Assembling the stories of early American motorcycle culture typically requires a good bit of unraveling, connecting scattered dots, and examining the smallest details of photographs. Luckily, in a time before TV and radio, the printed word conveyed the stories of the day in an endlessly entertaining fashion. Today’s post is in tribute to those verbose scribes from dawn of our culture, without whom we would know little of our beginnings and historians would be tremendously uninspired.

It is taken from a small article in the November 1910 issue of Bicycling World & Motorcycle Review that offered an account of Jake DeRosier's record breaking runs at the Playa del Rey Motordrome.

“Undaunted by the refusal of the competition committee, for technical reasons, to place the seal of approval on the recent crop of records which he harvested, Jake DeRosier and his band of warriors went after Father Time’s scalp again at the Playa del Rey Motordrome, Los Angeles, Cal., on Saturday, 29th ult.,and got several strips of it. 

DeRosier, who of course rode an Indian, a "7,” went after the 100 miles record and captured it in the greatest exhibition of space annihilating which that peerless speed artist ever has given. He pounded out the century in the phenomenal time of 1:15:24 2/5, which is nearly 11 minutes better than his old mark made on the same track last May. 

Still more wonderful was the new hour record which DeRosier set up, when he traveled the astonishing distance of nearly 80 miles, to be exact, 79 7/8 miles, in 60 minutes, almost 1 1/3 miles a minute. This record also totally eclipses Jake’s old hour figure of 74 miles 667 yards, which he hung up last May. 

Nor were the lusty speed merchants content to let Father Time get away with this punishment, for they took some more tuft at the mile distance. DeRosier also took the honors in this class, with a dash around the wooden bowl in 0:41 1/5. Ray Seymour was a close second with 0:41 2/5, and Charles Balke, was clocked in 0:41 3/5. The old record was 0:43 1/5, made by DeRosier. 

The trails were duly sanctioned, and it said unofficially that the machines on being measured were found to be under the .61 cubic inches limit. Upon receipt of the official credentials from the officials, the chairman of the competition committee will determine whether or not the records will stand.”

And I thought that I used a lot of commas.

The photograph was found randomly placed in a later issue of the magazine, but shows racers and officials breaking down DeRosier’s machine for inspection after that record run at Playa. To the far right in the checkered cap is fellow racer Morty Graves, and seated in the center, black long sleeve and cap is Charlie Balke.