neal’s Scott Hill Climb outfit, over the following months I sketched two more of Ossie’s motorcycles which are now championed by his daughter Sheelagh.

Ossie was a well known racer during the 1950s and beyond, riding well into his eighties. Before taking up the sport of motorcycling, Ossie was a real sportsman competing in boxing, speed skating and cycling. He turned to motorcycles after a knee injury. Ossie’s first bike was a Scott which he road raced, he then went on to use various other machines such as the Triumph and Velocette illustrated here. Ossie travelled the country in a converted ambulance to various hill climbs and sprints with his wife, son Pat and daughter Sheelagh. Ossie’s wife passengered for him first, then when the children were old enough they would passenger too.
Ossie Neal racing his Scott Special outfit
The Scott was converted into a sidecar outfit by Ossie, by lowering and lightening it. His bikes always sport a plethora of holes as Ossie was always drilling out unnecessary metal in order to make the machines lighter. The blue colour is a homage to the Bugatti that he could newer afford. Colours on the bikes became a bit of an Ossie trademark; the blue colour on the Triumph came about because Ossie worked for Cambridgeshire County Council as a waterworks engineer and it was the colour that was used to paint their doors. Not only did Ossie use the paint but he also used the top quality steel pipe he used for plumbing for building the sidecar frame on the Scott. Whilst working for the council a new pumping station was built to his design which coincidently included a large workshop and a long driveway.

The 250cc Triumph started as a road racer in the early 1950s, it was turned into a sprint machine later in the decade, with further modifications using BRM H16 parts in the 1960s. The bike is still campaigned by  Sheelagh where it's allowed as the exhaust emits 126 decibels which is too high for some events. It runs 14.5 second quarter miles on straight petrol as apparently it didn't like methanol. The compression is 7 - 8 to 1, and the bike doesn't have a power band it just provides straight torque all the way.
The Velocette barrel was made from two different barrels in order to give high compression. Many parts on these bikes show what an engineer Ossie Neal was, from copper exhausts on the Scott to variable screw in jets so that they didn’t have to be changed at a meeting. Ossie’s Irish heritage is apparent on the machines as he used to attach coins to various parts of the bikes for good luck. Sheelagh has been asked to identify  one of his bikes in the past and when she saw a coin on the machine she had no doubt it was one of his.                                                                                                                                                  
Seeing these specials out of the workshop and being used by Sheelagh makes me so happy and I’m sure it would make Ossie happy too. These bikes are built for a purpose and that is racing. Many machines like this that are not used and I tend to agree with Sheelagh when she says that if the bike goes ‘bang’ then at least it was doing what it was built to do when it does. [The VMCC holds an Ossie Neal Memorial Sprint - check here]

Illustration and Words by Martin Squires

Wednesday, October 05, 2016


Flying the flag!  Mike Wild and his belt-drive Triumph Model H, chuffing across America's expansive heartland. Buckskin township, Ohio.
After the debacle of Day 1, a reckoning was made by quite a few riders.  If their machine had failed so utterly, or burned to a crisp, was there a point in carrying on?   Normal humans have jobs and responsibilities, and blocking out 3 weeks of motorcycle time requires considerable planning.  If your motorcycle went bust, is the remainder of the event a ride of shame, a holiday spent watching your friends achieve glory, or an opportunity for an unexpected holiday?  Folks took each path, some trucking their broken bikes home, spending a week on a different vacation, and returning to meet us at the finish.  Some simply disappeared.  A few were already part of a team, and carried on as support for those still rolling.
Don't try this at home! John Pfeifer's 1916 Harley-Davidson, with the leaky fuel tank. Could he fix it as a patina ride?  No.
There's also the expense: in addition to 3 weeks of hotels etc, the Cannonball has skewed prices for pre-1917 motorcycles, in total contrast to the automotive market.  A year ago, when this 'century ride' was announced, it was intended to be both a motorcycle AND automotive event, with a staggered start for the cars, the bikes following a day behind, and a shared day off in Dodge City, Kansas.  With almost no publicity, there were a dozen entries for the automotive class within a week, and both Lonnie Isam Jr and Jason Sims, the Cannonball organizers, purchased c.1916 Dodge sedans in excellent condition, each costing roughly $15,000.  For even the humblest of Cannonball motorcycle entries (say, the 1914 Shaw motor bicycle), you'd double that price, and for most, you'd need an extra zero.  That's because there are plenty of old American cars sitting idle, and zero demand for them.  There's hardly any events in which to use them.  In the end, it was decided the Cannonball would remain all-bike.  And the auction companies had a field day: Mecum auctions is now a major sponsor of the Cannonball, and Jason Sims mentioned they were pressing him to reveal the cutoff year for the 2018 Cannonball, so they could cultivate a new herd of eligible bikes for the big Las Vegas auctions.
