Monday, 29 August 2016
The Big Bear Motorcycle Run was first held in the 1920s and involved a 100-mile ride that started with a 50-mile loop in the Mojave Desert and ended at Big Bear lake, 5000ft up in the mountains.
These shots, from the Life archives, where you can see lots more, were shot by Ralph Crane in 1961. That year, when around 1000 riders lined up, saw a series of cock-ups, beginning with a pre-meditated jump-start from one club, that rendered the results void. That, as far as I know, was the last of the classic Big Bear runs as the ever-growing entry prompted the authorities to shut it down.
Read more about the Big Bear, and other classic US desert races in issue 18 of Sideburn. MP
EDIT: As I finished writing this, I realised that issue 18 has sold out, which just emphasises why you need to get hold of your copies of Sideburn as soon as possible. Leave it and you'll miss out. However, eBay is your friend.