The History of Jack Pine
By Oscar Lenz
The Lansing Motorcycle Club, one of the real pioneers in the field of organizing motorcycle riders for the purpose of enjoying to the fullest the great sport of motorcycling, was brought in to being in the early spring of 1920 by a small group of hardy cyclists that had been riding together since the close of the first World War. Motorcycling had "caught on" with the returning soldiers and our Club soon became a good-sized organization. Hill-climbing was the new motorcycle thrill of the day and most every Sunday morning you would see a long string of motorcycles, in formation, headed out of Lansing for some hill-climb event. Sidecars were the popular combination then, perhaps the lack of good roads or was it to carry lunch? Anyway, they were always out in great numbers on our trips with the deluxe family-size job, capable of holding two adults and half a dozen kids, attracting special attention. Equipped with a top to ward off the hot sun or a sudden shower. 3" tires and rear wheel brakes only (such as they were). On one of our trips to Jackson over Fifty Machines were in line - and they all got there and back again as no one was left behind. Our first hill climb was held on the hogsback a mile south of Holt. Then we used Hellers Hill on Cavanaugh Road for several years and also held one climb in the gravel pit off East Kalamazoo Street. Next, we used Doyles Hill on the Mason-Dansville Road for a number of years until they ruled this out for blocking traffic as we had to start on the highway. At all these events our only revenue was the nickels and dimes the girls were able to collect for the tags they sold to the crowd. Our next hill-climb development was at "Big Skeeter" where a tremendous amount of work was required to first clear the hill of trees and then grade the course and later laying out the T.T. Track. During the hay-days of hill-climbing the old skipper and "Tornado carried the colors of our club to events near and far, including the national championship events at Rochester, New York and Muskegon and climbs at Louisville, Ky., Pittsburgh, PA., Akron, Oh., Milwaukee, Canada and may other points.
For many years our meetings were held at membersí homes and in parks in the vicinity and the motorcycle shops. Our first club house was located in the rear of the bike shop on South Cedar Street. This got to be too small and the Old Gun Club, on the site of the Oldsmobile Forge Plant, was arranged thru Mr. R.E. Olds. We next moved to a small club house on East Michigan Avenue located on the old practice golf course. This was sold and moved away . Then to the present Jack Pine Lodge north of the city.
These were also the days of motorcycle polo and we had a fine team, playing all over the state and winning most of our games. This sport became so popular that we were asked to play an exhibition game on Michigan Avenue in front of the capitol during one of the city celebrations. We held one Class A race meet and lost plenty. When Class C racing was started in the early 30ís our club took the lead in Michigan and held many successful events on the old East Lansing track. During this same period several Gypsy Tours were held in Lansing with the first of the State championship class C races held in connection with the tours.
Our historical records have some gaps. The Lansing Motorcycle club is looking for pictures, stories and results from the Jack Pine events in the following years:
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