Rockville’s Park Avenue Motorcycle Club, 1912

Park Ave Motorcycle Club, 1912

First motorcycle club in Rockville, Maryland. One Harley Davidson, one Indian, and Three Excelsior motorcycles on Park Avenue, 1912. Lewis Reed, far left.

Take a step back in time with this glimpse into an almost forgotten era of Montgomery County history in the early 20th century… the motorcycle era.

Motorcycle clubs began forming in the early 1900s as manufacturers stressed the social, sporting, and healthy outdoors potential of the motorcycle. Both Lewis and Edgar Reed, along with brother-in-law Bernard Hanshew, began their riding adventures with a group of friends from the Park Avenue community in Rockville in the early 1900s.

Historically, riding motorized bikes, like horses, began as a gentleman’s sport. In the early days of motorcycling, propriety dictated that a gentleman be presentable when he went out for a spin. Full-length boots derived from horseback riding and a sporty cap with goggles were adapted to the new pursuit of motorcycle riding.

Park Ave Motorcycle Club, 1912

Edgar Reed (rider second from left) and Lewis Reed standing behind him (others unidentified). On Park Avenue, ca. 1912

Lewis and Edgar Reed

Lewis (back) & Edgar Reed

Early motorcyclists were often pictured in riding groups. From its beginnings, motorcycling developed very much as a social activity. Gentlemen of the day often used it to spice up their sunny weekends and impress ladies.

Motorcyclists on Rt 118 in Darnestown

The Reed motorcycle gang on Rt 118 in Darnestown.

Edgar Reed

Edgar Reed and an unidentified lady on an Excelsior motorcycle.

Motorcyclists on Rt 118 in Darnestown

Motorcyclists on Rt 118 in Darnestown. Edgar Reed, middle

Early 20th century motorcycle club

Left – right: Lewis Reed with camera, Edgar Reed, Bernard Hanshew. The photo was taken 1914 in Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia. The wooden frame Victorian-style train station dating from 1889 can be seen in the background.

Reed Motorcycle Club, 1912

Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia, 1914

Adventurers, enthusiasts, friends, and family… these are the pioneers of Montgomery County who made riding a social pastime, which has carried on in motorcycle travel today. Ultimately, for adventurous spirits exploring rural Maryland in the 1910s, the motorcycle meant freedom. Many of Lewis Reed’s photographs would not exist without it.

 

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About Reed Brothers

I am a co-owner of the former Reed Brothers Dodge in Rockville, Maryland. Lewis Reed, the founder of Reed Brothers Dodge was my grandfather. We were a family-owned and operated car dealership in Rockville for almost a century. I served in the United States Air Force for 30 years before retiring in the top enlisted grade of Chief Master Sergeant in July 2006. In 2016, I received the Arthur M. Wagman Award for Historic Preservation Communication from Peerless Rockville for documenting the history of Reed Brothers Dodge in both blog and book format. This distinguished honor recognizes outstanding achievement by writers, educators, and historians whose work has heightened public awareness of Rockville’s architectural and cultural heritage, growth and development.

2 responses to “Rockville’s Park Avenue Motorcycle Club, 1912”

  1. Edward F. Hyman says :

    That would be quite the one-day ride in 1914 from Rockville, Maryland to Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia. Those bikes had no suspension to speak of and, judging from the picture on 118, the roads were all dirt and gravel. The young Reed Brothers were both tough and adventurous. Thanks for sharing these great photos.

    • Reed Brothers says :

      Hello Edward, Thank you for stopping by and taking the time to leave your comment. So happy you enjoy the pictures!

      My Best Regards,
      Jeanne Gartner

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