Posts Tagged ‘Bonneville Salt Flats’

My internet connection was down due to modem problems yesterday and it made me think about our relationship to technology, how some of us resist  and, at best, tolerate it  even though we enjoy the benefits it provides.  But some folks take to it as though it were part of our genetic makeup, every nuance seeming easy and natural in their eyes.  While I was thinking about this I thought of this image.  I guess it exemplifies someone who has no fear of technology. Or death. Or windburn.

This photo, perhaps the most famous motorcycle image, if of the legendary Rollie Free at the Bonneville Salt Flats in 1948 as he attempted to break the Land Speed Record.  Earlier in the day he had already shattered the old record by over 12 MPH with a speed of 148.6 MPH, riding the bike in his unusual laid out position which was supposed to reduce air drag.  On that attempt he had been wearing protective leathers .  He felt he had lost speed due to the drag of his gear so he stripped down to a Speedo bathing suit and a pair of sneakers and had another go.  The result was a speed of 150.313 MPH, a record which stood for over 20 years.

The bike he was riding that day was the legendary Vincent Black Lightning.  I don’t know much about bikes although I had a fascination with Triumph motorcycles as a child.  But I do know that the name of the Vincent Black Lightning is one of the most evocative names of any vehicle ever produced.  It sounds ominous, powerful and fast and I suppose it must have been based on the record.  It also inspired one of my favorite songs, 1952 Vincent Black Lightning, from Richard Thompson.  I featured it in an earlier post with a bluegrass version from Del McCoury but this photo deserves the real thing from Thompson himself.

Have a great day and if you must ride your bike in this manner, please don’t text!

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