The road as big as the sky
Day 2, September 11th, was my 54th birthday; it was my 3rd birthday on the road with the Cannonball, and the best so far.  York PA is not far from Gettysburg National Military Park, and I'd never been to a Civil War battlefield.  The town is charming, and when we discovered the best donut in the world (Treat Yo' Self), we asked which direction was the battlefield, to be told 'you're in it.'  True enough, war is messy, to be cleaned up later by historians and those with an agenda.   We were lucky to encounter a group of gents whose hobby was period correct camping, comprising a regiment of blue-coated regulars in a field with their tents - the 53rd Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry.  They were delighted to work with us, posing for wet plate photographs - they'd done so previously, but never on the scale Susan and I attempted. The resulting wet plate images are real time-benders, in the very spot which stuck the wet plate photograph in the world's consciousness, via the work of Matthew Brady, who posed his corpses and cannonballs as keenly as we did our living subjects.
Posing our regiment in Gettysburg.  Thanks boys!
My birthday dinner was our 2nd excellent meal of our 21-day adventure, at Tin 202 in Morgantown, West Virginia.  Thus encouraged, we had high hopes for a trail of good meals, but the next 3-star dinner was 2400 miles away.
I asked for it as a birthday present, but this lovely '46 Indian Chief and sidecar needed to be ridden home that morning... Shiloh, Pennsylvania
Day 3 on the relentless schedule West found us at lunch in Williamstown, WV, at SandP Harley-Davidson.  All but 3 of our scheduled lunches were hosted at Harley dealerships, and our organizers must have sent out a memo for 'no pulled pork', as that was the ubiquitous fare in 2014.  Cannonball rules stipulate you MUST stay at a hosted lunch or dinner stop, as the quid pro quo for a meal - the venues advertise a display of our old bikes, and draw healthy crowds. Not so painful, unless you're a vegetarian, or prefer a different sort of lunch experience than foldup plastic tables in a charmless and makeshift storage room at a bike dealer.  We're thankful for the food, of course, but I much preferred when the local Elks clubs made us lunch in a city park - that seemed more an act of generosity and goodwill than the commercial opportunity afforded by our presence at a place of business.  Your mileage may vary.  Susan and I were busy jumping in and out of our wet plate van, taking photos at the lunch stops, and didn't explore the food until the riders had thundered off, and we were starving. 75% of the time we simply turned around to find a local, non-chain diner, which was work in itself. Susan's daily goal was a good grilled cheese sandwich, something not offered by Subway or MickeyD.
Does a Henderson handle? See for yourself - a looong wheelbase and decently rigid chassis equals a stable ride.  Near Clarksville, Ohio
And then there are the hotels, motels, Holiday Inns.  The quality of accommodation was way up over 2012, but the succession of Quality, Hampton, Comfort and Fairfield Inns became a blur.  We'd learned from 2012 that excellent coffee sets the tone for our day, so a French press, a few pounds of our favorite grand, and a teakettle are essential for our mood.  I pity other addicts who suffered through hotel coffee for 3 weeks.  Susan takes hers black (she's tough like that), but I carried cream in our cooler, preferring 'kitty coffee', as a balm for the assaults of the coming day.
Zika eradication squad! Architect Ryan Allen smokes away on his 1916 Indian Powerplus in Williamstown, West Virginia
Which came mostly in the form of rain; after the muggy heat of our first 1200 miles, relief came in torrents from the sky, and we were pissed upon suddenly and relentlessly.  The timing was treacherous, as in a twisted bit of humor, we undertook a series of unmarked rural roads to cross the 'Cannonball Bridge' near Vincennes, Indiana.  Its construction was unique in my experience, being a converted railway bridge with the usual gapped sleepers, with a pair of tire paths made from lengthwise boards of various thickness, laid down like a threat before the riders.  It felt pretty damn wonky in my truck, but was hellishly slippery for the riders crossing in a downpour.  Cannonball bridge indeed.
A foggy morning in Dodge City.  We all ride alone.
