With thanks to the Ixion mailing list for this gem...
MOTORCYCLES. By George Fitch (1916)
A motorcycle is a bicycle with pandemonium attachment, and is designed for the
especial use of mechanical geniuses, daredevils and lunatics.
The motorcycle is equipped with a motor small enough to be put in a large pocket and loud enough to fill a large Coliseum comfortably.
This motor is connected with the rear wheel of a bicycle, and when it is in the mood will revolve the wheel with tremendous force, thus causing the bicycle to proceed from hither to yon over buggies, pedestrians, fences and small outbuildings.
A motorcycle is really a miniature auto-mobile with full sized noise, smell and dirt output. It is not started by cranking, however, but by pedalling the whole machine along the road until the motor emerges from its coma and gets on the job. An automobilist can be detected by his vast overhanging shoulders and calloused hands. A motorcyclist however may have arms like pipe stems, but his legs are seven sizes too large for him.
A motorcycle is not as comfortable as a camel or a lumber wagon, but it is very swift and there is nothing that feels more like flying than to ride a large baritone motorcycle over the country roads at fifty miles an hour, leaping lightly from bump to bump — except to leave the machine when it has struck a rock and to soar swiftly through the unstable atmosphere until some jagged section of the United States interfere with further progress.
Motorcycles are very useful and have almost annihilated distance and cheap clothes. They should be ridden in costume, except by very wealthy and careless men. A pair of leather pants with asbestos lining and a two bushel hip flask for tools, a padded vest, heavy gloves, a pair of goggles and nose and shin guards make a tasty and useful rig for the cyclist. Dressed in this fashion, the enthusiast can enjoy himself to the full as he caroms from tree to tree and gorges himself with dust, oil and excitement.
Motorcycles are not as fatal to pedestrians as automobiles because they can only run over him with two wheels. But they should be treated with respect at all times and should not be interfered with when in a hurry.
Marvellous records are being made by intrepid mahouts who have driven large double barrelled motorcycles ninety miles on an aIl-board track, and most of the way up the golden stairs in one hour by the clock.
Motorcycles are much cheaper than automobiles and there seems to be no practical remedy for this as the industry is unfortunately not in the hands of a trust. A good machine can be purchased for $150. However if the devotee does not possess $150 he can get almost as good results by drinking a little lubricating oil, inhaling a vacuum cleaner and setting off two bushels of firecrackers between his legs.