Avis and Effie Hotchkiss Harley Sidecar

Avis and Effie Hotchkiss Harley Sidecar

Usually my good lady and I head out for a day’s bike riding followed by a posh dinner and a glass or two for Valentines Day. Obviously this year no bike riding which is a shame because being on her bike is one of the places she’s happiest.

Personally I think she’s a pretty good rider now she’s got over the odd habit she had of falling off.

But she’s a very determined lady and it got me thinking about women bikers from history who had to be quite determined to put up with the biggest problem – not the bikes – but that of bigoted blokes who thought they knew best!

So for Motorcycle Fact Monday I’m pointing out that women have been having fun and leading the way since motorbiking was invented! Just like Effie Hotchkiss who was a Wall Street banking clerk who wanted to see America on her way from Brooklyn to the Panama-Pacific International Exposition. In 1915 she used the money left to her after her father’s death to buy a Harley for the trip.

The bit that tickles me is that according to the Harley-Davidson archives (see their picture) her mother insisted she couldn’t go alone and said she’d have to come along too. So Effie rigged the V-Twin with a sidecar for her mother, Avis.

It took them two months to cover the 5,000 mile journey along with the requisite problems of bad weather, blown tires and downright dangerous roads. After getting to their destination the ever practical pair had a paddle in the Pacific then turned around and headed home taking a 4,000 mile route this time.

I do recall the wife did a five day trip before we met. It was the first time she’d ever ridden out of the country by herself and was completely unplanned. She hopped on a ferry to Calais and had a great time exploring Reims and around Charleville-Mezieres and Metz, on her then Fazer600 using only the back roads. And in my youth I did a three month solo trip taking in France, Belgium, Germany, Austria, Czech Republic and a few more.

There’s no doubt biking in company is good fun but let’s hear where you’ve ventured on a solo trip – the ideas may come in handy!

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Posted by Andrew Prendergast. Last modified: February 19, 2021 at 10:17 am

Andrew has been riding motorcycles since he was 10 years old and currently rides a ZZR1400 as his daily commuter whether it is sunny or snowing. In addition, he is currently restoring an old Honda CB750 K1. Andrew practices across all areas of motorcycle law, with his practice involving both civil claims and motoring defence work.
Disclaimer: The legal advice and statements contained within this/these articles is correct at the time of printing. If you are seeking legal advice after a motorbike accident please contact us to speak directly with one of our lawyers.
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