As our caravan of 300 souls and all their support vehicles sped relentlessly Westward, we passed through Chillicothe Ohio, Bloomington Indiana, Cape Girardeau and Springfield Missouri, and Wichita Kansas.  Just outside Wichita, in the suburb of Augusta, fellow Cannonballer Kelly Modlin has recently opened the Twisted Oz Motorcycle Museum, with a terrific display of restored and original-paint motorcycles, most of which could have been on one or more Cannonballs.  It's a terrific display, and Kelly's family put on a welcome meal under the framework of the museum's next expansion, which will double its size already, within a year of its opening.   We all got too many bikes, and not enough willing asses for their saddles!
Rick Salisbury on his 1915 Excelsior
Saturday September 17th we arrived in Dodge City, Kansas, grateful for our day off on Sunday, where riders could wash clothes and catch up on maintenance and rest.  For Susan and I, that meant double the work, as riders were available all day for portrait sessions, and we set to, taking a record 24 tintypes on Sunday in a variety of spots, including at the site of old Dodge City board track, where H-D Museum archivist Bill Rodencal was determined to get a tintype of his machine.  His 1915 Harley-Davidson racer had won Dodge City a century before, and he wore period gear to be immortalized on the very spot, which we were honored to do.   The photos came out great, including one Bill caught of us!
Thanks Bill Rodencal for working the lens cap of our 4x5" camera!  Bill's 1915 Harley-Davidson racer...
...which he rode over 2300 miles.  The bike has NO suspension at all, an uncompromising riding position, and a single speed!  'America is my Board Track'
Michael Norwood and his 1916 Harley-Davidson at the big train on Boot Hill, Dodge City, KS
The solitary Reading-Standard to attempt the Cannonball, a single-cylinder belt drive model, with Norm Nelson piloting.  1744 miles covered.
Niimi!  On his shared Team 80 1915 Indian, with Shinya Kimura.  Caught in the rain in Ohio.
Kelly Modlin with his grandson at his Twisted Oz Museum in Augusta, Kansas
Team 80 takes a gander at the Hillclimber selection at Twisted Oz
Dawn and Doc, and the 1916 Harley-Davidson with wicker sidecar with which they covered every single mile of the Cannonball - a truly impressive achievement.
A one-block town with one brick building, and a nice red frame for the 1916 Indian Powerplus of Kevin Naser.  Neodesha, Kansas...pronounced 'Nay oh du Shay', we were instructed
Halfway already?  Halfway drowned too; the second half of the day's ride, after a sponsored lunch stop, was cancelled, although a few riders did every mile anyway, to ensure they could claim they did.  Jasper, Kansas.
Storm's a brewin in Kansas...
Kevin Naser stopped in Grant, Missouri, for a change of gear.
Brent Hansen and his 1914 Shaw, popping along the plains of America's vast middle
Quonset huts are rare today, but tailor made for a retro cafe, as in Springfield Missouri
What becomes Europe's largest Harley-Davidson dealer best? Americana ink.
Miss Route 66, Sara Vega, poses with Alex Trepanier and his 1912 Indian single.  Alex covered nearly every mile of the United States, an epic achievement.
The future rolls out before you on the Missouri/Kansas border
The Powerplus team of the Rinker family, father Steve (here) and twin sons Justin and Jared
A small-town radio station in Cabool, Missouri
The heartland is full of great motorcycles; this is Powderkeg Harley-Davidson in Mason, Ohio
Powderkeg H-D was named for a nearby gunpowder factory, now being converted to condos.  Swords to plowshares?
South African Hans Coertse, on the only Matchless to compete in the Cannonball to date, a robust 1914 t-twin
With so many Centurions on the road, it was easy to overlook the everyday cool bikes which tagged along, including this neat BMW R60/2 that also crossed the country
As Team 80 is unlikely to attempt a 5th Cannonball in 2018, I regret not witnessing the nighttime poetry of their plein-air workshop, conducted in silence, with hand-held lights.

Tuesday, October 04, 2016


Shinya Kimura on his 1915 Indian twin, on a test run before its 4th Cannonball, as seen from the back of our 'wet plate van', my Sprinter with red 'safety' film on the window for our mobile darkroom.
