The orange Sportsman Flyer in the window

from the Artsology series The Arts Adventurer

I was driving west on Bloomfield Avenue through Verona (NJ) the other day when something bright orange and shiny caught my eye ... it was this Sportsman Flyer 80 Motorized Bicycle in the front window of Electric Spokes Co. I had to keep going on my errand, but as soon as I was finished, I was determined to drive back and stop for a closer look.

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Orange Sportsman Flyer at Electric Spokes Verona

I learned from one of the owners of Electric Spokes that Sportsman Flyer is a small American company based in California that hand-builds every bike and motorcycle that they sell. In this case, this was the only orange motorized bike of this model in existence, and Electric Spokes said it wasn't for sale ... they made it sound like it was too valuable as an attention-grabber for drive-by people like me, because it brings plenty of people into the showroom.

The style of bikes and motorcycles made by Sportsman Flyer are based on the vintage bikes used in board track racing that was popular in the United States in the 1920s and 1930s. You can learn more about that on the Sportsman Flyer's history page here. It also caught my attention because it reminded me of a motorcycle that I saw in Newburgh, NY, when I visited the Motorcyclepedia Museum: The Flying Merkel Model V, built in 1911 and pictured below left.

Here's another vintage motorized bicycle below right: the 1919 Indian Bicycle with a Briggs & Stratton Type D Motor Wheel, also on view at Motorcyclepedia. One could buy the bicycle by itself, and then buy the motor wheel as an accessory.

The Flying Merkel Model V motorcycle

1919 Indian Bicycle with motor wheel attached

I can't say that I'm in the market for a motorized bicycle, as I like riding a regular bicycle, and if I were to get a motorcycle, I think I'd want to get a more-substantial normal-sized motorcycle. But the vintage throw-back style of the Sportsman Flyers are certainly very appealing and seems to be growing on me ... it sure would be fun to give it a test-ride.

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