a Waco, Texas, woman named Della Crewe. On June 24, 1915, she set out to see
America by motorcycle, after rejecting both the train and steamship as being not only
too expensive but also uninteresting. With only 10 days of riding experience on her
1914 Harley-Davidson V-twin, she filled her sidecar with 125 pounds of baggage,
including her dog, appropriately named Trouble, and began her tour. Despite warnings
from friends that she would get held up by hobos or kill herself in an accident, she
wanted the freedom and mobility offered only by a motorcycle.

Her first destination was the July 3 motorcycle races in Dodge City, Kansas. With
today's modern roads it would be a one ortwo-day trip but things were different in
1915. An extremely wet winter and spring made roads across Texas and Oklahoma
badly rutted mires of mud and sand. And if that weren't enough, there was the added
danger of hidden stumps, logs and rocks in the so-called roads. All those miles of sand
beds and rugged hills took their toll on both the rider and the motorcycle.

Despite a collision with a stump which knocked her sidecar out of line, Della made it to
the paved streets of Oklahoma City without a major mishap. The 75 miles of macadam
in the city were a welcome relief to Della, but upon entering Kansas, heavy rains made
the roads such a quagmire she had to install tire chains. Finally, even chains couldn't
In the first few decades of the Twentieth
Century, the roads made motorcycle touring
a rugged sport. Before concrete interstates
and blacktop secondary roads, most roads
were dirt or gravel trails. Venturing far
outside the city required a flair for adventure,
a lot of stamina and a rugged machine. The
fact that men ventured forth under those
conditions was unquestioned, but for the
women to do the same caused a great deal of
attention, because of their presumably
passive role.

Even among these exceptional female
motorcycle pioneers, some stood out... like
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Quiz #405 - August 4, 2013
1. Who was she?  Why was she supposedly stopped by the police?
2.  Name an event she attended.
3.  Name any other woman who accomplished something similar on a
Submitted by long time Quizmaster Collier Smith
TinEye Alert
You can find this photo on,
but the quiz will be a lot more fun if you solve the puzzle on your own.
1.  Della Crewes.
She had her dog with her and there was a hoof and mouth outbreak in Indiana.
2.  3rd Motorcycle Races of Dodge City, Kansas 1915
3.  Effie and Avis Hotchkiss (Mother-Daughter Team) - 1915
Vivian Bayles - 1929
Congratulations to Our Winners!

Grace Hertz and Mary Turner - Team Fletcher Aces Another One!
Elaine C. Hebert                Elizabeth Olsen
Karen Petrus                Carol Stansell
Joyce Veness                Daniel Jolley
Debie Disser                Judy Pfaff
Dennis Brann                Cynthia Costigan
Sawan Patel                Janice M. Sellers
Arthur Hartwell                Gus Marsh
Carol Farrant                Rebecca Bare
Ike Lorentz                Sally Garrison
Marcelle Comeau                Margaret Paxton
Kelly Fetherlin                Steven Jolley
Tynan Peterson                Kitty Huddleston
Joshua Kreitzer                Daniel Jolley
Tom Collins                Jim Kiser
Tish Olshefski

Robert E. and Donald McKenna
Quiz Poets Laureate
I ride approximately
3,000-4,000 miles  
annually on my
motorcycles. I’m
restricted to a short
motorcycle season and
own a small business
which keeps to mileage
down for me.  I have
owned 37 motorcycles
so far.  I’m down to four
Comments from Our Readers
Found the answers to the quiz by a google search of "vintage harley davidson sidecar
with dog photo" -- Harley Davidson Co. filled in the rest of the details....
Karen Petrus
Annual convention of the Federation of American Motorcyclists in St. Louis.
Carol Stansell
Stopped twice in IN due to a quarantine for hoof and mouth disease.  She had to
promise Trouble would not leave the sidecar...hmmm (where did he relieve
Dennis Brann
Never owned or rode a motorcycle in my life, I have other hobbies that I enjoy, like
genealogy and climbing big mountains with my friends. At my age, just getting up in
the morning is a challenge for me.
Gus Marsh
I've been on the back of one that my brother in law drove. I have driven a mini bike
though. She had guts, that is for sure.
Debi Disser
When I was in high school, a friend of my Dad’s came to town on his motorcycle.  
Unbeknownst to me, my Dad had asked him to take me for a ride and scare the living
daylights out of me.  Now my Dad was a real nice guy but I suspect he wanted me to
want to fear and to stay away from motorcycles.  We went on the ride.  I burned my
leg on the tail pipe and I gashed my leg on the foot peg.  When my Dad’s friend
returned me home, I practically danced into the house.  I was in heaven.  I wanted to
go for another ride immediately.  Dad’s plan backfired.

