• The Riders
  • The Riders
  • The Riders
Selfless in the South
Written by Felicia Morgan   

On the third day of the Motorcycle Cannonball, riders rolled into a warm welcome at Coker Tires in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The streets were blocked off and antique motorcycles were nudged up against the curbs as riders checked in for the day and received the next day’s course instructions. Locals were all smiles as they admired the old iron and chatted with the owners. A boy on a skateboard was mesmerized and struck up a conversation with one of the Cannonball crew.

Bruce Redpath, a mechanic for one of the Motorcycle Cannonball riders, had his 1965 Montgomery Ward mini-bike with him and he used it to zip around the pit area. Bruce used to race on the Harley Drag Racing Association circuit, hitting speeds up to 165-mph but in 1985 during a race at the particularly difficult ATCO track in New Jersey, Bruce had an accident and lost his foot. Having the mini-bike with him to scoot around on made navigating the Cannonball events easier. He’d gotten the bike as a kid and his brothers, sister and assorted cousins and friends had all learned to ride on the 50-year old bike. It was part of the family.

The Tennessee boy on the skateboard fell in love with the bike and Bruce over heard the conversation between the 10-year old and his mother as he tried to convince her that he needed to have a bike like that. Mom’s reply tugged at Bruce’s heartstrings.

“No. We can’t afford anything like that, we’re poor,” she told her son. The boy pleaded, Mom walked on. The kid returned several times to admire the bike before Bruce finally instructed him to go get his mother. He told the wide-eyed boy that if his mom would promise to not sell the bike, he’d give it to him. And he did.

“Every kid should have a bike to grow up with, don’t you think?” the 52-year old Redpath told me. “I couldn’t think of a better person to have that bike besides one who really loved it and couldn’t afford it. It made me feel good to give it to him. His mom called me the other day to say he never gets off the thing; he just rides it around the house all day long. I feel like he deserves it. Shouldn’t all 5th graders have a bike?”

 
Reservation Racing: Video Flashback, Morning Madness

From 14 September 2014. Somehow I missed this one.

Every morning it is the same. It is like the circus opening up its tent. A new day. The night before every biker has been tweaking the machine, every morning dawns with a new hope for the day, new stories ready to be told. You see it and one day it hits you how much this morning madness is compelling, addictive in the words of Robb Priske. People come out to see just this morning energy where the bikers are revving their motors, shaking hands, and wishing luck. There is drama, too. The desperate measures some are trying to deploy to get their bikes running before the cut off time. The time when the sweep trucks leave the house and the game is afoot or abike…

 
Changes
Written by Felicia Morgan   

Photo by Felicia Morgan

Philosophical rider #16, Ron Roberts from New Hampshire, made all 3,938-miles of the Cannonball along with his beloved 1936 Indian Chief named "Acceptance." He is an author, a photographer, and a retired boilermaker. One morning as the run was in its final days I asked Ron if he was anxious to get back to his regular life. The question was greeted with a look of genuine surprise.

"Can anyone ever really go back to what was before the Cannonball? It can't be done..my life is forever changed. I will never be the same again," he replied. And so it is with all who have experienced the spiritual side of life along the backroads of America. The Motorcycle Cannonball may be the hardest antique motorcycle run in the world, but it is also the most gratifying.

 
The 2014 Cannonball Put to Music

Very cool video by Steve Alexander, put to Bon Jovi's Wanted, Dead or Alive.

 
Bill Wood: Clyde Crouch On The Mend After Crash
Written by Bill Wood   

Clyde CrouchThe Motorcycle Cannonball Endurance Run may have ended several days ago, but we continue to get updates from stuff that happened along the 4,000-mile route between Daytona Beach, Florida, and Tacoma, Washington.

Today’s news came in the form of a phone call from Clyde Crouch, who was injured in a crash on September 14.

