“Outdoor Motorcycle Recreation in Pre-World War II California” will be the topic of historian and OCHS member Paul Clark’s presentation at the March 12, 2020 meeting of the Orange County Historical Society.
Trinity Episcopal Church
2400 N. Canal St., Orange.
The public is welcome to this free event.
(Please note that this program replaces a previously planned program on Cinderella Homes, which will likely be rescheduled at a later date.)
Horse power took on new meaning around 1900, with motorized vehicles transforming transport and life throughout California and the world. Motorcycles were part of this movement away from the horse and buggy, leaving many (literally and/or figuratively) in the dust. Southern California’s climate welcomed outdoor sports, and soon motorcycling attracted the interest of newspapers, radio, and eventually motion pictures. Local motorcycling events began to draw tens of thousands of spectators.
Not only were there massive group rides down the coast and races, but also wildly-popular “hill rides” where riders pitted their stamina and engines against gravity. The 1923 Capistrano Hill Ride, for instance, drew 50,000 spectators.
Paul Clark, as a graduate student at CSU Fullerton, co-authored a report in 1978 to the Federal government spanning the wide range of outdoor recreation in the California desert. Since then, he completed his MA in history and has published extensively on recreational history. The recent Brand Book 23 of the Los Angeles Corral of Westerners features Clark’s article focusing on outdoor motorcycle recreation in California from 1900 to 1945.