I’ve only driven a motorcycle once.  I drove it about a block and decided that I made
a better passenger than a driver.  My boyfriend, whose bike it was, was probably
thinking the same thing.
Carol Farrant
My father started riding me on the back of his motorcycle when I was about 3 years
old.  I got my first motorcycle, a 75 cc, when I was about 12.  I exclusively rode a
motorcycle for 10 years, until the third idiot running the red light totaled my 920 cc
Virago.  I still have a current motorcycle license.
Janice M. Sellers
As a matter of fact, I have ridden a motorcycle once upon a time. Was really young
and helmets were not obligatory back then. Riding kinda lost its lustre for me when
helmets became the order of the day. I liked the wind blowing through my hair, mind
you, didn't love the bugs in my face.

I, like you, at this stage in the game, would choose a more southerly route and if I
was to bring a cat along with me it would have to be a big one - anything smaller than
a tom cat would not be acceptable.  I really like big cats.

And, yes, you are right again, Della deserves credit. Any woman who goes against the
grain in my book deserves credit and in 1915 she was way ahead of her time. :)

Enjoying your quizzes. Thank you.
Cynthia Costigan
I have ridden…nor driven… a motorcycle.  I thought it was fun.  That however was
about 20 years ago, I don’t know what I would think today!!!
Carol Stansell
I'm my old man's old lady, that is to say, I ride on the back of my husband's
motorcycle.  No cross-continental journeys, but short trips through the Oakland Hills
on the weekends are lovely.  No Harley Davidson either, since "chrome can't get you
home".  He has a 1979 Honda.  I really don't like speed and I'm way too chicken to
drive a motorocycle.  I agree about [taking a] cat (I have two) though only one of
them will let me dress her funny [as in motorcycle goggles].
Tynan Peterson
Della Crewe's story is a great one especially for me as I am leaving bright and early
tomorrow for another long road trip on my Yamaha V Star!  Sorry I don't have
time to log in full answer as I have to squeeze all my 125lb of gear in 2 little saddle
bags (no sidecar!).  Della and I are ladies who keep the rubber side down  ; )
Kitty Huddleston
Easter Walters on a 1920’s Harley
Davidson motorcycle with sidecar.
Easter was an actress and motorcycle
at this time.  I worked at a BSA shop in the Monterey, Calif. area  in
the 1960’s  when I was in high school.

I have always been pleasantly impressed by the adventures of  early
motorcyclists  due to mechanical abilities of the machines and road
conditions.  The women motorcyclists are at the front of the line in
my way of thinking as they did not always get the credit and  respect
they deserved in their period of time.

Della has been one of my favorites as she was an adventure
motorcyclist early on.  A few other things about Della that I can
relate to.  She was from Waco, Texas where I have relatives on my
mother’s side.  One of my  relatives is named Della. My grandfather
rode motorcycles near the Waco area in the 1920’s-30’s.  Della also
traveled to Alaska in one of her none motorcycle adventures.

I just could not pass up the quiz.

Another early group of motorcycle riders who have my upmost
respect are the board track racers.  No other motorcycle competition
group took such risks.

I attached a photo of my Triumph and Motoguzzi.

Ike Lorzentz
How Tom Solved the Puzzle
This search was a little more difficult. I first Googled "woman dog sidecar
motorcycle", and chase images. This didn't find the quiz picture right away. When I
added "postcard"; this finally got me to this link.
and I found her name.

Tom Collins
Della Crewes
Book Review – Grace and Grit
Blog of the American Studies Journal
Motorcycle Dispatches from Early
Twentieth Century Women Adventurers.
By William M. Murphy. Traverse City,
Michigan: Arbutus Press, 2012.

This book rewards faith in impressive
accomplishments from seemingly unlikely
sources. It is after all a short book by a
regional press but has national
implications in a growing field.

Murphy gives almost a third of his book
to an introductory context for the women
motorcyclists’ part in rapidly changing
America’s pace and prospects between
1890 and its entry into World War One. Murphy’s literary capacity in
these pages would work to especially good effect in introductory
courses on America’s car culture. In chapter three, for example, he
does not merely describe the inadequacies of America’s roads for
long-distance automotive travel before the accumulation of
successive legislative acts in a federal highway system by the mid-
1920s but explains the political culture that resisted a system and the
absence of pubic knowledge beyond a few miles from any particular
point on the existing dirt roads to create a paved highway from them
for distant automobilists passing through.

