The first person to circumnavigate the globe on a motorcycle was Carl Stearns Clancy. The New Hampshire native completed the incredible 18,000 mile (15,000 at sea) ride around the globe in 1913 long before there were gas stations, motorcycle repair shops, ATM’s, GPS’s, or even roads for that matter in many places. He set out early in 1913 on a new 1912 Henderson Four cylinder 7 horsepower single speed motorcycle. His 10 month journey took him from west to east across Europe, Africa, Asia and the United States. Clancy faced wild animals, bandits, unfriendly border officials, lack of gas and spare parts plus the unknown of travel by motorcycle where no motorcyclist had before ventured.
Doug Domokos was better known as "The Wheelie King." Domokos' uncanny ability to balance and ride a motorcycle on its rear wheel, and his natural showmanship, earned him a worldwide reputation as one of the premier motorcycle performers and stuntmen of the 1980s and ‘90s.
In 1984 Domokos made it to the Guinness Book of World Records when he completed a 145 mile-long wheelie at the Talladega Speedway, a record that he held for the next 8 years.
Hollywood saw a great opportunity in Domokos and his stunts were featured in movies such as Cannonball Run, On Any Sunday II and Megaforce. He also was featured on the popular television show 'That’s Incredible' for wheelying his bike up and down the famous Lombard Street in San Francisco.
Post War Military Bikes- Despite deploying tens of thousands of them in the two world wars, the motorcycle would never again see widespread use in the military after 1945. Advances in communication technology made the use of motorcycles to relay messages obsolete, and the types of terrains our armed forces have fought in since WWII, along with the risk involved to the individual soldier, has resulted in them having very reduced role in combat.
Motorcycles did see limited action in Vietnam, used by Army Cavalry and Marine Recon units to scout territory and lead convoys, and had a similar role in Desert Storm. Some interesting post-war examples built for military use include the military Sportser, the XLA, of which only around 400 were built, and the MT500 and MT350, rugged Rotax-engine powered Enduro bikes built by Harley-Davidson for NATO (primarily UK) forces. In addition, many units in combat have “adapted and overcome,” to borrow Marine Corps vernacular, by acquiring motorcycles from various foreign manufacturers while in theater.
Worlds Heaviest Twins- Billy and Benny McCrary were identical twins from Henderson County, North Carolina who gained international fame as mini-bike stunt riders and world record holders.
At their peak, the McCrary twins cumulatively weighed 1,598 pounds.
A Life magazine photographer took a photograph of the twins riding mini-bikes one year at the N.C. Apple Festival in Hendersonville. Someone with the Guinness Book of World Records noticed the photograph and in 1968 were recorded as the Worlds heaviest twins.
They did a Honda promotion, riding mini-bikes 3,000 miles cross country from New York to Los Angeles, where they appeared on the “Tonight Show.” Averaging around 100 miles a day. Benny said they had a deal worked out with Holiday Inn, who provided rooms during the trip. Then, he said, “We’d ride into town and give autographs at a dealership for a couple hours.”
By the time they were 22, Benny weighed 814 pounds and Billy weighed 784. Billy McCrary died in 1979 at age 32 from injuries sustained in a mini-bike stunt in Niagara Falls, Ontario. Benny McCrary, 54, died of heart failure in 2001 at Pardee Hospital in Hendersonville.
The very first woman to ride a Harley Davidson motorcycle was Janet Davidson. Janet was an aunt of Arthur, Walter and William Davidson. She helped her nephews out by using her artistic talents to hand paint the logo “Harley-Davidson” on the gas tanks, and did the pinstriping and lettering on their early motorcycles. Later, she would obtain Harley stock that made her a wealthy woman, but never being married or had children.
THEN CAME BRONSON.-James Bronson is a San Francisco Chronicle newspaper reporter whose best friend commits suicide under the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. Jim then buys his friend's Harley-Davidson Sportster motorcycle from the widow and hits the road to look for a more meaningful reason for being.
Michael Parks played the worldly Jim Bronson on the weekly series, riding across the country looking for answers and truth in the everyday world. Running for a single season in 1969-1970 the show gained a cult following over its 26 episodes and exposed a turbulent and exhausted America to a side of motorcycling that wasn’t often presented previously. The show inspired many people to get into motorcycling as a lifestyle or a hobby and showed that motorcycling wasn’t just about the rough biker gang lifestyle. TCB was written by real life newspaper man Denne Bart Petitclerc turned Hollywood screen writer about one of his reporter buddies named Birney Jarvis. Birney is the real Jim Bronson.