Harley Davidson Santas

 

The Harley Davidson motorbike was produced in Milwaukee from 1903 to 1972. Although the engines are still made there, the bikes have since been built at York, Pennsylvania. So who were Harley and Davidson? Well, the 22 year old William S. Harley and his childhood friend Arthur Davidson began by putting a motor on a pedal cycle in a third friend’s home workshop in Milwaukee. When they found it wasn’t powerful enough to get up the local hills, they built a second machine with a bigger 405cc engine and a more motor-bike style frame. In 1904 their machine came 4th in a Milwaukee motorcycle race, and the Harley Davidson brand was born. By 1906they had moved to a new factory and had a staff of 6. In 1908 they sold their first bike to a police department, and by 1920 they were already the largest motorcycle manufacturer in the world, with 2,000 dealers in 67 countries.
When America entered the Second World War, Harley Davidson switched to making military motorcycles and training army mechanics, and by the end of the war they had built 90,000 military bikes. When the war ended in 1945, civilian bike production was resumed as quickly as November, showing the great adaptability and speed of reaction to events that has been the mark of the company. When in the 1980s imported Japanese motorbikes threatened to harm their business, Harley Davidson began to deliberately exploit their own history, building bikes with retro-appeal. The touring bikes, Road King, Road Glide and Electra Glide, were reminiscent of the models of the 1940s.
But just what is it that sets the Harley Davidson apart from the crowd? Quite simply it’s a way of life, a common bond, a passion, a part of the American dream. Take a look at these pictures. Have you ever seen a Japanese bike transformed into a Christmas tree or a reindeer?
These 40 Harley Santas were visiting a charity event in Binningen, Switzerland – all in a good “Claus” of course. In Basel every December they have a parade of Santas on decorated Harley Davidsons, as they do in Zurich.
In Baltimore, USA, Operation Santa Claus attracts 80,000 bikers, some of them not even riding Harleys, raising money for needy children. In Orange County, California, the Harley Owners Group holds an annual toy drive to donate to the local hospital so that every child to go in there throughout the year will receive a present. Other US Harley Santa Runs take place in Downtown Los Angeles and San Diego.
In the UK, Newcastle’s Harley Owners Group chapter, wearing Santa suits, sets off from the Harley Davidson Store every December to raise money and deliver gifts to hospices and care homes throughout their area. Preston Harley Davidson chapter in Lancashire had so many toys to deliver to children in hospitals and hospices last year that they had to use cars as well as their Harleys to transport them all.
Harleys and their riders are definitely a different breed.


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