A social history of motorcycling- Part 4: The One Percenters (1947-1950)


British woman Theresa Wallach became first vice-president of the Women’s International Motorcycle Association (WIMA). Here, she’s pictured at Pikes Peak in Colorado, US, in 1949.

In the immediate aftermath of the so-called ‘Hollister riot’, the AMA called a press conference, at which it was later alleged that a figure of 1% was used to differentiate between the association’s regular membership and perceived troublemakers in its ranks.

While such a remark might well have been made behind the scenes or informally, there exists no official record attributing it to any AMA representative from this period.

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In fact, the first recorded use of percentages in this context can be found in letters by Paul Brokaw and Charles A Addams, which were published on August 11, 1947, in Life magazine as responses to its infamous Hollister photograph.

Nevertheless, pejorative use of the ‘1%’ term by the AMA quickly become an accepted myth in social motorcycling.

Read more in April’s issue of TCM

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