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Text mostly © 2002, American Motorcyclist Association ca.
1959, Harlem, Manhattan, New York, New York, USA — Harlem Motorcycle Gang — Image by © Norman Parkinson Limited/Corbis " data-medium-file="https://theselvedgeyard.files.wordpress.com/2009/05/npk001260.jpg?
The 1949, 19 Harley Davidson bikes were purchased at an auction for 0. fork clamps are used, with extended handlebar clamps (‘dog bones’); the handlebars have a rise of 13″ – not yet in ‘ape hanger’ territory.
Ben Hardy took the standard H-D frames and used Buchanan’s frame shop to alter the steering head angle to 45 degrees. Each bike had a backup to make sure that shooting could continue in case one of the old machines failed or got wrecked accidentally.
The Dragons became ten strong, including members like Mac Arthur, Hooker, Tobie’s brothers Joe Louis and Jonas, Baby Joe, Sam and Cousin Rabbit.
Tobie Gene became the East Bay Dragons MCs first and only president, still reigning and riding after forty-four years.
Bessie has been mentioned in books, magazines, newspapers and television documentaries.
w=700" alt="" srcset="https://theselvedgeyard.files.wordpress.com/2009/05/npk001260465w, https://theselvedgeyard.files.wordpress.com/2009/05/npk001260.jpg? w=145 145w, https://theselvedgeyard.files.wordpress.com/2009/05/npk001260.jpg? w=291 291w" sizes="(max-width: 465px) 100vw, 465px" /Robert Franks’s “Indianapolis”– A very cool & good-looking couple riding with style, and clearly ahead of their time.The two knew and respected each other, and had ridden their Harleys together in the same East Bay neighborhood., a loosely knit, all-black men’s club, one of the first of its kind.The dragon’s earliest incarnation began as an all-black car club and originally stemmed from Tobie Gene’s big brother role to keep his younger brothers and friends occupied and out of trouble.Reporters nicknamed her the “Negro Motorcycle Queen” and later the “Motorcycle Queen of Miami.” Late in life, Bessie suffered from symptoms caused by an enlarged heart.“Years ago the doctor wanted to stop me from riding,” she recalled. And so I never did quit.” Before she died in 1993, at the age of 82, Bessie said, “They tell me my heart is three times the size it’s supposed to be.” An apt metaphor for this unconventional woman whose heart and spirited determination have touched so many lives.
Disguised as a man, Bessie won a flat track race but was denied the prize money after she took off her helmet.