Hustle Bikers 1947

Motorcycle rallies have been going on for probably as long as there have been motorcycles. This article from 1947 seems to typify a tradition that has since grown ever more popular.

Even back then women were very active and there were quite a few profiled in this story. One woman from Racine shown in the picture was Phyllis Nelson who can be seen with her jacket emblazoned with the Motor Maids of America logo, a group which was founded a dozen or so years earlier.

Milwaukee Journal, July 6, 1947

Hustle Bikers


An unusual “bird” is the motorcyclist. The common species of handlebar jockey travels in packs, dresses alike and is an extrovert. His is a cult that thrives on speed and noise and doesn’t give a hang who knows they’re having a wonderful time.

These gregarious folks of the high speed bikes like nothing better than an outing. Every Sunday and holiday they are on the road, heading for fun in “follow the leader” order. Usually the trip ends in a field or at a hill where impromptu races and climbs are staged. Occasionally there is a bigger event, such as the gypsy tour and rally held recently at Sturgeon Bay, Wis. These pictures were made there. The outing lasted two days and hundreds of cyclists roared in for the fun. The program opened with contests, switched to a dance at night time, a Door county tour the next morning and a windup race meeting.

Now being a hustle biker calls for more than the ability to handle the machine.You have to know the language and the hangouts and enjoy both. Besides, you must acquire a wardrobe. Look to the left and see Phyllis (Butch) Nelson of Racine, who rides her own motorcycle. She displays the riding outfits she brought to the rally. they pack into the two small cases before her which are strapped to the carrier of her cycle. Her rain suit, cosmetics and other accessories are carried in the saddle bag all cyclists have on their machines. One reason for the many changes is indicated by the muddy outfit Butch holds. the dirt was acquired on the ride from Racine to Sturgeon Bay.




Pictured here is John E. Harley, the son of the one of the founders of Harley-Davidson, William Harley.