Monday, July 7, 2014

Today in motorcycle history, July 8, 1955






  Jimmy R. Zumwalt applies for a patent for his motorcycle tow-bar.  The bike world rejoices.

  We have all broken down for one reason or another and found ourselves in need a tow. You call a friend who comes out with a truck or a van or he shows up on his bike with some rope. We've all, some more successful than others, came up with an idea how to tow the bike.  Hold on to a rope or chain (challenging), tied up the front wheel on the tailgate (really fucking dumb), some grab a welder and some round-tubing, square-tubing, angle-iron, flat-bar, etc.  "This oughta work (famous last words)."  Whatever we've tried, no matter if it completely failed or worked so well you've suddenly become 'Mr. Popular', we owe a bit of debt to Jimmy Zumwalt.

  'COMBlNED MOTORCYCLE TOW BAR COUPLING AND FRONT WHEEL LIFT'.  Jimmy R. Zumwalt, application July 8, 1955, Serial No. 520,707.  Patent granted on April 23, 1957.

 "The principal object of my invention, therefore, is to provide a universal coupling securable to a standard vehicle tow-hitch which allows vertical and lateral movement of the motorcycle being towed, relative to the towing vehicle, without the use of the front wheel assembly of the cycle.

  Still another object of my invention is to provide a tow bar assembly which, when secured to the cycle frame and the front wheel axle of a motorcycle, not only retains said front wheel above the ground but secures the front wheel assembly against any movement whatever while the cycle is being towed and provides a rigid longitudinal support thereto.

  Another object of the invention is to provide a structurally sound tow bar assembly easily adaptable for towing of practically all types of motorcycles employing the rear wheel to provide tractability thereto and assure stability to the front wheel assembly during the towing operation."

  Thanks Jimmy Z. 

  Today in motorcycle history proudly supports the National Association for Bikers with a Disability (NABD).

Today in motorcycle history, July 7, 1968




  Dark skies loom over the Belgium Grand Prix.

  The 1968 sidecar Belgium Grand Prix at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps featured a fiercly competitive race between the BMW teams of Johann Attenberger and his passenger Josef Schillinger and Georg Auerbacher and his passenger Hermann Hahn.  The teams reportedly were actually bumping each other trying to get into position for the win. On the last lap at full speed down the Masta Straight, Johann lost control and hit the corner of a house and then crashed into a nearby pine tree. Tragically, Attenberger and Schillinger were killed instantly. 

  Johann Attenberger and Josef Schillinger had won the Dutch TT at Assen just one week earlier, and were leading the World Sidecar Championship.

  Today in motorcycle history proudly supports the National Association for Bikers with a Disability (NABD).