His brief history of the gasoline station to understand the challenges
overcome in enabling a rationalized system to serve travelers typifies
his incorporation of the mundane to make the big development
understandable. Murphy’s chapter stands in marked contrast with the
conventional litany of the politicians and administrators formulating
the legislative framework of the federal highway system. A rare
outline of Americans’ gradual adoption of the motorcycle–the number
declined between the late 1910s and the 1940s–and the social mores
that but few women dared put aside to drive motorcycles give the
fourth and fifth chapters before launching into the adventures of the
women motorcyclists chronicled at length.

Della Crewe, a young world traveler even before her acquaintance
with a motorcycle, started in Waco, Texas in June 1914, partnered
with Rachel Foster in Wisconsin through Pennsylvania, went to New
York City and the Caribbean, and returned after a year. She would
have gone around the globe except for the world war. All of this
Murphy traced not through the ease of reference to a journal but
diligently compiled from one oil company’s and numerous newspaper

In 1915, Effie Hotchkiss (an Upstate New Yorker by birth) and her
mother motorcycled back and forth across the United States, an
adventure for which Murphy was able to rely on Effie’s journal and a
newspaper article she wrote. Seven photographs from the family
album highlight the account. The Van Buren’s family album provide
the documentation. Information Murphy acquired for the last four
women’s later lives enabled him to summarize them as models of
intellect and perseverance.

In-text notes, maps, numerous photographs (Murphy made in his
own journey after his subjects), a list of references, and a timeline of
“Noteworthy Events: 1885-1925” complement the book. The
Turnerian grounding of Murphy’s epilogue that the female
motorcyclists at the center of his book reaffirmed that frontiers made
for America’s strength, albeit in this case reformulating definitions of
gender as well as overcoming a tough landscape: these may stir  
doubt. That too, nonetheless, can broaden learning as an outcome of
engaging lively discussions, making this book a rewarding read.
Unquestionably it adds motorcycling that is largely absent in the
growing scholarship about automobility and obviously woman
provide enough traction and with Trouble in
the sidecar, Della struck out through four
miles of Kansas wheatfields before finding a
usable road. She made it to Dodge City in
time for the race, one of the premier
motorcycle events of the time.

Deciding to head to New York and see the
country along the way, the pair headed north
through the beautiful scenery of Missouri.
With good weather and fine roads, they made
good time as they raced up one hill and down
another. After a 15-cent ferry ride across the
Mississippi River, they were into Illinois and
more hills. The trip to Chicago and then to
the Harley-Davidson factory in Milwaukee
was comparatively quick and uneventful.

After leaving Milwaukee, they headed south
through Chicago and into Indiana where authorities stopped her twice because of the
dog. There was a quarantine in Indiana because of hoof and mouth disease and Della
had to promise that her dog wouldn't leave the sidecar before they could proceed.
Nevertheless, upon arriving in Goshen, Indiana, they were invited to participate in a
local parade giving them the opportunity to see the city.

Having spent the summer and fall months heading north and then east, the travelers ran
into cold November weather in Ohio, an indication of what was ahead for the rest of
the trip.  Bitter cold forced a three-day layover in Toledo and the ride around the
southern edge of Lake Erie turned into a snowy one as they approached Cleveland.  
traveling northeast up the coast towards Painesville, Ohio, the drifting snow sent the
motorcycle into ditches several times.  Eventually they were forced to seek shelter at a
farm house.  the farmer refused her request at first, with the excuse that she didn't
belong on the road in that kind of severe weather.  Fortunately, the farmer's wife was
the boss of the house and Della soon found herself drying her clothes before a warm

On Thanksgiving Day, Della and her canine partner were back on the road again.  
Thawing snow made the roads so bad that it took them two hours to travel 2 1/2 miles
to the nearest town. Several times she needed the help of the local farm boys to free the
motorcycle and get it rolling again.  When a number of solo motorcyclists were forced
THEY'VE heard it before from mothers,
friends, brothers and opinionated others:
''Proper ladies don't ride on the backs of

''But no one ever said anything about
riding on the front,'' said Courtney
Caldwell, an accountant, the mother of
two teen-agers and the proud owner of a
550-pound, 700-cc street cruiser.

