By Dr. Gregory Frazier
A Book Review
Today’s television programming is chocked full of “reality TV.” Viewers find documentation of risk taking and adventure spell-binding and watch by the tens of millions. But in 1912 all round-the-world motorcycle traveler Carl Stearns Clancy had to get his adventurers to the public was a film camera and a simple typewriter; a motorcycle magazine published installments over a year through 1913, his planned book never materialized.
But modern motorcycle world traveler Dr. Gregory Frazier set about researching this ride of 100 years ago and did get the book written and published. Frazier lets us read Clancy’s almost daily reflections on his ride around the world on a 1912 Henderson Four. Frazier located most of the individual published stories and put them together with some support and context, a prologue, an epilogue. Besides travels across America at the end of the journey, Clancy rides through France, Spain and traverses parts of the African and Asian continents. He’s met with bad weather, horrendous roads, or almost none at all in China. Along the way, in appropriate places he works to sell franchises for Henderson motorcycles to dealers.
The book is a great read because it’s in “first person,” Clancy’s words in the moment, 100 years ago, and is really something of a period piece. Thankfully, Frazier found the old stories and put them together so we can go along on a ride that, frankly, with modernization and geo-political changes we can no longer make. You can get your copy from the National Motorcycle Museum On-Line store and will no doubt enjoy it.