The Motorcycle Cannonball is a coast-to-coast run of antique motorcycles of varying vintage that’s staged from a different location every other year. The inaugural run was held in 2010 and included pre-1916 machines, the second was held in 2012, and the third is scheduled for this September. It’s a different group of riders and staff with each event, though some returning enthusiasts have been with the run from the beginning. One such example would be Gary Haynes, a staffer who offers his special-built BMW as a rescue wagon for disabled entry motorcycles along the route.
In between rescuing broken bikes, Gary took the time to take notes and photograph the moments he experienced as support for the 69 riders who took off from Newburgh, New York, on September 7, 2012, on their quest to cover 3,956 miles across the United States on pre-1930 machines. Their destination: San Francisco, California.
Gary’s organized over 200 images and accompanying notes into a slick-covered, 96-page paperback that chronicles the trials and tribulations of the group in a very pleasing format. Armed with PageMaker and Photoshop programs, he’s self-published an entertaining and informative record of the 2012 event that’s much like taking a peek into a personal journal. His ability to communicate with strangers as well as relate a situation through his down-to-earth storytelling proves to endear the reader to the man who volunteered his time to others over the course of the 17 days on the road. Gary fills us in with the backstory of how he built his rig to accommodate transport of stranded motorcycles, as well as showing us the part of this infamous event from the perspective of a staffer rather than a rider.
“I spent about 10 months typing this out with two fingers and my thumb and my computer crashed in the middle of it all, but I was able to salvage the text. It’s taken a long time; I’m pretty proud of it. Anyone interested in purchasing a copy can send a check or money order to Gary Haynes, P.O. Box 58, Buckhannon, WV, 26201. Due to the wonderful, unexpected and overwhelming response I’ve received, expect four to six weeks for delivery. So please be patient with me. Price includes shipping and handling to the lower 48. Sorry; I cannot take PayPal or credit cards.”
This homegrown keepsake labor of love will appeal to motorcycle enthusiasts of all stripes and is sure to induce a few smiles in the process.