Wheels Of Grace Magazine

Volume 7, Issue 2

Issue link: https://cp.revolio.com/i/515178

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Page 44 of 74

L a d y R i d e r Tribute to the Original Lady Rider featured above, in this column we will display articles and photos of our lady readers, along with legendary lady riders. Have your story and photos published. Email: Letters@GraceRiderMag.com L a d y R i d e r L a d y R i d e r L a d y R i d e r Lady Rider "e Enthusiast Girl" e "Enthusiast Girl" was featured in the November and December 1929 issues of e En- thusiast. Arthur Davidson called her "e Georgia Peach." And newspapers across the country hailed the "Enthusiast Girl." Yet today, few people know who Vivian Bales was. Harley-Davidson however, will always be grateful to her for the goodwill she spread on her cross-country motorcycle trip that would make her one of the rst great woman riders. Vivian Bales was born in January 1909. Shortly aer, the family moved from Florida to Albany, Georgia. Soon aer her high school gradu- ation in 1926, she began teaching dance, which gave her more pocket money than she had ever had. is extra money lit a spark in her. Why continue to tra- vel on her horse when she could cover more territory on a now-aordable motorcycle? For her the answer was obvious, and in 1926 she purchased a Model B single, her rst Harley-Davidson motorcycle. Bales quickly taught herself to ride, in spite of the fact that she was only 5'2" and 95 pounds, and unable to kick-start the bike on her own. Still, she soon made her rst "big trip" with her best friend Josephine Johnson to St. Petersburg, Florida, a distance of well over 300 miles. e Harley-Davidson dealer was fascinated by Bales' story and arranged for it to be featured in the St. Petersburg Times and eventually the Atlanta Journal. Inspired by her successful trip and eager for some more adventure, Bales decided to trade in her Single for a 1929 45 Twin D model, which she described as a "real honey." Empowered by her new motorcycle, she wrote to Hap Jameson, editor of e Enthusiast, telling him that she'd like to make a solo trip north on her bike. Although Harley-Davidson wouldn't ocially sponsor the ride, they decided to call her the "Enthusiast Girl," and provided her with two sweaters that proclaimed this title. Bales' famous ride took place in the summer of 1929 and was featured in many national publications, as well as the Enthusiast. In each of the towns she passed through, Bales would meet local dignitaries and Harley-Da- vidson dealers, more of who would volunteer to support her on her ride. She even met Pres- ident Hoover! In all, she traveled for 78 days and covered nearly 5000 miles. Following her famous ride, Bales con- tinued motorcycling, performing stunt riding at motorcycle races in Tallahassee, Florida. Although she never purchased another motor- cycle, Bales stated that her Harley-Davidson experience has remained one of the most signicant in her life. It was so signicant that before Vivian Bales Faison passed away on December 23, 2001, three weeks shy of her 93rd birthday, she requested a motorcycle procession at her funeral. Her request was carried out, and organized through Flint Rover Harley-Davidson of Albany. For the Georgia Peach, this was a tting nal expression of the free spirit of all Harley-Davidson Motorcycle riders. 951-223-3737 or info@WOGMag.com Bales quickly taught herself to ride, in spite of the fact that she was only 5'2"and 95 pounds and unable to kick-start the bike on her own.

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