If a San Francisco motorist on the road at night sees a white-clad motorcyclist draw alongside and hold up his hand, it does not mean that he is to be handed a summons. The motorcyclist is a headlight repair man. Four of them, distinguished from policemen by their unusual costumes, are now patrolling the city’s streets looking for cars with one or more lights out. When one of these riders spies a prospective customer, he stops him and offers to replace the defective headlight at a nominal fee. Usually the driver accepts as this is cheaper than continuing and getting a summons.

  1. Don says: February 22, 20087:41 am

    Not a knucklehead; the knuck was introduced in ’36. It looks to me like a Harley flathead . . . .

  2. Stannous says: February 22, 200811:17 am

    Which bike is the one on the cover with the Thompson mount?

    And this has nothing to do with this article but I found an amazing site about an exhibit of the artist Arthur Radeburgh,
    whose work will be familiar to all MM viewers. It’s called “The Future We Were Promised” and
    here’s a snip and a link:
    Radebaugh was a top-notch commercial illustrator who worked for companies as diverse as Chrysler and Coca-Cola. He was based in Detroit from the 1930s to 1960s, and much of his work anticipated design revolutions in the automotive and other industries. He once described his work as “halfway between science fiction and designs for modern living.”

    Radebaugh’s virtuosic airbrush technique created luminous illustrations which conveyed the sleek, streamlined look of the future. From flying cars to glamorous skyscrapers, his renderings were both pragmatic and fantastical, showing possibilities unimagined, derived from the technology of the day.

    Radebaugh: The Future We Were Promised is a career-spanning overview of the recently rediscovered artist’s illustrations, cartoons and biography.

  3. Mike Watson says: February 28, 20088:50 am

    Here is input from my brother John on the type of bike in the Repairman Photo. John is considered about the end-all Harley and Indian guru out of southern Oregon. Got his fist Indian Chief, a 41 model, back in about 1967, followed by a string of Chiefs & Scouts, including a 1934 with the Ace 4-cyl., and a zillion other bikes along the way. Here ya are!

    “The bike looks a lot like a “WL” 45 CI flat head Harley, however they were not prevelent until the mid-30’s. The old “VL” was around more in the early 30’s, as was a 74 inch motor with a “constant loss oil system” (pun here). I’ve seen a number of ’30 and ’31 VLs. Most of the WLs and WLAs (Army issue) are 1937 and newer. They used the same engine in the trikes (the “Servi-car”) but with a “G” on the engine case instead of the WL or WLA….or WR, WLR and WLDR for the race bikes. I believe they built the Servi-car through 1973. Anyway, my vote would be for a VL because of the year of the picture, and the front end, unmistakenly a Harley springer, that looks earlier and narrower than the one’s I’ve seen on the 45’s.”

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