MOTORCYCLE CLUB of AMERICA
N.Y., June 13-15, 2008 - It's hard
to imagine a better setting for a gathering of antique motorcycles than New
York's Hudson Valley. The area's two-lane roads wind through the Catskill
Mountains and along the Hudson River, passing through towns with names like
Woodstock, Hyde Park and Rhinebeck. It is in Rhinebeck. New York, that the
Antique Motorcycle Club of America put its side stand down at the Duchess County
Fairgrounds for three days to extol the virtues of the archaic.
with the Antique Tractor and Machinery Club of America, the Antique Truck Club
of America, The Century Museum and the Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome, six AMCA
chapters, known as the Northeast Coalition (Big Sand Bar Long Island, Colonial
North Jersey, Empire, Hudson Valley, Seaboard and Yankee chapters) pool their
resources to create this event perceived as the ultimate antique experience.
"Rhinebeck" is now commonly referred to in the same breath as the
AMCA's Davenport and Wauseon meets.
AMCA was actually late to the Rhinebeck antique-fest, arriving in a big way just
last year to events already being held annually by the antique tractor, truck
and machinery folks. But they are quickly proving to be the life of the party.
The Swap Meet opened to the public on Friday, kicking off the three-day
throwback. Admission for AMCA members was just $15 for all three days while
non-members paid $15 for one day or $25 for the trifecta. Kids under 13 were
contact, Meet Coordinator Tim Talleur, met me at the gate and drove me into
the heart of the event. Had 1 known this was the last 1 would see of Tim, I'd
have taken a picture! Tim's a busy guy during the event, but he left me in good
company. J&P Cycles' John Parham and Dick Ollhoff, the owner of a very
unusual 1906 Indian Tri-Car, were the first people I met. Displaying rare
machines like Dick's old Tri-Car is what Rhinebeck is all about.
According to Ollhoff's
reproduction Hendee literature, the Tri-Car offers "a sense of
indefinable something that comes from being seated astride a saddle."
According to Dick, there is something very definable about what the Tri-Car
attachment, called a fore carriage, docs to your bank account. The fore carriage
is bolted onto your Indian, converting it from a two-wheeler to a three-wheeler
bringing with it the benefits of independent helical springs and the versatility
of increased stability to haul people or cargo. Dick added a wooden chest as a
temporary accessory until he finds or builds proper Tri-Car seating.
the AMCA isn't specifically dedicated to American-made machines, I've never seen
such a concentration of vintage American swap parts, complete bikes and projects
as this. Prewar bikes were commonplace here and even bikes from the teens
weren't unusual. Around every corner or under every shade tree was a good story.
Mary Barkman's bikes were under such a shade tree. Ernie's period-modified drag
bike features a '47 Knucklehead engine with dual carbs, built by none other than
the legendary Pete Hill. Ernie's only had it to about half throttle so far, but
he says with a twinkle in his eye, "She flies." His wife Mary's '52
Panhead was drawing its share of attention too. Ernie's Knuck and Mary's Pan
finished one-two respectively at Sunday's Cycle Source Magazine Period
modified bike show.
infield of the fairgrounds racetrack was home to the antique truck, tractor and
machinery portion of the goings-on, as well as the Cody Ives Globe of Death
show. I went from Charles Kellogg's '37 John Deere Unstyled B Model tractor, to
Richard Wiebking's 1928 hybrid-powered Custer Whee1 chair to the Mower Maniac
Peter Rutowski without ever leaving the infield. Rutowski has over 300 push
mowers in his collection and his friendly personality and willingness to
educate the public about his passion is pretty typical of everyone at Rhinebeck.
Bikes don't just sit at
Rhinebeck. They ride 'em, too. The intricacies of century-old, megabucks
bikes are many, and it requires patience and understanding to coax them
to life. One such example , was Frank Westfall's 1912 Henderson Four. Westfall
had inadvertently allowed too much oil into the crankcase of his gorgeous
machine and, as a result, was fouling spark plugs. I was intrigued by the
meticulous drill that Westfall and Dave Molnar went through as they checked each
cylinder for spark and checked the oil level against the dippers and connecting
rods prior to refiring the machine. After an hour or so of fiddling, Westfall,
was cruising the fairgrounds with a smile on his face that came as much from
understanding the old machine as it did from riding it. Other AMCA members rode
en masse on Friday evening to Woodstock H-D's welcome party.
unique feature of this meet is the Motorcycle Timeline, organized largely by the
efforts of Steve Barber. This year the Timeline was held on Saturday and Sunday
and highlighted over 300 motorcycles from 1897 to 1973! Row after row of bikes
of all makes, conditions and purposes were displayed. The oldest bike in the
lineup this year was the 1897 De Dion-Bouton three-wheeler. featuring a
pulse-pounding 1-1/2 hp engine.
an the looks of the past were vendors Mike Merling
and Brian Kohlmann. They are the owners of Golden
Age Motorcycle Clothing and they really stand out in a vintage crowd.
Dressed in high-quality reproduction boots, breeches, shirts and accessories,
they offer that look to the owners who want to look as good as their vintage
bikes. They even arrive at the show in a vintage Ford pickup towing a genuine
vintage trailer with an old Indian on it. Check them out at http://www.goldenagemotorcycleclothing.com.
exhibits included Ed "Big Daddy" Roth's Mail Box trike, the Vintage
Japanese Motorcyc1e Club and an Antique Auction on Sunday. Jean Davidson was on
hand for book signings and was also the featured guest at Saturday night's AMCA
Various clubs, like the Indian
101 Association, had shows within the show. Joanie Walker, club treasurer and
wife of club President Randy Walker, explained that the club has over 400
members from 22 countries with the U.S, Canada and Australia being the most
popular homes for the 101, manufactured from 1928-31.
Find out more at: http://www.l0lscout.com.
miles 1iom the fairgrounds, the excitement for old machines can't be kept on the
ground. The Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome provides a unique opportunity to see antique
aviation up close and personal--real personal. One of the highlights for
many was the chance to take a 20-minute flight in an authentic Standard Biplane.
Air show president Hugh Schoelzel and director/pilot Tom Daly talked me into
such a flight, but after a two-hour wait, I had to get back to the bikes.
The Aerodrome also features an
antique air show and untold numbers of vintage aircraft, cars and motorcycles
from 1900-1940. As advertised, it truly is a living museum of antique
aeroplanes. You could spend an entire day at Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome and not see
the way, I repeatedly crossed paths with four Harley riders from New Jersey:
Jeff, Bill, Vinny and Fred. While Vinny's scotch and nachos breakfast was
remarkable, it was our shared passion for old bikes that brought us all together
for breakfast and dinner at the Eveready Diner. This uncommon common ground is
what vintage types seek and what they find at Rhinebeck. Rhinebeck has the
indefinable "it" that makes for successful meets. Things that would
stop you in your tracks on the street or at local shows are commonplace here. It
truly is an embarrassment of riches that shouldn't be taken for granted.
Copyright © 2001-2013 Semco Teak Products, Inc.