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14-Dec-2016 22:06

Second— To give the general public a convincing demonstration of the practical transportation and pleasure possibilities of the motorcycle.

The more tours there are and the more riders there are in each tour, the more effective the demonstration will be.

In the first photo, the motorcyclists are posed in front of the New Hotel Weirs on Lakeside Avenue, which burned down on November 9, 1924. The Perfect Score award was given out to the winners of an "endurance run", which was a long-distance motorcycle course over public roads, typically 300 to 350 miles in length, that was run over two consecutive days, and that featured checkpoints (controls) about every 50 miles.

In the second of the two magazine photos, the motorcyclists are posed on the northern side of the New Hotel Weirs block, near the corner of Tower Street. Given the poor road conditions and general unreliability of motorycles at the time, this was clearly not an easy task! The men have to pass certain points at a given time, and not before that time.

The FAM, which had been organized on September 7, 1903, disbanded early in 1919, as a result of a sharp decline in membership caused by World War I.

Here's a beautiful, ornate FAM watch fob from a 1912 rally in Columbus, Ohio. An article from the March 13, 1919 issue of the Motorcycle and Bicycle Illustrated magazine detailed the objectives and rules for the Gypsy Tours.

The objectives were first, "to provide a good time for the riders, and theirs wives, sisters, and sweet-hearts"; and second, "to create a more favorable public opinion of the motorcycle and motorcycle riders." These early Gypsy Tours were quite organized, almost in military fashion, with a "Tour Master" and two aides leading a large group of riders sectioned into "companies" of 10 riders and a captain; and "pathfinders" scouting out and marking the route up ahead.

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It is interesting to note that in 1919, a good day's ride was considered to be between 75 and 100 miles; today, that same distance can be covered in a little less than two hours.

The term Gypsy was used because the riders would travel long distances, and often sleep in tents around a campfire along the way, much like the Hollywood stereotype.



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