Monday, September 30, 2013

Antique Store Finds

It's not everyday you can leave the antique store with multiple Excelsiors (photos).

Lillian LaFrance: The Girl Who Flirts with Death

Oddly enough I had never seen the photo below before yesterday. There are a number of amazing photos of early woman motorcyclists you tend to see over and over. How I've never seen this one I really can't say.

The skull motif, "The Girl Who Flirts With Death" banner, effortless rollers riding performance, it's almost a caricature of modern roller derby girl culture. Upon first viewing I genuinely thought it might be a faked photo. I had to look further. Below is some of what I found. My quick search included gobs of contradicting information with very little solid citation so don't any of this as gospel. Hell, for all I know it could still be a hoax.

Lillian LaFrance (1894–1979) - Agnes Micek was the second of nine girls born into honest-livin’, hard-workin’ Catholic family standards. She christened herself  Lillian LaFrance and quickly shook the dust of her Kansas hometown from her boots sometime around 1916, and roared off to create the life she had always dreamt of, carving it raw as she went along.  She began Motordrome riding in 1924, and left a blurry, yet brilliant legacy behind that still haunts many who are taken by the images of her incredible spirit staring back through squinty eyes in a copy of a copy of old grainy photos.  Incredible.

“I was never meant to have children, or to be a plain housewife.  I saw how my mother lived, so you know married life never appealed to me– to endure what she went through…”
–Lillian LaFrance

In 1998, a documentary about Lillian was done by writer, filmmaker Kim Wood called “Advice for Adventurous Girls.” Her novel, based on the life of a Kansas farm girl turned world-famous motorcycle daredevil, will be published in 2012.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Ran When Parked

1922 Harley Davidson JD - I spotted this one and was all prepared to put Flathead Rob on it for the next Cannonball. I was right in the middle of trying to smash open my official Harley Hog piggy bank and the damn thing sold. Beautiful bike.

Indians Have Ticklers

Wait. So Indian riders have stinky thumbs too?

Triumph Cutaway Gearbox used for Instruction at Johnson Motors

Sometimes I feel like I'm developing an unhealthy interest in Triumph memorabilia. One more reason limited Motorcycle Money may not always be a liability.

1954/1955 Triumph Newspaper

Sales propaganda might be a more accurate description but odds are I'm buying either way.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Where Are They Now

Ed Kretz Jr - 5/3/1932 - 9/8/2013

Flathead Rob pointed out that Edward Kretz Jr passed away just a couple of weeks ago at 81. Riding to the very end. Godspeed Ed, you'll be missed.

Edward Lawrence Kretz Jr. - May 3, 1932 - September 8, 2013
Edward Lawrence Kretz, Jr., died suddenly of congestive heart failure on Sunday, September 8, 2013, while on a short motorcycle ride. He leaves behind his beloved wife of 60 years, Elaine; daughter and son-in-law, Cindy and Clint Milazo; granddaughters and husbands, Robin and Jeremy Miller, Michelle and Chris Swofford, Holly Milazo, Nicole Milazo; great-granddaughter, Abigail Marie Miller; and sister and husband, Donna and Ed Forstall, niece, nephews, many cherished relatives and countless friends. Eddie was born on May 3, 1932 in Pomona, California to Irene and Edward Kretz, Sr. He grew up in Monterey Park, California, and had a successful career there as co-owner of Ed Kretz and Son motorcycle shop for over 40 years. After he retired, Ed and Elaine moved to Colorado to be close to their daughter and her family. 

His stories were endless and his jokes legendary. No one was a stranger to him as he made friends so quickly. While he may be most remembered for his motorcycle accomplishments, his greatest love and commitment was to his family. His generosity was endless and his love ran deep. He selflessly cared for his Alzheimer’s-stricken wife at home for many years before having to finally place her in an assisted living home this past July. He would visit her almost daily, bringing toys to entertain her and the other residents. He loved to dance and make people smile and would get Elaine and the other ladies up to join him. Her disease is quite advanced so her doctors and family have requested that nothing be said to her about his death. She would be devastated and then not remember why. 

