Olde Tyme Yosemite Bicycle

Half Dome – Yosemite Musing
     On a recent exploration trip to Yosemite I came upon this machine in a storage room.

    Got any motorcycle heads out there? What is it? If you blow the photo up it looks like a chain driven motorized bicycle. It appears to have 2 cylinders. The wire wheels, forks and frame look just like a bicycle. I see no shock absorbers. I see no obvious brake system. Note the suspension spring seat. Looks like a gear shift on the upper frame on the right side. Indian was known for that feature. Is the chrome cylinder on the handlebars an oil reservoir to mix with gas in the top tube for 2-cycle operation? The “license” on the back is not like any I’ve seen at the DMV – my local office has a display of California car plates going back to Neanderthal days and none look like this. Maybe cycles did not get normal plates then. The large gauge looks like a speedometer that is attached to the rear hub with a long cable.

     Anyone have a guess as to make and year? I don’t know, but it sure looks pre-World War 2. I’d guess early 1930’s.
Unrelated thought worth quoting: “If you really want something, you can figure out how to make it happen.” – Cher

*MrHalfDome – Rick Deutsch – www.HikeHalfDome.com


5 Responses to “Olde Tyme Yosemite Bicycle”

  1. Andy Pecota Says:

    Did you make an offer?

  2. Andy Pecota Says:

    Let me know if you find any old Chevelle SS in barn… 🙂

  3. mrhalfdome Says:

    It’s owned by the NPS…. check the tires out..they look full! Fire it up and drive ‘er home. Get your motor runnin!

    Chebby?? No, MOPAR or no car.

  4. Randy Says:

    Interesting find. It’s beyond my 2-wheeled knowledge, but if you have a flickr account, there’s a ton of photo sharing groups there on all kinds of subjects. Lots of public domain enthusiasts willing to share what they know. I’m curious, but it does look early Indian-like to me.

  5. Davidfromcali Says:

    It looks like an Indian board track racing bike from around 1910. Like Speedway racers today it was discovered that racing with brakes was more dangerous than racing without them since one person hitting the brakes on a small tight track caused a pileup. The chrome pump was an oiler that the rider had to prime every so many seconds to keep oil up in the top end, otherwise the engine would seize. There should be a leaf spring on the front, the seat has it’s own springs. The rear number looks to be a racing number, not a license number.
    At the time, around 1910, an Indian could make over 90 miles per hour lap averages on a one quarter mile closed WOODEN track that was banked at both ends with the spectators looking over the top. This lead to decapitations when an accident happened and board racing was finally banned.

    Here is a Smithsonian article on motordromes.


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