1895-1946: The Prehistoric Biker
History is what the winners say happened. In this case, the winner was Harley-Davidson. The Milwaukee Marvel alone survived the Hundred Years' War, a century of innovation and most often extinction. Scattered across the scrapyard battlefields of the first few decades of the twentieth century, you could count the rusting steel bones of around three hundred different American motorcycle manufacturers. Well, let's call them motorcycle builders, since some built only a handful, literally. So where have they all gone? We gave these machines names -- colorful, even memorable names like Apache, Argyle, Black...
IntroductionWELCOME TO THE BROTHERHOODThe concept of the motorcycle outlaw was as uniquely American as jazz. Nothing like them had ever existed. In some ways, they appeared to be a kind of half-breed anachronism, a human hangover from the era of the Wild West.
-- Hunter S. Thompson, gonzo journalist
We were depicted as Vikings on acid, raping our way across sunny California on motorcycles forged in the furnaces of Hell.
-- Sonny Barger, former leader of the Hells Angels
Which came first, the bike or the biker? Or, for that matter, the biker lifestyle or Easyriders