These two publications used words like Battle of Hollister and 4,000 Drunken Cyclist (in fact we know only about 40-60 drunken arrest were made with most just spending the night sleeping it off). The LA Times reported that an undetermined amount of jail sentences were handed out (nobody to this day has been able to find a record of anyone receiving jail time or anything more than a fine or a night in lock up). These articles were published on July 6th and 7th and Life magazine hit stands July 21st. If we really want to look somewhere to place blame for the hysteria or even to put congratulations for the imagine then the one who gets overlooked is Frank Rooney. Frank Rooney wrote “The Cyclist Raid” in 1949 for Harper’s Magazine. Frank’s writing took a lottttttt of liberties in describing the event and was combined more with the “Riverside Riots” of ‘49 (another motorcycle tour that ended in “Chaos”). Rooney wrote of the chain wielding hooligans and the death that followed ( one person did die, but it was 75 miles away from the Riverside Rally).
Rooney’s work is the main influence for Stanley Kramer’s “The Wild One”, making Frank Rooney more instrumental in the creation of the “Riot” Myth i’d argue than Barney Peterson, but we could debate that without Peterson’s photo, there is no Rooney book. It also goes without debate that “The Wild One” (which had technical advisers from two legendary MCs) created much of the rebel image that we grew out of and associate with the 50’s and 60s style of biker. Depending on your attitude or train of thought you were either Johnny or Chino. One of the first widely published motorcyclist magazines was known as … wait for it….. Motorcyclist Magazine haha, had a editor by the name of Paul Brokaw who wrote an angry letter to Life magazine for what he called irresponsible journalism. Paul is pointed out by scholars William Dulaney and Daniel Wolf as most likely being responsible for the thought to be AMA statement of the “One Percent”. The AMA never issued the statement, however two widely circulated letters to large newspapers were wrote by people that held AMA Membership, one being Paul, and both letters condemned the small segment of motorcyclist putting a stain on their reputation as good cyclists…He also laid the blame at “mercenary minded bar keeps, who wanted nothing but money” for encouraging these hooligans….