At the beginning of last century, Erwin “Cannon Ball” Baker did many cross-country motorcycle rides that earned him his nickname. One his most famous rides was his 1914 3,388 miles coast to coast ride from San Diego to New-York completed in 11 1/2 days, nine days faster than the previous record (it’s an average of 300 miles a day on an Indian producing less than 10 horsepower!).
Don Emde, AMA Hall Of Famer, 1972 Daytona 200 winner and Editor of Parts Magazine will trace Erwin Cannonball Baker route by riding as much of Baker’s actual route as possible. Some roads may have disappeared, so Don will take current roads when necessary.
The plan is for him and a staff writer to ride Baker’s 1914 route in segments to allow time to research the current and previous routes and local information for each area. And consequently his ride will take more than 11 1/2 days, probably continuing into 2012.
Don Emde and partner will ride a KTM 990 Adventure bike, and to demonstrate Erwin “Cannonball” Baker outstanding accomplishment they also plan to recreate some of his riding situations using a period Indian motorcycle provided by the Fred Fox Collection. (top picture collection of Dom Emde)
Baker set 143 driving records from the 1910s through the 1930s. He normally rode for sponsor manufacturers, guaranteeing them “no record, no money” He died of a heart attack in Indianapolis, Indiana on May 10, 1960 at age 78.