Reading Standard motorcycle first to climb Pikes Peak

1906    July 26th , three riders took Reading Standard motorcycles to the Summit of Pikes Peak.

The route was on the old carriage road.  Wihen the Cog Railroad was built  to take tourist to the top of Pikes Peak  in 1891 , not many folks traveled the  carriage road to the top  . Conditions of the trail had deteriorated badly, making this trip that much more of a challenge. (Some say the bikes had to be carried the last few miles)    An interesting fact provided by Reading Standard   to  help  demonstrate the toughness and quality of their motorcycles was the weight of the riders.   Weights in pounds, G.W. Scheff 160 lbs, Glen Blake 190 lbs, and Francis Davis 200 lbs.

Reading Standard motorcycles were built in Reading Pennsylvania from 1903 through 1922.  More then likely, the bikes that made the trip  in 1906 were the new Thoroughbred models, using the Side-Valve engines, a first for an American motorcycle company.

Finding early newspaper reporting of the event around the area has been difficult . Most of what is known about the trip to the summit had been sourced from Reading Standard Motorcycles themselves.  Future ads for the Reading Standard motorcycles would use the new tag line ” Built and Tested in the Mountains”

1909 R-S advert still showing the tag line

Once again, as with the Locomobile  automobile in 1901,  Pikes Peak proved to be a successful advertising tool for manufactures brave enough to attempt the climb to the summit.   One thing to keep in mind with these early attempts at climbing Pikes Peak , was the trip back down. Many considered the ride down hill more dangerous , challenging and deadly, then going up.  Brake technology wasn’t advancing at the same pace as engine development  in those early days of motorcycling .

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( Devils Playground is one of the most popular spots on the Pikes Peak Highway to watch the annual hill climb race)

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