One of motorcycling culture's first ambassadors, here is New Orleans native, pioneer motorcycle racer, and F.A.M. official Arthur Mitchell posing in downtown Birmingham, AL. ca 1912. Mitchell began racing bicycles as a teenager in the late 1800's, and like many of his generation he found himself perfectly positioned to transition into Southern California's motorcycle racing scene as the sport was first taking shape. Mitchell entered his first races in the New Orleans area in 1905, and by 1908 he turned pro. Despite having started out his career on an Indian, Mitchell inked a deal with the German manufacturer NSU in October of 1908 and instantly became the rival for Indian's growing stable. Paul Derkum, Morty Graves, Robert Stubbs, and Jake DeRosier all found Mitchell and his NSU a difficult pair to overcome. Though Mitchell enjoyed a fruitful career with NSU, he raced several different mounts throughout his career including Thor, MM, and Flying Merkel, he even took one of Harley's early development 11K racers out in 1914.

As the sport developed events once held on fairground horse tracks began taking place on the perilous board track motordromes, Mitchell kept his pace and continued to be a fierce competitor. According to an article from the Los Angeles Herald in 1909 Mitchell had the "all of the appearance of a bulldog and the grit of a man who knows no fear." Mitchell's career took him to every corner of the country and as a result of his travels Mitchell was able to interact with many local clubs. Many of these local organizations, especially those located in the southeastern US credit Mitchell as the man who helped their formation. By 1912 he had involved himself with all aspects of the racing game including working as a sanctioned referee for the FAM. Apart from his career as a racer, referee, and FAM representative, Mitchell also held a job as the sales manager for the Texas motorcycle Company in Dallas, TX. in 1911. By the teens Mitchell was heavily involved in the culture of motorcycling in America, and though he was in his 30's the bulldog continued to race.

This photo, taken by Birmingham's moto-enthusiast photographer O.V. Hunt shows Mitchell in downtown Birmingham, AL ca. 1912. Between 1910 and 1913 Mitchell competed in several races in the Magic City onboard Flying Merkels including this iconic twin.