It was history to be made, and 94 riders grasped the gauntlet; to be the first 100-year old vehicles of any sort to cross the United States.  Cars, planes, bicycles, rollers skates, whatever - the 2016 Motorcycle Cannonball Endurance Rally, this year called the Race of the Century, would the be the first attempt to my knowledge for any Centurion vehicle to cross the country.  That claim was staked at the starter's banquet in the Golden Nugget hotel on September 9th in Atlantic City, New Jersey, during an oppressively hot and muggy late Summer week - 95 degrees and 90% humidity - the hotel having chiseled off it's 'Trump' name some years ago during a bankruptcy proceeding.
Trying to get a decent shot of the assembled 94 motorcycles on the Atlantic City boardwalk, just before the 10am start of the Cannonball.
It wasn't the only evidence of Trump, or bankruptcy, we'd encounter on our third trip over backroads America.  Three Cannonballs, this one likely to be my last, and for once totally bikeless, as my partner (with the bike) couldn't take the 3 weeks off this year.   My artistic and life partner Susan, after a crisis huddle, decided our MotoTintype project was too important to abandon, so we chose to follow the Cannonball as photographers, taking as many 'wet plate' photos as we could, and round out the hundreds of images we'd already shot on the prior 2 events, in order to make a book of the best images. Susan's brother Scott drove my Sprinter to NYC, and thus began another epic road trip.
...and the shot I was able to take, from the opposite direction from the official panorama of the start.
The Motorcycle Cannonball was initiated by Lonnie Isam Jr, as both an homage to the achievement of Erwin 'Cannonball' Baker's cross-country record breaking sprees in the early part of the 20th Century, and a challenge to the many owners of early motorcycles who didn't ride them all that much. Lonnie believed early machines were just as capable of crossing the country today - on paved roads rather than dirt tracks - as they were when new, and the first Cannonball was held in 2010, with a small cadre of riders on pre-1916 machines accepting the challenge.  That first year was notoriously difficult, and an admirably bonding experience.  Nobody had tried such an incredibly long ride - 3500 miles - on such old machinery, and nobody really knew what to expect, or how the bikes would hold up to riding and average 250 miles/day on a rigorous schedule.
Kurt Klokkenga, one of the 'motorcycle sweep' staff of the Cannonball, who were allowed to help repair machines en route without penalty.  I'm sure many stranded riders were grateful of their help!  Love his patina Panhead.
Not surprisingly, the tales of woe and late nights spent making repairs, every single night, made that 2010 event legendary.  Most of the original 45 riders vowed never to do it again, and kept their promise!  Some returned in 2012 though, especially as the rules were relaxed to include bikes up to 1930.  That allowed me to naively enter the 2012 Cannonball with my 1928-framed Velocette Mk4 KTT.  'The Mule' had been my reliable rally machine for 12 years, taking in 7 week-long Velocette rallies, covering 250-mile days with aplomb.  I'd already effectively double the Cannonball mileage on a similar daily schedule, so it seemed a plausible effort.
Beauty among the beasts!  Alyson DeCosa and Buck Carson of Carson Classic Motors was happy to pose on the 1913 Warwick delivery tricycle ridden by his father Mike.
Readers of my 2012 Cannonball reports on know I had terrible problems with two replacement camshafts I installed, the first lasting about 20 miles total, and the second, installed after many hours modification at a machine shop, lasted only a further 1000 miles.  Those were blissful miles over the Rockies, I'll confess, but the truth was, the Cannonball defeated my preparation.  The Mule remains the only overhead-camshaft motorcycle to run the Cannonball, and several H-D riders suggested that a machine which couldn't be fixed with a hammer had no place on a run like the Cannonball.  Perhaps they're correct.
German engineering!  Thomas Trapp and Paul Jung found the front fender of this 1915 Harley-Davidson too long, and fouling the front wheel at speed, so they bobbed it!  Thomas is Europe's largest H-D dealer, from Frankfurt.
In 2014, I partnered with Revival Cycles to ride Bryan Bossier's 1933 Brough Superior 1150, which proved an absolutely remarkable machine, showing its heels daily to every other Cannonball machine, and cruising at a steady 65-70mph, even ridden two-up, with Susan on the back.  Our only 'competition' was the 1936 H-D Knuckleheads squeaking into the pre-1937 rules, but a day-long ride on a Knuck over the 11,000' Independence Pass in Colorado, with its endless hairpin turns, revealed there was no comparison between the pride of American engineering, and a cobbled-up masterpiece of British engineering.  Sorry dudes. (Read my 2014 ride report here)
We had plenty of visitor and day-trippers along for the ride, including Cannonball veteran and publisher Buzz Kanter of American Iron mag.
