Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Today in motorcycle history, January 27, 1932


  On January 27, 1932, two Hungarian motorcyclists find their way into the pages of The New York Times - "TWO ON MOTORCYCLE HERE ON WORLD TOUR: Students Started From Budapest in 1928 -- Have Visited 43 Lands and Gone 65,000 Miles".

  Hungarian motorcyclist, Zoltán Sulkowsky and Gyula Bartha,  traveled nearly 90,000 miles (140,000 km) from 1928 to 1936 on a 60" Harley-Davidson JS with a right-hand sidecar, F-Head Engine and a three-speed transmission. Their travels are recounted in a book originally published in Hungarian in 1937, and finally reissued in an English translation in 2008.

  Their journey started in Hungary in August, 1928, and ended in the United States.  From Hungary they rode to these countries/regions: France, Germany, Spain, Czechoslovokia, Portugal, Italy, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Palestine, Syria, Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania, Yugoslavia, the Sudan, India, the Arabian peninsula, the Malay Peninsula, Japan, China, Hawaii, and Australia. After arriving in America at San Francisco, they spent two years touring North America then another two years in South America, visiting Mexico, Cuba, Panama, Ecuador, Peru, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil.

  From the book's press release -

  "In the years between the world wars, the two Hungarian boys set out to see the world and chose a sidecar equipped Harley-Davidson to carry them. The trip lasted almost eight years and took them through 68 countries on all six inhabited continents. This book, a narrative derived from Zoltán’s memoir, is an insight into the world as it was during those formative years when, for the first time, such a journey became possible for those of modest means. Along the way, the two companions met a number of world leaders including Mussolini, General Chiang Kai-shek, and President Herbert Hoover. This version, recently translated into English, features some of Zoltán’s original photography along with maps that follow their progress around the globe. In a way, Zoltán and Gyula were the forerunners of the modern adventure motorcycling movement, going places, experiencing life, and learning about the world they lived in, all from the seat of a motorcycle."

  Around the World on a Motorcycle 1928-1936
By Zoltán Sulkowsky. Whitehorse Press, 400 pages.

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