Wolfgang Hammersmith and his wife, Elizabeth Hammersmith, are avid motorcyclists. The pair ride motorcycles manufactured by Harley-Davidson, BMW, Suzuki, and Honda. While operating these motorcycles, they draw on their experiences with other forces found in flying and sailing.
Wolfgang rode his first motorcycle in 1960 at age 10, but had been driving homemade two-wheelers since age 6. Since 1960, he has logged over 2 million miles on 56 different motorcycles.
Motorcycling is an ongoing passion for Wolfgang and Elizabeth. He began his first logbook in 1960 under his father’s direction and enthusiastic insistence and has been logging miles ever since. Wolfgang has also logged a number of continuous rides, defined as stopping only when necessary to eat, sleep or to acquire gas, tire replacements, repairs, or oil. His longest continuous rides are:
9,235 miles: Los Angeles-Miami-Dallas and back via Kansas City; Los Angeles to Austin, Texas and back; Los Angeles to Yosemite and back.
England, Ireland, Western Europe
1,320 miles: London to Wick, Scotland and back.
300 miles: Rotterdam to Dusseldorf and back.
618 miles: Belfast-Dublin-Cork-Rossiare Harbour-Wexford-Oilgate up E01 coast to Belfast.
Coast-to-Coast United States Ride
Approximately 132,000 miles: 22 West-East-West Coast rides leaving Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland, or Seattle and returning on a northern, mid-western, or southern route.
Honda Motorcycle Test Program
For several years, Wolfgang participated in Honda’s test program of prototype motorcycles conducted in the deserts of California. There, Wolfgang and a team of riders dodged the California Highway Patrol as they tested masked prototypes of future release motorcycles at high speeds on a 300-mile circuit. The motorcycles were turned in to Honda’s engineers each evening and the dedicated engineers worked all night to make modifications that were tested by the team the next day. The prototype machines had test engines, some of which never made it into production, but others were the basis for engine modifications of the in-line 750cc, and early concepts of the VTX large twin. The motorcycles were covered with black tape and false plastic panels to disguise what models were being tested.