Motorcycle Cannonball 2012 Blog Intro

I have been getting a lot of requests for info and updates on the 2012 Motorcycle Cannonball so I have created this area dedicated to the ride, the bikes and the riders. I will update this as best I can and when I can before, during and after the nearly 4,000 mile ride across the US.

My 1915 Harley somewhere in Texas on the first Motorcycle Cannonball ride.

The first Motorcycle Cannonball was held in 2010 from Kitty Hawk, NC to Santa Monica, CA. We all rode 1915 or older motorcycles. I believe 45 riders started and most of them made it, one way or the other, across the country. A few under their own power, many with occasional help and a lift in a truck or trailer. 10 of the riders made it all the way across with perfect scores – meaning they rode the entire distance under their own power.

My 1929 Harley JDH Two CamĀ I plan on riding in the second ever Motorcycle Cannonball ride.

The second Motorcycle Cannonball leaves from Newburgh, NY to San Francisco the morning of Friday, September 7th. We can ride 1929 or older motorcycles. These “modern” motorcycles will be so much easier to ride and so much more dependable. Consider the 1915 and older motorcycles mostly did not leave the factory with brakes or electric lights. All ran magnetos (no generators, batteries or point ignitions) and most of us went through several magnetos on or way across the country.

I rode Selma, my 1915 Harley Twin, named after my mother who passed away mere weeks before the first ride. I will be riding a rare 1929 Harley JDH Two Cam motorcycle on the second crossing of the US. My competition number on both machines is 15.

We have been following the buy, build, and rebuild in the pages of American Iron Magazine for the last several months. If you can not find a copy locally you can buy back issues in print at or in digital format at My 1929 Harley JDH is one of the cover bikes in the October 2012 issue.

As I type this the event starts in less than 2 weeks and many of the riders are still scrambling to finish their motorcycles, break them in and fine tune the machines. We all need to gather all the tools, spares, riding gear and more for this amazing ride.

For more information on the actual Motorcycle Cannonball, including dates and planned stops, please click on Motorcycle Cannonball.

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4 Responses to Motorcycle Cannonball 2012 Blog Intro

  1. Jean Gipson says:

    I will be looking for your updates once the race has started as I have a dear friend (Mike Bell #41) participating. Good luck to all! I know it will be a fabulous trip!

  2. Jim Petty says:

    Good to see you do this Buzz. Had the ’27 Indian Chief out for a ride today. She is running pretty good. Still not completely broke in yet. I still have a bunch to organize in my truck and trailer before I hit the road. Take care my friend – looking forward to seeing you soon.

  3. Tom Guild says:


    Hope to see you in Anamosa, IA. I’m not a “vintage motorcycle guy”. But turning by seventy on September 9, I guess I am a “vintage guy”. Been reading your magazines since 1997. Still have my first copy of Hot XL. Spring 1997, Volume 1, Number 2. I’ve followed both of your Cannonball builds. Both were much more “fun” than I’d want to have. Right now I planning on riding the blue highways from Lincoln, NE, to Anamosa on September 10. Figure it’s a good way to celebrate a “vintage birthday”.

    Stay healthy and ride safe.