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Greg Bauman
Woodland Hills, CA
L.A. 125cc Club

Click on pictures to enlarge them

Ed note:
          Sometimes an historical mystery comes our way. The following is such a case. Did a Los Angeles 125cc Motorcycle Club
        with a Harley Model S125 as their logo exist in 1949? Was it sanctioned by the AMA at the time? At this writing it's still
a mystery waiting to be solved....and I greatly encourage our members to submit clues to solving it.....
         I offer the following from our club member Greg Bauman:

Greg sent me these photos of items in his father's belongings and wanted me to see them. I realized their historic value and immediately sent off an email to the AMA for verification. Serena Van Dyke, Organizer Services Coordinator of the American Motorcyclist Association, wrote back to inform me their records didn't show the existence of this Club but would be willing to offer research assistance in the future. Greg was then able to provide me with this:

I forwarded this photo to Serena and she confirmed the AMA membership cards (then American Motorcycle Association and now American Motorcyclist Association) are indeed the same organization and confirmed the signing officer's name. Sadly, she couldn't confirm the existence of the LA 125cc Club.

Study the photos. Look at the typing. Look at the colors used...was the Los Angeles 125cc Club a recognized Charter member of the AMA or not? You decide.....and if you have info on this Club PLEASE forward it to your webmaster at !
Here's where the story behind the mystery begins as Greg shares....
"The only story of those days that Dad ever told was about the day he got his motorcycle license.
Back then to get a motorcycle license you took your test by following someone that was taking their driving test. I guess the examiner would just check to see if you were still there. If you were you were passing. My dad was following a woman taking her first test. She ended up taking out mailboxes, trash cans, bouncing off curbs and running through a couple of yards. By the time she got back to the DMV the examiner was so shaken he had completely forgotten my Dad was following. Dad had to find him to see if he had passed. The examiner just signed my Dad's paperwork and never said a word. When the license arrived, he was quite surprised to see that not only had he passed the motorcycle test, he had passed the car and truck driving tests also! I guess the examiner had forgotten to check the correct boxes. He finally told us the story when we were all much older. He passed away at 72 years old never having taken the car driving test. I do remember that he helped my uncle move a couple of times and they rented some pretty big trucks. He did mention to my Uncle that they were lucky that he never let the truck license go."

I guess that sometimes history fails to record events properly.....the following will not help you in the solving of this mystery but will allow you to share what we all share on this site.....memories. Memories that began with a H-D light-weight.....first the 'Club', then this....

  "Here's a photo of my Dad on his Velocette. I do not think any pics of the 125 exist. My uncle had a Matchless and my Grandfather went from an Ariel Square four to a Triumph Thunderbird. I think both my Dad and Uncle had 125s".

"The picture on the Velocette was taken at their house in Playa del Rey. The whole neighborhood was taken over for an airport expansion so all the homes are gone. My uncle told me how to find the location of the house. Seems that up the street a bit a kid parked to visit his girlfriend and forgot to set the brake or leave his car in gear. The car rolled down the street, across the yard and hit my Grandfathers house square in the bathroom while Grandpa was sitting on the throne. luckily he was just shook up. My Grandfather knew a few people that worked in the Bureau of Street Maintenance and convinced them to put up a guard rail so it would not happen again. The houses are all gone but the guard rail is still there. Now the whole area is a butterfly preserve under the flight path of Los Angeles International airport along the ocean".

"Both my uncle and my dad stopped riding while they were stationed in Korea. A good friend of theirs was killed waiting at a stop sign in the fog. As you can see by the picture of my Dad's Velocette, lights were not mandatory during daylight hours. Their friend had also stripped his bike of all lights. They asked my Grandfather to sell both of their bikes. He always rode whatever motorcycle I have had and never gave me a hard time about riding".

Henry Chester Bauman (Grandfather)
1951 Triumph Thunderbird (?)

"My Grandfather was a pharmacist and owned a couple of pharmacies in the Los Angles area. My Grandmother got a new Cadillac every 2 years and Grandpa was happiest driving old clunkers. I guess I follow my Grandfather, I am still using the van my Dad bought new in 1972 as my daily driver. It just will not quit. I would love to have any of their bikes. I have occasionally looked for a Harley 125 or any of the later variants. They have gotten quite expensive. I did have a Topper for a while though.
My Dad never gave up on two wheels. He became an avid bicyclist and rode his bicycle across the USA from Manhattan Beach, CA to Boston, MA when he was 65".
Greg Bauman 2012

Ed: Update!
Contributed by “Robbie” from the Hummer Exchange
American Motorcycling magazine article January 1949:

Los Angeles Has First 125 Club
"The distinction of being the first AMA-chartered lightweight club in the United States goes to the Los Angeles 125cc Club in California. With 12 charter members, all belonging to the AMA, the group is off to an admirable start. Harold Schlarman was the first to purchase a new Harley-Davidson “125” in Los Angeles. He developed into such an enthusiastic rider that Rich Budelier, L.A. dealer, helped him form a club for riders of lightweights. The members elected Schlarman as their president. The lightweighters are really having some activities. Already they’ve had field meets and polo games. A gypsy tour and a hill climb are planned for the near future. The club is open to all riders of American or foreign 125cc machines".

  Last updated: January 23, 2012 Up