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.


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

Enjoy more The Classic MotorCycle reading in the monthly magazine. Click here to subscribe.