Industry Pioneer: Floyd Clymer

Floyd Clymer was born in Indianapolis on October 26, 1895. They shortly after moved to Colorado. Upon moving to Berthoud, Colorado, Floyd’s father purchased the family’s first automobile, a Curved Dashed Oldsmobile which became Floyd’s first car he would learn to drive at the age of 7.

He always showed a passion for cars. He became the youngest Ford dealer in the country at 13 years old. Many publications wrote about Clymer and his early success. He eventually became interested in motorcycles and began entering races. He also opened a Harley Davidson and Excelsior dealership in Greeley, Colorado.

As a motorcycle racer, Clymer gained notoriety by leading a great fraction of the acclaimed Dodge City 300. Floyd was riding a Harley Davidson and was the top performer for much of the race until his bike malfunctioned at 110 laps in the 150 lap competition. This event was just a minor bump in the road for Floyd.

He would then go on to win multiple races including the Pikes Peak hill climb. In 1920 he was victorious in winning the national sidecar championship and prevailed in numerous hill climbing competitions thereafter.

Floyd Clymer is known as a pioneer in the motorcycling profession. He was a racer, a racing promoter, a motorcycle dealer and distributor, a motorcycle manufacturer, a magazine publisher and an author. In 1998, Clymer etched his name in history by being inducted into the motorcycle Hall of Fame.

Floyd’s latter notoriety came largely in part due to his yearly publishing of a yearbook for the Indianapolis 500. His time spent working with them spanned from 1946-1968. He also wrote numerous works on classic cars. These pieces included Henry’s Wonderful Model T, Those Wonderful Old Automobiles, Treasury of Early American Automobiles along with a series of Historical Motor Scrapbooks.

Not only was Floyd Clymer an amazing motorcyclist and writer, but he was a superior entrepreneur. He created innovative ways in marketing and selling motorbikes. He would take his motorcycles to agricultural trade shows and he would demonstrate how the bikes could be utilized in the agricultural industry as well as in the delivery industry, in the police force and in the newspapers companies.

Floyd Clymer was an inspiration to many and his life was a staple of passion and drive. His accomplishments were a direct product of his desires and he achieved them by persevering with great courage and persistence.

Great Motorcycle Rides

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There is no better feeling than experiencing the freedom of the open road, which is best felt on the seat of a motorcycle. A motorcycle puts you right within the elements of the environment you are traveling through making it a unparalleled feel. It is great (and fairly common) to hop on a motorcycle and ride wherever the road takes you with no destination in mind. But that should not stop you from planning a trip to some of the great roads within throughout the world. There are some amazing rides out there that feel as though they were built solely for a motorcycle and you should make it a point to check them out for yourselves.

Check out the collection of great motorcycle rides below for some ideas of where you and your bike should travel next. Each ride offers a unique experience that you will be sure to remember for years to come.

Follow Graham Zahoruiko’s board Great Motorcycle Rides on Pinterest.

The Heart of Harley-Davidson: Matt Levatich

What images conjure when thinking of Harley-Davidson? The open road, a roaring engine, and the iconic logo in all its glory come to mind immediately. But who is behind the throttle of this company? Matt Levatich, president and CEO of Harley-Davidson, has earned his stripes as both a seasoned rider, and driving forced behind one of the most recognizable companies on the globe.

From the tender age of eight, Matt loved to ride. On his 125 CC dirt bike, he tooled around his home of Ellis Hollow in Ithaca until he was old enough to get his driver’s license. Riding through fields and forests with the neighborhood kids, Matt became comfortable on two wheels long before he had four.

During his early years, Matt found joy in the little things. Enrolling in mechanical drawing and engineering classes sparked his love of machines, shifting his attention away from fixing and toward design. Drawn by the allure of mechanical engineering, Matt was intrigued by how things worked, what prevented them from working, and how to improve what was pre-existing. Coupled with an aptitude for math and physics, Matt had all the tools necessary to become an excellent engineer.

Starting his career at Harley as a manufacture project engineer, Matt found himself doing what he’d always loved to do as a boy. Change would come quickly, however, and soon Matt was working with Harley’s legal team while they navigated a particularly tricky situation in the European markets during the restructuring of their overseas business. Over the years, Matt had his hand in several of Harley’s projects. Assisting in the construction of the early Harley-Davidson museum, working in the product development center on new bikes for the company, and finally vice president of materials management in charge of running all of Harley-Davidson’s supply chains.

Four-and-a-half years in that position found Matt climbing higher in the company as VP of parts and accessories. In 2008, he was given the opportunity to run Harley’s Italian branch, and accepted it gladly. This would have been a long term position had a global financial crisis not affected the market so adversely. Choosing to bring a new CEO in 2009, the board of directors asked Matt to become the president of Harley-Davidson motorcycles, placing him in charge of everything Harley from manufacturing to marketing.

Matt would put in six years at this position, longer than any other he’d held with the company, ensuring that Harley kept moving with the strength of its world-renowned brand. This hard work would pay off May 1st, however, as Matt was named CEO of the company. After developing plans and strategizing with the former CEO, Matt’s hard work and determination awarded him the top position in the company. His mission moving forward is to make the brand more accessible to wider audiences while protecting the image Harley developed over its many years. Matt Levatich, avid Harley enthusiast and experienced rider, looks to lead the company down roads less traveled, and into a bright future.

Spring Rallies

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This weekend marks the beginning of the 2015 Texas State Harley Owners Group Rally, which is being held this year in Tyler, TX. It’s one of the biggest HOG rallies in the country, with thousands of riders (more than 3,000 are expected this year) congregating and participating in the parade. Generally speaking, East Texas is one of the best places for an event like this to take place because of its scenic beauty and relatively open roads.

Events like this aren’t just a lot of fun for people who own Harleys and motorcycle enthusiasts in general, they are great boons for the economies of the cities in which they take place. For example, many in Tyler hope and predict that about $2.5 million could be pumped into their economy from the influx of cash that is expected to be spent at local restaurants, hotels, and businesses.

At this time of year when the weather starts to get exceptionally nice, rallies begin to be held all around the country. The Harley Davidson Cruising the Coast spring rally is one such event which takes place in the Myrtle beach area, and there are countless others. There are similar economic expectations wherever they take place, generally with restaurants and hotels as the biggest beneficiaries.

Harley-Davidson and the USO

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Motorcycle enthusiasm and philanthropy are more related than most people probably realize. An excellent event that combines these, the 9/11 Ride, is mentioned on the front page of this website. There was another story this week that further showcases this relationship.

Gateway Harley-Davidson in St. Louis, Missouri has been part of an 11 year campaign to raise money for the USO of Missouri, and this year raised $20,000. They hope to more than double that amount this year with a goal of $50,000. Over the 11 year period, they have helped raise over $125,000.

Having participated in giving back to active military personnel and veterans for over a decade, Gateway Harley-Davidson is not only committed to the longevity of such a campaign, but also to the constant work and support. Their commitment isn’t shown at just one or two events each year, but regularly. In 2014, for example, events were held monthly at the Gateway dealership, and included a bike show, bike wash, and a memorial ride, among others.

The above article summarizes the mission of Gateway Harley-Davidson, and what they invite those in the surrounding community to join them in, as follows: “Be a part of giving back to those who are willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. We believe your support is the catalyst for the inspiration of others to give back and to teach future generations that with freedom there comes sacrifice and with sacrifice there must always be the contributors of gratitude and respect.”