The historic town of Thomas was a recent stopping point for some rolling pieces of history in the form of antique motorcycles.
The motorcycles stopped briefly on Front street lining from the old sportsman’s club to the bank parking lot. They were participants in a national road run sponsored by the Antique Motorcycle Clubs of America. The event was being held in Elkins and was hosted by the local Allegheny Chapter of the A.M.C.A. . On a day ride, Thomas was a voluntary stop for the riders who were on their way to Seneca Rocks before heading back to Elkins at the end of the day.
The area event had approximately 115 motorcycles participating. The bikes were all at least 35 years old and several impressive ones dated back to 1936. Even though to qualify they needed to be 35 years or older participants all said that they were happy to let anyone ride with them. Unlike other clubs which are brand specific, the A.M.C.A. members rode in on everything from a Harley chopper to a 1970’s Honda and a couple of 1936 Indians complete with old style leather single seats.
Riders who stopped here came from various parts of the country like California, Tennessee, Texas, and even a rider from Calgary, Canada. When asked if they all rode their bikes to the event or “trailered” them in, most of the riders laughed and admitted they hauled them to Elkins in trailers mainly because they wanted to get there on time. Like any older machine, they do tend to break down more often than a newer model but most everyone agreed that you can usually fix them on the roadside unlike their more modern computerized counterparts. The riders all said they enjoyed a sense of community and brotherhood, often stopping to help each other if one should break down.
Two women who were riding with their husbands, Janet Allen and Janet Guldan said that other than the bikes themselves, they enjoyed the scenery, meeting people from different parts of the country, and discovering what’s unique to each state.
Perhaps as unique and interesting as the bikes were the men and women who were riding them. Clark Carrick was one such rider. Carrick had just had open heart surgery seven weeks ago and had a stint put in less than a week before the run.
“But (s***) I paid my $125 and I was going to ride!” Carrick said.
When asked why ride vintage, Carrick said: “Heart and soul, look at them. All the new ones look the same.”
As Carrick, a veteran rider of 40 years, mounted his motorcycle, “Black Dog”, and prepared to ride off in the distance, one couldn’t help but wonder if he was one of a dying breed.
For more information on the Antique Motorcycle Clubs of America go to: www.antiquemotorcycle.org or to contact the local chapter go to: www.amcaamc.org