Winter Is Coming... the cold is just around the corner so it is time to start preparing your power-sleds folks. The variety of utilitarian adaptations and applications for which the motorcycle was used as a foundation spans a spectrum from coffee grinders to snow mobiles. In October of 1916, 100 years ago this week Motorcycle Illustrated published a four page spread which included instructions and schematics on how readers could use their own machines, some basic building materials, and a bit of elbow grease to produce their own Motor-Snowsters. That article could very well have been the inspiration for the machine in this photo taken in the dead of winter, 1916, or maybe it was just all of that snow. Built by the driver Mr. Harlan Ramey, a local mechanic from Ames, Iowa, the modified 1913 Harley-Davidson twin was no doubt acquired from his friend and boss Bill Thul who owned and operated Ames Motorcycle Company. Thul, who most likely assisted Ramey in constructing the sled is seen riding on the passenger seat, and the lovely Ms. Niva Nichols, a relative of Thul’s has the coziest seat just behind the chain-laden rear tire. The story goes that after the photo was taken the trio then set off to a local creek which had frozen over to run the machine out at whatever speed they could handle. Good luck with your sleds folks, I look forward to seeing them ripping it up this winter, Im lookin at you @thefrozenfew.
If you want to learn a bit more about Ramey and his wonderful contraption check out the Ames Historical Society page who have put together a great bit of history around the photo.