Eddie had many accomplishments and many things to be proud of, but the thing that he was most proud of was his family. When he was 29 years old, he welcomed his first and only child, Cindy, which he loved and cherished. He was always so proud of her and her accomplishments, especially his four granddaughters that she and her husband Clint gave to him in the 1980’s. He was a very devoted and loving dad and grandpa, and recently, great-grandpa. He was so excited to be at the hospital for the birth of his first great-grandchild last December. His face would light up whenever he would see her and he enjoyed many fun times with her. His selflessness was also exhibited by his long-term commitment to volunteering at the University of Colorado Cancer Center where he was known and loved by patients and staff alike. He was affectionately known as “The Candy Man,” because he also would always bring bags of candy 

Eddie followed in his Dad’s footsteps in his love of motorcycle racing. He won many state and national titles, including winning the 1955 Peoria TT National, plus top off-road finishes at Catalina and Big Bear, as well as being the Pacific Coast TT Champion three times. He stopped racing after his daughter was born because he was watching so many of his friends get killed on the track and wanted to make sure that he was always there for his family. He was inducted into the American Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 2002; was inducted into the Sturgis Hall of Fame in 2012; received the Trailblazers’ top honor, the Dick Hammer Award, in 2013. He loved showing off his many prized “keepers,” an extensive collection of bikes and memorabilia. He was the Ultimate Motorcycle Enthusiast and an incredible individual that will be sorely missed by all who knew and loved him. 

Cake presented by the British Motorcycle Club of Colorado Springs

Ed volunteered at University of Colorado Cancer Center for over 10 years and developed many close relationships with the cancer patients, their families and the staff. In lieu of flowers we are requesting that a contribution be made to University of Colorado Hospital’s June’s Patient Financial Assistance Program Fund.  Please make checks payable to University of Colorado Hospital and place "In memory of Ed Kretz" in the memo line. The cancer patients held a very special place in his heart and I know that he would want to do what he could to help them financially.
Mail to:
University of Colorado Hospital
12401 E. 17th Avenue, Mail Stop F485

Aurora, CO 80045

Ran When Parked

1949 Velocette MAC - Damn. A Velocette right in my backyard. For nostalgia reasons mine has to be a 1947. I'd really like mine to be a girder front end too.  Still... In some ways I'm lucky I have an extremely limited pool of Motorcycle Money.

Ed Kretz Jr Blog

I stumbled across Ed Kretz Jr's blog for the first time today. It doesn't look like he posts stuff very regularly but naturally the stuff he does post is pretty incredible. Though perhaps somewhat overshadowed by his Dad, Ed Kretz Jr had pretty remarkable career as well.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Oyster Run 2013

I made the trek up to Anacortes with Hurry-Up Nate and Flathead Rob for the Oyster Run. I hoped to meet up with my father-in-law but it didn't work out. The weather was... not good. The Cossacks made a good show of it anyway. I met some super nice people but I think I got my fill of Softails and doo-rags for the season.

Soaked U

Soaked Fuzzy - later demolished a rack of ribs

It rained all day but these ladies found the sun stuck under the axle of the team trailer

Flathead Rob was not sold on a 2014 Chief - They are OHV after all...

Cossacks new staff car - I genuinely think it may have broken down there

Looked good doing it though

Time Sink

I seem to have an outstanding capability for wasting ridiculous amounts of time on fabrication projects. My '51 has a very nice set of reproduction pipes on it. Unfortunately they are 1 3/4 rather than 1 1/2 as would have been stock on the Tiger in '51. I've screwed around with various off the shelf adapters and continued to have problems with them shaking apart. When they came apart for the umpteenth time riding home from Vashon Island I was pretty damn motivated to fix them.

After some thought and discussion with Flathead Rob I decided to turn an interference fit shim to press on the original exhaust spigot. I spent an embarrassingly enormous amount of time turning two shim with just the right tolerances to press on the spigot and adapt the 1 3/4 pipe.

I'm sure if & when I ever sell that bike the buyer will be thrilled to pay the extra 7 hours of "shop time" to make these custom exhaust spigots. Good thing I don't do this crap for a living. If they solve they problem I guess the time might be justified.