Reed Sister’s on Excelsior Motorcycles (1912)
Back in the early part of the last century when the motorcycle was still new and a novelty, it was often used for Kodak moments. Lewis Reed has a number of photographs showing relatives and other unknown people on their motorcycles in the period of the early 1900s through the early 1920s. In a time when you could ride a motorcycle at age fourteen and on the roads there were more motorcycles than cars, sisters Eleanora, Geneva, and Eva Reed also appeared to also enjoy the thrills of motorcycling.
While women have been enthusiastic bikers ever since motorcycles were invented, they have had to push back against deeply ingrained attitudes. Women in the first half of the 20th century were expected to dress fashionably and conservatively, and above all, remain ladylike. Sitting astride a motorcycle was considered uncouth: the same as riding a horse with a leg on each side. During this time, female pioneers like Amelia Earhart and Annie Edson Taylor pushed the envelope of expectations for women and set the stage for the Roaring Twenties flapper era.
Instead of having a motorcycle as a source of transportation, gentlemen of the days oftentimes used it to spice up their sunny weekends and impress ladies. Outfit relevance dictated a gentleman to be presentable and neat, so when going for a spin, Edgar Reed is wearing a leather jacket, full-length boots, necktie and sporty cap with goggles.
The above photo is, without question, one of the best posed photos on a motorcycle that I have come across in my grandfather’s albums. The toddler’s sporty little cap and goggles make the image. Just imagine how excited she must have been to sit on that big machine.
These are so great. Thanks!!
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