Monday, February 16, 2009

HAVE YOU SEEN THIS WOMAN?

As a male motorcyclist, I have a fascination with photos of women from all eras riding bikes, and keep a big computer file on the subject, which will someday yield a post all it's own. Yves sent the photograph below, last Friday, wondering 'who is this woman'? By coincidence my pal Josiah showed me the top photo yesterday, while dredging up the contents of his computer files.... most odd that this Madame X should show up twice in a few days, from friends near and far. So, who is she?

Here's what we reckon; these are not posed shots, ie, those are her leathers, and look too functional to be merely sexy props for a photo shoot. In truth, the rider in the top photo can barely be discerned as a 'she'. The two photos may have been taken at the same time, as she has switched motorcycles between photo #1 and #2; the fellow with the checkerboard pudding basin is riding 'her' BMW R69 with the parcel rack and the Hoske aftermarket petrol tank in the lower pic. It appears he has a passenger awaiting a ride... who is somewhat androgynous, but I'll venture it's a female as well. I'm very curious about their story, and what relationship the be-suited fellows watching might have to the action - dealers? Writers? Photographers?

Clearly, Madame X is a dedicated BMW afficianado, with an enamel tank badge affixed to her helmet. The two R69 BMWs (not 'S' models, but 1960ish as they have the 'coffee can' taillights), have two iterations of aftermarket petrol tanks; in the lower photo 'she' is astride a bike with a more curvaceous Heinrich tank and rubber shock gaiters - very sporty. I've owned a few of these fast Teutonic tourers, which look fabulous and sleek in these pix, with low bars, touring tanks, alloy rims, etc. Both have the comfortable Schorsch Meier 'bench' seats as well, and look ready for a quick blast across the Continent, with near 100mph cruising speed.
I know the 'Girl on a Motorcycle' rode a Harley Sportster...but can we find Madame X?


UPDATE:
Two hours later, through the beauty of the internet, we know she is a German woman, who managed to buy some of the very first BMW R69 and R69S models, and raced them at Nurburgring and Hockenheim until women were banned from these tracks. The earliest photos I've seen show her with an R67/3, which dates to the mid-50s. Her outfits varied, but it was always leather head to toe, with heavier gear such as the top photo for winter (with a large kidney belt), and lighter one-piece racing suits for summer. She attended many Elephant Rallies, and it's claimed that she invented the diagonal zip on her one-piece leathers, many years before Emma Peel made this famous... But we still don't have her NAME.
UPDATE #2:
It's a toss up; two claimants to the name have appeared: Ellen Pfeiffer, who founded WIMA in Europe in 1958, and Anke-Eve Goldmann, who remains a mystery....

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Telegram...Please send picture of leather-clad woman on BMW to my wife...tell her French maid and nurse outfits no longer necessary...stop.

Anonymous said...

Sir, I am pleased to find old acquaintances in your fotostream: the unlucky Horex factory twin, the Velocette 350, and the BMW RS54. Happy memories!
Regards, Enthusiasticus

Anonymous said...

"Girl on a Motorcycle" rode an Electra Glide 1200, not some some sissy Sportster.
Great site as always.

Anonymous said...

Could it also be Anke-eva Goldman?
Someone on the yahoo/2 group posted this link
http://www.flickr.com/photos/senex_1347/
with some of the same pictures

vintagent said...

It seems we've found her; Anka-Eve Goldmann. Thanks for the prompt; a little more research turned up a Cycle World article.

Anonymous said...

these may be some more pictures of Anke-Eve
http://www.flickr.com/photos/30685556@N07/sets/72157608208114238/

vintagent said...

Indeed that's her; I'm about to revamp the whole story- I've found pix up to the mid-70's on an MV Agusta! Trying to find her in person...

Anonymous said...

Finding this story was a true treat. Thank you!

I was going to comment that "Girl on a Motorcycle" was stuck on an early road sofa, not lucky enough to be on Harleys race bike, aka the Sportster, but it seems a couch rider beat me to it.

Gary Inman and Ben Part said...

Sorry to dispel the myth, but Marianne Faithful 'naked under leather' didn't actually ride the Electra Glide in Girl On A Motorcycle, she was confined to just straddling it on a low-loader. All the (real) riding scenes were done by GP ace Billy Ivy wearing a blond wig.

BP

vintagent said...

Ben, are you sure the riding wasn't done my Mike Duff? ;)