Robson Riders Motorcycle Club: Biography of a 1949 Harley


Stan Brein

For many of us, motorcycling is more than a means of transportation: it is a part of the fabric of our lives. Our ride takes on special meaning, and we demarcate life events corresponding to motorcycle activities. We often name our motorcycles, as if they were a family member!

The articles in the Pioneer Press help promote the club, sometimes make for fun reading, and occasionally lead to interesting conversations. So it was when I was approached a while back by friend and neighbor Melodye Rogers. She showed me Biography of a 1949 Harley, published in 2004 by her uncle, Glenn Reynolds.

Starting in Union, Arkansas, it is the story of a typical boy growing up during WWII, enlisting in the military and coming of age in the post-war years. Glenn wound up serving at the Army and Navy General Hospital in Hot Springs, Arkansas. He gets his first glimpse of a Harley Davidson motorcycle, is fascinated with the machine, and dip his toe in the waters of two-wheeled vehicles.

The object of his affection is a 1949 Harley Davidson Flathead with a 45-cubic inch engine. The “Harley” shop on Hobson Avenue is beckoning him with a $700 price tag for the new bike ($50 down, $36 per month, with no interest). The story includes the loss, reclamation and reincarnation of the “45”. One of the main characters in this chapter is “Daddy” Bill Allbritton, a kindly biker wrench who agrees to perform the transformation. Daddy Bill’s battle with “devil rum” turns the project into a multi-year endeavor, but it eventually gets accomplished. Adorned with a white leather buddy seat and white leather saddle bags from Lamberts Shoe Repair Shop, Glenn goes on to describe great tales of cruising the Arkansas mountains and scenic byways with his wife Jane and rider friends.

Fast forward to 2000 at the A.B.A.T.E. antique bike show in Hot Springs, where the “45” earns first place. But, alas, all good things must come to an end, and the old “45” was sold in 2004. And so, a new story begins. What a ride!

The booklet is a great model for those of us who want to capture our legacy of motorcycling enmeshed in our family history. It is replete with life cycle pictures of the motorcycle, family members and events in the lives of the family and the motorcycle. Thanks, Melodye, for sharing this great piece of history.

Everyone is itching to get back on the road, and the Motorcycle Club board has planned the first rides for spring. On March 13, we will have a lunch run to the Texan Café in Haslet, and on March 29 we’ll do a dinner run to Go Go Gumbo in Boyd, a club favorite. Multi day rides to Turner Falls, OK, the Texas Hill Country and Medicine Park, OK also await us.

The club is also sporting a new logo thanks to the dedicated work of Mike Conley. We will be sporting our new hats and shirts soon, along with decals (thanks John Nagy!). If you would like one in order to look cool, contact Mike, Scott Baker, Dennis Dodson or me.

See you on the road!

Beware of cagers and keep the rubber side down!