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Indian-America's First Motorcycle
by Christina Duane

An Orange County Legend -

Still towering just South of Mission San Juan Capistrano and set high above I-5 and the Pacific Ocean lies what remains of "Old Motorcycle Hill". The giant hill, known as the "Gibraltar of the Pacific", was first conquered March 18th 1917 by adventurous motorcycle enthusiasts wearing nickers and stylish wool caps. Motorcycle hill is now carved out by interstate and being graded by a developer, as another piece of history seems to virtually disappear.

Yet just in it's shadow in a San Juan Capistrano showroom, the legendary motorcycle that took the hill has roared back to life. America's first motorcycle was made by Indian Motorcycle Company and America's first was also America's fastest.

By the end of 1911, Indian possessed every American speed and distance record, 112 in all. In 1921, Cannon Ball Baker rode his Indian Scout from New York to Los Angeles in 179 hours and 28 minutes. He used 40 gallons of gas, averaging 20 miles per hour.

It was an Indian that won the first ever Daytona 200 in 1937 on the beach. Ed Kretz was the winning rider famous for his bravery, conditioning and determination. In 1948, Floyd Emde won Daytona on his Indian Scout setting a new course record and finishing five miles ahead of the next American made motorcycle. Emde was also a favorite rider at Old Motorcycle Hill.

In two world wars, it was the Indian that carried thousands of American GI's into battle, chosen for its reliability.

Now, one hundred years after the first Indian Motorcycle roared to life, they are at it again, creating a collection of exciting new models that have been created with the same commitment to hand crafted quality, exhilarating performance and technological excellence that made Indian Motorcycles a legend.

Every Indian Motorcycle, from the Scout, to the Spirit, to the Chief, are true American originals designed and built in the United States. These incredible machines of power, comfort and American Craftsmanship re-kindle the spirit of the pioneer riders that captured Daytona and conquered Old Motorcycle Hill.

You can catch a glimpse of Motorcycle Hill and relive it's History in the Indian Motorcycle Showroom in San Juan Capistrano where the new Indian Models are displayed along with historic photos of Orange County past.

At the gateway of some of the most scenic motorcycle Highways and at the base of what was once Old Motorcycle Hill, legends are reborn. Every motorcycle enthusiast should see these incredible new bikes made in the image of their legendary predecessors.

Copyright 2002 Purpose Media and Christina Duane. No unauthorized duplication without written consent.

 

   

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