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18-Mar-2019 08:12

The FAM logo sported the FAM initials surrounding a 4-pointed star at the hub of a winged, flying wheel, and topped by a cylinder head.The FAM, which had been organized in Brooklyn, NY, on September 7, 1903, disbanded early in 1919, as a result of a sharp decline in membership caused by World War I.The more tours there are and the more riders there are in each tour, the more effective the demonstration will be.For Laconia, 1917 was considered the “First Annual” Gypsy Tour, even though an informal, unofficial gathering the year before had preceded it. The rally came to be known as the New England Gypsy Tour. Clair’s and Jennifer Anderson’s book, Laconia Motorcycle Week, Arcadia publishing, 2008.During its 16 years of existence, the FAM achieved many of its objectives: “…to encourage the use of motorcycles and to promote the general interests of motorcycling; to ascertain, defend and protect the rights of motorcyclists; to facilitate touring; to assist in the good roads movement; and to advise and assist in the regulation of motorcycle racing and other competition in which motorcycles engage.” From the same 1912 rally in Columbus, here’s the earliest motorcycle watch fob known where the word “Tour” or “Tours” is engraved.Perhaps this fob was the original example for all the Gypsy Tour watch fobs that were produced in the consecutive years from 1917-1930.To achieve this reflects high credit on both the man and machine…What is most needed in a run of this sort is a cool head and plenty of nerve.It was the reckless riders who came to grief—the men who, instead of taking the affair calmly, rushed madly along the course, hoping to gain time for repairs between one control and another, if any were needed.” Riders who arrived ahead of time at a control had committed as much of an offense as finishing behind time and were penalized accordingly.

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The objectives were first, “to provide a good time for the riders, and theirs wives, sisters, and sweet-hearts”; and second, “to create a more favorable public opinion of the motorcycle and motorcycle riders.”These early Gypsy Tours were quite organized, almost in military fashion, with a “Tour Master” and two aides leading a large group of riders sectioned into “companies” of 10 riders and a captain; and “pathfinders” scouting out and marking the route up ahead.In 1952, the award – a glass ashtray – was simply given away to anyone who registered at the AMA booth at any Gypsy Tour and showed their AMA membership card.As the amount of metal and workmanship in the award declined, from elaborate belt buckles and watch fobs, to simpler, less expensive items like patches and pins, the awards became souvenirs, sold to anyone with the cash.A “secret” brake test would be conducted by a race official “…secreted in the bushes and with him was a green flag.As a rider would come up to this point, the official would wave the green flag, which was the signal for the rider to down brakes and come to a stop…Quite a few contestants succeeded in fulfilling all of the conditions of this test, although some of them failed because they had but one idea and that was to get to the next checkpoint as soon as possible……after a time some of the country boys got wise to the situation, and in the goodness of their hearts backed down the road a bit and notifed each approaching rider that there was danger ahead in the person of the official and his green flag…the result was that the official had to give it up at this point and try the secret brake test elsewhere..”Typically, the “survivors”, those who were able to complete the endurance run, received bronze medals; riders with high, but not perfect scores, received silver medals; while the riders achieving perfect scores received gold medals.

The objectives were first, “to provide a good time for the riders, and theirs wives, sisters, and sweet-hearts”; and second, “to create a more favorable public opinion of the motorcycle and motorcycle riders.”These early Gypsy Tours were quite organized, almost in military fashion, with a “Tour Master” and two aides leading a large group of riders sectioned into “companies” of 10 riders and a captain; and “pathfinders” scouting out and marking the route up ahead.

In 1952, the award – a glass ashtray – was simply given away to anyone who registered at the AMA booth at any Gypsy Tour and showed their AMA membership card.

As the amount of metal and workmanship in the award declined, from elaborate belt buckles and watch fobs, to simpler, less expensive items like patches and pins, the awards became souvenirs, sold to anyone with the cash.

A “secret” brake test would be conducted by a race official “…secreted in the bushes and with him was a green flag.

As a rider would come up to this point, the official would wave the green flag, which was the signal for the rider to down brakes and come to a stop…Quite a few contestants succeeded in fulfilling all of the conditions of this test, although some of them failed because they had but one idea and that was to get to the next checkpoint as soon as possible……after a time some of the country boys got wise to the situation, and in the goodness of their hearts backed down the road a bit and notifed each approaching rider that there was danger ahead in the person of the official and his green flag…the result was that the official had to give it up at this point and try the secret brake test elsewhere..”Typically, the “survivors”, those who were able to complete the endurance run, received bronze medals; riders with high, but not perfect scores, received silver medals; while the riders achieving perfect scores received gold medals.

The same photo, cropped, is seen below in a July 12, 1917 issue of the Motorcycle and Bicycle Illustrated magazine.