Clyde was riding on a narrow, twisty two-lane through the Colorado Rockies when his 1928 Henderson went off the road. He said he wasn’t going more than 15 mph when the bike hit a gravel dropoff at the edge of the pavement. He went down, and as he says, “I was the mattress between the bike and the edge of the road .”

As a result of falling on him, the bike was undamaged. And at first, it appeared the same was true for Clyde. Fortunately, though, Vicki “Spitfire” Sanfelipo, an EMT who was riding as part of the Cannonball support crew, happened along. Vicki, who is the founder of the Accident Scene Management program, became the guardian angel of this year’s Cannonball, watching over the physical condition of riders both on and off the bike. She was concerned about possible internal injuries that Clyde might have suffered and pushed for a trip to the hospital.

Eventually, Clyde took an ambulance ride to a Denver hospital, where doctors removed his spleen, stopped internal bleeding and treated him for a collapsed lung and five broken ribs.

The good news is that Clyde is out of the hospital and recovering at home. He reports that the recovery from surgery has progressed rapidly, and he’s now up and around, although the broken ribs are still painful.

Vicki "Spitfire" SanfelipoClyde wants to pass along his thanks to Vicki and Byrne Bramwell, who accompanied him to the hospital. Also, thanks to the other members of the Cannonball support crew, including motorcycle-sweep riders Gary Haynes and Dave Jones, along with the “School Bus of Shame” team—Jimmy Bradley and Jeff Boris—who recovered his machine. He was also thankful for Sheriff's Deputy Josh who made sure that the ambulance crew took him to St. Anthony’s Hospital where they have an excellent Level I Trauma Facility.

Clyde also wants to thank all of the other riders and support-crew members who signed a get-well card, along with Cannonball official photographer Michael Lichter, who provided a panorama shot of the lineup of bikes at the start in Daytona Beach that was signed by many of the riders.

“I just want to say thanks to everyone for their help and remembrance. I’m overwhelmed,” Clyde said.

But he had another message as well. He noted that riding a motorcycle, particularly an old bike, requires full concentration at all times, and that means making frequent rest stops.

The Sheriff's deputy on the scene indicated that he has responded to a number of motorcycle crashes in the tight, decreasing-radius corner where Clyde crashed, many of which have resulted in serious injuries.

“As I was riding along that road,” Clyde said, “I was thinking, ‘I should have stopped and rested a half-hour ago.’ Even though I was going slow, I was tired."

“I know that the Cannonball is different because of the endurance component,” he added. “But most of the time when we ride our old bikes, it helps to take a 5-minute break every 45 minutes to move around, stretch, check the bike, and talk about the route and next stop. After all, this is about camaraderie.”

Read more of Bill Wood's adventures in the Cannonball on the AMCA site by clicking HERE.

 
The Unthinkable Has Happened: UPDATE
Written by Felicia Morgan   

The truck, trailer and 4 Motorcycle Cannonball bikes that were stolen from the Murano Hotel in Tacoma, Washington on Monday night have been recovered. Still missing are several black and yellow tubs of spare parts, tools and equipment. Also missing are 2 engines: a 1928 Harley JD VIN #28JD1831 and a Harley J VIN #L19A12738. If found or if you have any information please call (936) 239-6615.

 
Pictures from the Road 3

Photos By Felicia Morgan

 
Bean're Report: Meet the Riders Pt. 15

Bean're interviews Sean Duggan and talks about his 1936 Harley Knucklehead mounted in a custom 1930's VL frame.

 
Bean're Report: Meet the Riders Pt. 16

Bean're interviews Doug Wothke from Alabama and talks about his 1929 Harley Davidson JD and the difference between his last Cannonball entry, an Indian.

 
Bean're Report: Meet the Mechanics Pt. 1

Bean're interviews Cannonball mechanic Dave Volnek. His day job is a corn and bean farmer from Nebraska. Dave helped keep his rider's bike running to complete almost everyday.

 
Pat Simmons Enjoying Some Cannonball Chow!

Photo by Reddog from Rev's Revenge Racing

 
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