Velodrome Racing and the Rise of the Motorcycle


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About the Book

A hybrid machine–powered at times by steam, electricity or internal combustion–the motorcycle in its infancy was an innovation to help bicycle racers go faster. As motor age technology advanced, the quest for greater speed at the velodrome peaked, with riders reaching speeds up to 100 kph on bikes and trikes without brakes, suspensions or gear boxes. This book chronicles the individuals and events at the turn of the 20th century that led to the development of motor-powered two-wheelers.

About the Author(s)

R.K. Keating had a long career developing workforce and economic development policy. His previous book was on Robert M. Keating, the pioneer of bicycles, motorcycles and automobiles. He lives in New Hampshire.

Bibliographic Details

R.K. Keating
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 429
Bibliographic Info: 180 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2021
pISBN: 978-1-4766-8143-6
eISBN: 978-1-4766-4160-7
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix
Preface 1
Prologue: The Crazy Frenchman 7
Part I: In Pursuit of Speed
1 The Rise of Pedal-Powered Sport in America 15
2 Pacemaking: A Game Changer 26
3 Speed Engines 36
4 Taking It to the Limit 57
5 Reservations and Economics 72
Part II: Ex Machina
6 Nuts and Bolts 79
7 Internal Combustion 97
8 France Goes Electric 117
9 Infernal Machines 137
10 Blood Versus Petroleum 155
Part III: From Mayhem to Mainstream
11 The Steam Kings 171
12 Pioneers of Petrol-Powered Pace 191
13 Motormen 220
14 Innocence Lost 239
15 The Show Must Go On 272
Part IV: Going Solo
16 Metz Pushes the Envelope 285
17 A Tool Room in Middletown 304
18 Taking the Stage 314
19 Velodrome to Motordrome 342
20 Slipstream to Mainstream 364
Afterword 383
Chapter Notes 387
Bibliography 405
Index 413

Book Reviews & Awards

“Will open your mind to the evolution of motorcycles of the United States and Europe. This is one of the most well-researched books on the subject…excellent writing…Many motorcycle enthusiasts will review this book regularly to garner more insight into our two wheeled origins, and no personal motorcycle library would be complete without it…By far the most important book I have on the origins of the motorcycle in America.”—The Antique Motorcycle