''That's right,'' said Jeanne Mare Werle,
a 30-year-old freelance writer who has
traveled more than 100,000 miles on
Avis and Effie Hotchkiss,
mother and daughter
from Brooklyn, New
York, were pioneering
motorcyclists. In 1915,
they completed a
9,000-mile (14,000 km)
round trip ride from New
York to San Francisco
and back on a
motorcycle-sidecar combination. In so doing they
became the first transcontinental female
to lay over and wait for
better conditions, Della was
thankful that the stability of
the sidecard allowed her to

Crossing the corner of
Pennsylvania, the pair
entered New York State.
Approaching Buffalo, they
had to struggle through nine
miles of sticky clay which
clung to everything and
clogged the wheels.

Physically spent, Della had to
hire a farmer and his horse
to pull them the last mile.
Thankfully, the ride across
the state was easy. However,
bitter cold and heavy snow returned to haunt them and they left Albany making the trip
to their long-sought destination of New York City a rugged two-day journey.

From Waco to Milwaukee to New York City with numerous side trips, Della and
Trouble logged 5,378 miles and their motorcycle performed flawlessly. As Della stated
after completing the journey, "I had a glorious trip. I am in perfect health and
my desire is stronger than ever to keep going."

A few days later Della Crewe, Trouble and their 1914 Harley-Davidson twin with
sidecar sailed for Jacksonville, Florida, with plans to tour the South, Cuba and South
Do Real Women Ride Motorcycles? 440,000 Say Yes
New York Times
By Lena Williams  
Published: May 11, 1988
eight motorcycles. ''Who wants to spend the rest of her life riding behind some guy on
a bike? I can drive my own very well, thank you.''

A few years ago, women like Mrs. Caldwell and Ms. Werle who longed to ride
motorcycles had to overcome any number of obstacles. The least of their stumbling
blocks was the stereotype of the ''biker chick,'' a rhinestone-studded, leather-clad
desperado. Equally challenging were those thunderous big bikes, objects of awe and
intimidation to women who feared they couldn't handle all that metal.

Add to this the danger associated with motorcycling: on a per-mile basis, cyclists are 20
times as likely to be killed as automobile drivers or passengers, according to the
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Women constituted only 1 percent of motorcycle owners in 1960. But not anymore.
Data indicate that over the last decade, and particularly in the last two years, there has
been a significant increase in the number of women riding motorcycles. According to
industry executives, manufacturers and enthusiasts, roughly 1 of every 12 motorcycle
owners is a woman; that's about 440,000, or 8.3 percent, of the nation's 5.3 million
motorcycle owners.

The Motorcycle Safety Foundation in Costa Mesa, Calif., which offers training courses
at more than 700 sites nationwide, reports that 36 percent of its students are women,
and several states, including Maryland and Illinois, now offer women-only courses in
motorcycle safety. The classes teach the basic skills of straight-line riding, turning,
shifting gears and stopping, as well as safety strategies: how to ride so that other
drivers can see the cyclist and how to avoid being run off the road. About 35 percent
of the women enrolled in these courses purchase motorcycles upon graduation,
according to instructors.
Effie and Avis at the Pacific Ocean, 1915

As cycling gains in popularity among women,
organizations and clubs have formed to educate
owners and to promote safe driving habits. There are
Women on Wheels, which has chapters in several
cities; Retreads, a group for cyclists over 40 years
old, and the American Women Road Riders' Alliance.

Motorcycle-industry analysts believe that one reason
for the trend is that manufacturers, in particular the
Japanese, have developed models that appeal to
women. The cycles are lighter, easier to handle and
more comfortable, with lower seats, smaller frames,
sculptured lines and fashionable colors. Women's
cycles also tend to be less expensive than men's,
ranging from $1,000 to $4,000, as against $6,000 to
$10,000 for the heavier standard models.
Available at
''Women are realizing it isn't necessary to be tough, strong or male to ride and that
motorcycles can be a safe and fun form of transportation and recreation,'' said Steve
Bransky, an instructor at the Motorcycle Safety Foundation training center in Los
Angeles. ''I teach women from all walks of life: doctors, lawyers, secretaries and
housewives, with ages ranging from the early 20's to well over 40.''