With no motorbike to concern us this year, Susan and I had an all-Sprinter Cannonball rally, and embraced the experience.  Following the same route as the riders, we were blessed with the endlessly beautiful and fascinating landscape of the United States.  The natural beauty of the East Coast forests, with their winding hills and hollows, lovely climbs were perfect motorcycle roads, dotted regularly with podunk villages and oddball eateries, brought a mix of awe at Nature and concern at Nurture.   Signs supporting a blustering demagogue were inevitably mixed with Confederate flags in Pennsylvania, a clear repudiation of both the policies and race of our current president, in parts of the country left far behind the technology-based prosperity of my native California.
Our 'wet plate' photo of 'Round the World' Doug Wothke's 1917 Douglas twin, brought along for spares, since it was too new for the Cannonball.
The start of this year's rally was hot and oppressive, with daily 95deg temps and 90% humidity.  Jumping in an out of the Sprinter to develop photographs was an experience in hydration management, a subject which became increasingly critical as the days rolled forward, regardless of our 'ride nurse' Vicki 'Spitfire' Sanfelipo handing out electrolite tablets like candy.  Make friends with Gatorade, she said, so we did, and wrung out our sweat-soaked clothing at night (I'll cover our wet plate adventure in a separate post).
Cris Sommer Simmons has ridden 'Effie', her 1915 Harley-Davidson, on 2 Cannonballs now, and it acquitted itself very well.
September 10th was a short ride of 158 miles through an endless series of New Jersey stoplights. The heat, and the constant stop-start, took a heavy toll on machinery and riders, and by the end of the day in York, Pennsylvania, 23 machines were hors de combat.  Some refused to start in the heat, some broke parts, some seized, and one burned to the ground. John Pfeifer had built an extra-capacity fuel tank for his 1916 Harley-Davidson, and the weight of a full tank pressed down onto the rear cylinder's rocker arm (atop the cylinder head on an F-head motor).  It only took 80 miles or so for the rocker to wear through the metal, fuel to spill onto the magneto, and a great ball of flame to erupt.  John watched his machine burn for 20 minutes before a fire truck arrived with a decent extinguisher.  The first day was the worst day overall, culling the field quickly, and serving notice this wasn't going to be an easy run.
Our wet plate of Brent Hansen and his 1913 Shaw motor bicycle, with a very long road before him.
On a bright note, Susan and I had a terrific meal at the Left Bank in York, the first of 3 excellent meals on our 17-day trip.  We tried our hardest to eat well, searching daily for the 'best restaurant in X', and finding lists online which invariably included chains like Jack in the Box. It's not difficult to draw conclusions about rural American culinary habits from this, and you'd be correct - America grows food for the world, but eats poorly in the very regions that food is grown.  But we'd discovered that a couple of times already, and brought a sufficient stock of coffee and wine from home!
A visit from the locals!  Atlantic city crew - the neighborhood '12 O'Clock Boys', although they sheepishly admitted they were 1 or 2 O'Clockers in reality, as a fully vertical wheelie is hard!
Rural Pennsylvania is a lovely place to ride through.  We stopped in Collinsville, PA, for some ice cream
Day 1: carnage.  The cylinder head on Dave Volnek's 1915 Indian blew out, but he had spares, and the bike was back on the road the next day.
Part of a strong German contingent, Andreas Kaindl rode his 1915 Henderson single-speeder, which he purchased from the Hockenheim Museum, and added a convincing faux-patina paint job.  This was Andy's 3rd Cannonball.
Frank Westfall on his 1912 Henderson, and Buck Carson on his 1914 BSA single belt-driver.
A gentleman's mount!  Kevin Waters has 'Beamed across America twice now, having ridden a '33 Sunbeam Model 9 the full distance in 2014.  His 1915 Sunbeam single was a lovely, and very early, example of the marque.
Trouble begins before the beginning! The 1913 Douglas of Steve Alexander gets a flat in the first 6 miles, at the staging area...
Doug Feinsod, a Cannonball veteran, and one of the 'Thor Losers', a 5-rider team of rare Thor v-twins
Many kind words and thoughts were directed to our friend Bill Buckingham, who was tragically killed 2 weeks before the Cannonball.  His usual #40 number plate was carried by a string of other riders, and '40' stickers adorned many bikes.  Godspeed, Bill