A century of hogs - LOC does Harley Davidson
April 19, 2003 4:10 PM   Subscribe

Hog Heaven - the Library of Congress celebrates 100 years of the Harley-Davidson in an excellent online exhibit of photos, articles, ads and links. Also, visit HD's anniversary site to learn about upcoming events and celebrations. (via Portage)
posted by madamjujujive (20 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Around here (Seattle), the only people who drive Harleys are Microsoft employees.
posted by mildred-pitt at 5:17 PM on April 19, 2003

Americans really know how to celebrate. Harleys are beautiful bikes and it's amazing the symbology they've acummulated. They're also, imho, not very good - don't go; don't brake; don't corner. I've only owned one and I still remember it fondly, forgetting how often it broke down and how sluggish it was. Only when I finally got my hands on a BMW K1 did I realize what a proper motorbike was like. No trolling intended - just an opinion!

Thanks, versatile Juju - I've started keeping your links in a separate folder as they're beginning to make sense all together. When I find out what the underlying theme is - a leitmotif really - I'll let you know!
posted by MiguelCardoso at 6:19 PM on April 19, 2003

Owning a Harley is a way of life MiguelCardoso.....
Its so much more than a brand name.
posted by SweetIceT at 10:16 PM on April 19, 2003

I went to a Poker Run (proceeds to Shriners Club) last weekend. In a few weeks will be going to Bike Week Spring Rally in Myrtle Beach (again in the Fall) and then to Sturgis later on...plus numerous other activities in between. This is what makes owning a Harley great!
posted by SweetIceT at 10:20 PM on April 19, 2003

By the way....No Harley owner would ever call it "a proper motorbike" ;-)
posted by SweetIceT at 10:22 PM on April 19, 2003

i am so looking forward to this. The 95th anniversary was crazy fun and this one promises to be even better.

The only real complaint i've heard is that the tens of thousands of bikes that showed up last time more or less brought traffic in the city to a halt for about a week. But man, it was something to see; chrome for as far as the eye could see. Literally.

Though i'm also fairly sure that the lakefront residents, at least temporarily, disagreed with the old tenant "loud pipes save lives" and were probably thinking something more along the lines of "loud pipes irritate the hell out of me."

But i'm just speculating here. Any other MeFiers planning on attending?

(on preview: spellcheck wants to turn 'MeFiers' into 'Defilers'. Heh.)
posted by quin at 11:18 PM on April 19, 2003

I just want to know why the hell they* feel it necessary to drive, beyond loud, down my small residential street at 2x the speed limit. the basic results are thoughts such as these: "do I think you're cool? no! I think you're an asshat!"

crossing from freedom of speech into public nuisance or invasion of privacy or reckless endangerment is ++uncool.

*obviously there must be many different types of owners, but the most obvious ones are also the most annoying ones.
posted by dorian at 12:05 AM on April 20, 2003

It sounds like Miguel has not ridden a Harley in some time; I have a '93 FLSTF with 40K miles and a 2001 FLTRSEI with 12K miles, and neither one has given me any trouble on the road. Of course, no one will mistake them for sport bikes, but they work for me. SweetIceT, have fun in Myrtle beach; I will be there too.
posted by TedW at 9:32 AM on April 20, 2003

Cool TedW maybe we should form a Mefi meet up in Myrtle Beach! LOL Geeks on Hogs!
posted by SweetIceT at 9:39 AM on April 20, 2003

It sounds like Miguel has not ridden a Harley in some time

*deep blush*

Is 1973 too long ago? :)
posted by MiguelCardoso at 10:02 AM on April 20, 2003

Is 1973 too long ago?

You mean back when AMF was making motorcyles (along with bowling balls) and Sportsters shifted on the right?
posted by TedW at 10:31 AM on April 20, 2003

LOL TedW I was thinking the same thing....glad you figured out a subtle way to put that.....
posted by SweetIceT at 11:35 AM on April 20, 2003

Any other MeFiers planning on attending?

I live in Milwaukee, so I don't really have a choice in the matter. The bikers, God love them, take over the city. Aside from the traffic, I am looking forward to it.

Great post madamjujujive, I hadn't seen the LOC site about HD before. Thanks.
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 12:01 PM on April 20, 2003

You mean back when AMF was making motorcyles (along with bowling balls) and Sportsters shifted on the right?

Ha ha, TedW - I deserved that. :)

The truth is I am inflitrated BMW agent. Apart from my teenage years, I've always had Beamers. Though I had to give up, after thirty years fun, after a rather nasty crash. Lisbon's main dealer had the remains of my K1 on show, as an example of unsafe driving, for months. I took the hint...
posted by MiguelCardoso at 8:25 PM on April 20, 2003

Ah, Miguel, I will not address your sacrilege since TedW and SweetIceT seem to have done a better job than I ever could. I am not myself a HOG-ette, but merely a friend to other HOG members (which incidentally stands for Harley Owners Group). The brand loyalty the product inspires is simply awesome, it borders on religious fervor.

I am intrigued with the cultural icon the bike has become, the corporate story (there are many business lessons that can be learned here), the incredible branding and the gorgeous design. Not to mention the incredibly disparate group of owners and the fascinating sub-cultures that have been spawned. This anniversary site is a great piece of pop cultural history.
posted by madamjujujive at 9:30 PM on April 20, 2003

Don't fret, Miguel, there is nothing wrong with BMW's; after all, that is what Robert Pirsig rode (rides?). I would probably own one (the R1200 with the telelever front suspension is great) but there is not a local dealer and I ride enough that it would be a nuisance to go an hour and a half away for parts, etc.
posted by TedW at 7:45 AM on April 21, 2003

I spent a lot of time at that HD anniversary site last summer, madam j., while preparing an article about the Open Road Tour for the Fall 2002 issue of a very nice motorcycle history magazine with the somewhat clunky name Motorcycles In Retrospect. (Not yet anywhere on the web; only four issues have appeared so far.)

The whole tour is indeed a spectacle, but I was most surprised at the quality of the music talent involved: from Bob Dylan and Los Lobos and The Neville Brothers and Earl Scruggs (for us old people) to Tim McGraw and Stone Temple Pilots and Kid Rock and Nickelback (for the young folks).

You'd think that motorcycle people (especially the ones who bug Dorian) wouldn't have any eardrums left, with which to hear, but those should have been good shows.

Actually, the motorcycle concert I'd most like to witness comes this August, when Alice Cooper appears on Thursday night during the Sturgis Rally in South Dakota. Two days after Steppenwolf, Iron Butterfly, and Rare Earth, and two days before (if they actually show up) The Yardbirds.
posted by LeLiLo at 11:23 PM on April 21, 2003

Harleys are . . . also, imho, not very good - don't go; don't brake; don't corner.

As I understand it, this used to be sold as a feature, not a bug. You knew if you went for a ride on a Harley, most likely it would break down and some other Harley people would stop to try and help you out. So you'd make a lot of new friends.
posted by LeLiLo at 11:27 PM on April 21, 2003

lelilo, you will have to keep us posted about when that article is accessible via the web....I'd like to read it.

The Yardbirds!!?!
The Neville Brothers are one of my favorite bands, but they must be getting up there in age!
posted by madamjujujive at 4:01 AM on April 22, 2003

they must be getting up there in age!

Aren't we all -- it's been almost 25 years since I saw them the first time (of four). It looks like Art Neville is 65, Charles 63, Aaron 62, and Cyril is the baby at 55.

But remember, just because you age doesn't mean that you still can't rock. Elvis himself just turned 68.
posted by LeLiLo at 11:05 AM on April 22, 2003

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