Recent sales figures show that women are buying nearly a third of several new models.
Based on 1987 model-year data, 21 percent of those who bought Kawasaki's 250 Baby
Ninja were women. Honda says that of those who bought its 250 Rebel, more than 30
percent are women. Suzuki reports that 29 percent of the buyers of its GN 250 model
are women. And Yamaha has just produced the Route 66 250, a bike designed
especially for first-time buyers.

''We've noticed a resurgence - no, it's more of an insurgence - of women into the
sport,'' said Jon Row, the sales administration manager for the motorcycle division of
the American Honda Motor Company. ''Women have always ridden, but in small
numbers. For years, the assumption was that women didn't want to ride, because it
was a male-type thing to do. But the real reasons had more to do with economics and

At the same time, motorcycle manufacturers have been careful not to patronize. ''We
don't build motorcycles that are pink, the kind of bike that says, 'Here, honey, this is for
you,' '' said Mr. Row.

Even the Harley-Davidson motorcycle, the beloved big bruiser long identified with a
macho image, has increased its sales among women.

''Traditionally, women have only accounted for about
1 percent of our purchasers,'' said Buzz Buzzelli, the
public-relations manager for Harley-Davidson Inc. ''In
1985, we introduced a new-model sportster, which is
the smallest and least expensive cycle we build, and
we found that over 8 percent of the new purchasers
were women.''

Industry executives say that women's involvement
will help soften motorcycling's rebel-rousing, Hell's
Angels image and attract new riders. Four competing
manufacturers -Honda, Kawasaki, Yamaha and Suzuki
- have even joined forces to underwrite a
transcontinental ride commemorating the 1917
coast-to-coast motorcycle trek, the first for a woman,
by Adeline and Augusta Van Buren, sisters who were
descendants of President Martin Van Buren. Their
modern-day counterparts - Mrs. Caldwell, Ms. Werle,
Dr. Carol Auster Gussman and Patty Mills - left New
York City on May 2 on the first leg of their 4,000-mile
journey, which will take them through 21 cities in 18
states, ending in Los Angeles on June 2.

''By having women ride across the country, we do
more than just say riding is fun,'' said Misao Yurikusa,
the president of the Kawasaki Motors Corporation
U.S.A. ''The ride shows that everybody can enjoy
motorcycling, regardless of physical stature or sex.''

For many women, the lure of motorcycling is mobility
and freedom. ''Women are realizing that it isn't
necessary to sacrifice femininity or professionalism to
ride a motorcycle,'' said Mrs. Caldwell, the
5-foot-1-inch leader of the pack. ''Riding my own
motorcycle gives me an exhilarating feeling of
freedom and independence.''

Like many other motorcycle enthusiasts, these
women seldom dwell on the risks.

''I've had just as many scary incidents in my car,''
said Dr. Gussman, a sociology professor at Franklin
and Marshall College who is on sabbatical. Indeed,
she said her motorcycling skills have helped improve
her driving skills. ''You become more aware of your
surroundings and other motorists,'' she explained.
''And you really come to respect other cyclists.
There's a camaraderie among cyclists that you don't
find with automobile drivers.''
Clara Marian Wagner (1891 -
1961) was the first
documented woman
motorcyclist who became
notable as an endurance racer
and was sponsored by the
Eclipse Machine Co., a bicycle
company, for using its braking

In 1907, Clara, aged 15 years
old and the daughter of the
Wagner Motorcycle Company
(1901-1914 ) owner George
Wagner from Saint Paul,
Minnesota, became a member
of the American Federation of
Motorcyclists (FAM).

Clara put the company's
motorcycles on the map by
achieving a perfect score in a
FAM 360 mile endurance race
from Chicago to Indianapolis
in 1910, aged 18, but was
denied the trophy because she
was female.[6] She won
several such events.

At the time, Wagner was
celebrated on a series of
postcards as "The most
successful and experienced
lady motorcyclist" and rode the
first motorcycle designed
specifically for women.
Elspeth Beard and her ’
74 BMW R 60/6 that she
rode around the world
over the course of three
years. “I worked for
months in a pub saving
the money to buy my
BMW 600. That gave
me the bug for travel on
a bike. It’s the best way
to get around - cheap,
efficient and I enjoy the freedom.”  –Elspeth Beard (photo of Elspeth
shortly after returning home by Peter Orme) (via) She also made her
BMW’s lockable top-box and panniers out of riveted aluminum sheets
while living and working in Sydney during her around-the-world trek.
It was a necessary stop when the funds she’d scraped together as
working student ran out– she’d end up spending a total of seven
months apprenticing with a firm in Sydney.

Read more and more