Tidewater Motorcycle
25th Street and Huntington Avenue, Newport News, VA 23607


1955 Anchor, p. 168  

 I am a bit surprised that no one has memories of Tidewater Motorcycle that was located at 25th Street and Huntington Avenue.
If you think it might qualify for Our Old Stomping Grounds, it is likely to invoke some memories of our old hometown.
They had a bicycle repair shop, and sold new bicycles as well.
As a newspaper carrier and Western Union Delivery Boy I could rely upon the bicycle repairmen
to keep me in business, when the repairs exceeded my knowledge or my small collection of tools.
Stopping to have repairs was a treat, because you could browse among the marvelous Harley-Davidson machines
on display for sale.  They were such beautiful machines.
Even more exciting would be the departure of one of Newport News Finest roaring off
on a repaired police patrol motorcycle to get back on patrol.
The Newport News Police Department had quite a fleet of motorcycles used for patrol and law enforcement,
and they were repaired in kept in top shape by the folks at Tidewater Motorcycle.
The Patrolmen assigned to this elite group of law enforcement officers had rather distinct swagger,
or maybe riding a motorcycle is much like riding a horse all day if you a cowboy.
But, I rather thought it was also the same swagger I noticed from pilots flying off the USS BOXER (LPH-4).
These Patrolmen also wore their caps in a crushed condition, before they started wearing the helmets.
I suppose they crushed their caps so they would not blow off their heads, but it gave them a distinctive appearance,
along with the motorcycle boots and riding britches, and leather jackets. They meant business and everyone knew it.
These Officers always appeared impatient while waiting for their assigned motorcycle to be tuned or repaired,
and always gave the engine a reviving up when departing, leaving in a roar.

-  Joe Madagan  ('57) of FL - 10/13/04
Thanks, Joe!

Okay, Joe, you started this.
Tidewater Motorcycle was indeed a wonderful place.
And being in there at an early age probably led to my later acquaintance with Harleys.
But my first experience with Tidewater involved a Cushman Scooter.
My dad purchased one to be used at the Esso station for runs to the parts store and for delivering cars.
Before the three-wheel scooter came along we had to use two employees to deliver cars after we had serviced them.
After the scooter arrived I would hitch it to the rear bumper of the customers car and go to their business or residence.
Then I drove the scooter back to the station.
It's hard to tell how many miles I put on that thing in the afternoons after school.

As for the "crush" on the hats, my understanding is that was derived
from the pilots and crewman in the Army Air Force during WWII.
After flying 50 missions in combat the pilots would remove the metal band from the inside top of their hat,
crush the sides down, and would ever after be viewed as very cool by other guys yet to achieve that milestone.
That did indeed spill over to the motorcycle guys in Newport News.

- Dave Arnold ('65) of VA - 10/15/04
Thanks, Dave!  Joe said this page would spark some activity, and as usual, he's right!

I bought the first bicycle that I had to pay for at Tidewater Motorcycle.
Dad would take me uptown every Saturday morning to pay for my papers at the Daily Press building
and then we would walk down 25th Street to Tidewater Motorcycle so I could make the payment.
Bucky Glenn and I would pick up our papers at Bunn's Texaco on the corner of 25th and ????.

- Jimmy Todd ('63) of AL - 10/15/04
Thanks, Jimmy!  What a neat memory!

OK, the short wav file of a cycle pulling away is nice,
but don't you want a recognizable motorcycle song?

- Dave Spriggs ('64) of VA - 10/17/04
Why, certainly, David!  Thanks so much!  It's perfect, as always.

David, thanks for the postcard of Antines. I loved that place. If I remember correctly, it was not
far from Tidewater Motorcycle. When I was thirteen, and pink and black were popular, Id get all
duded up in my black leather motorcycle jacket and snap jack blue suede shoes with my pink shirt
with the collar turned up and take the bus from Southampton all the way to Newport News and hang out
at the Harley shop and at Antine's. Then, Id go to the Saturday matinee up on Washington Avenue.
Boy, times were simpler then.

- Chandler Nelms (HHS - '63) of MD - 10/10/05
Amen to that!  Thanks, Chandler!

Born To Run

(Bruce Springsteen)

In the day we sweat it out in the streets of a runaway American dream
At night we ride through mansions of glory in suicide machines
Sprung from cages out on highway 9,
Chrome wheeled, fuel injected
and steppin' out over the line
Baby this town rips the bones from your back
It's a death trap, it's a suicide rap
We gotta get out while we're young
`Cause tramps like us, baby we were born to run

Wendy let me in I wanna be your friend
I want to guard your dreams and visions
Just wrap your legs 'round these velvet rims
and strap your hands across my engines
Together we could break this trap
We'll run till we drop, baby we'll never go back
Will you walk with me out on the wire
`Cause baby I'm just a scared and lonely rider
But I gotta find out how it feels
I want to know if love is wild
girl I want to know if love is real

Beyond the Palace hemi-powered drones scream down the boulevard
The girls comb their hair in rearview mirrors
And the boys try to look so hard
The amusement park rises bold and stark
Kids are huddled on the beach in a mist
I wanna die with you Wendy on the streets tonight
In an everlasting kiss

The highway's jammed with broken heroes on a last chance power drive
Everybody's out on the run tonight
but there's no place left to hide
Together Wendy we'll live with the sadness
I'll love you with all the madness in my soul
Someday girl I don't know when
we're gonna get to that place
Where we really want to go
and we'll walk in the sun
But till then tramps like us
baby we were born to run


Words and Music by Terry Taylor and Jerry Chamberlain, 1993

Going places
in our crash helmets
Accidents happen
but for now we're alive on our

Sliding on wet roads
turning sharp corners
we almost lost it
but still we go around on our

Today is our last day
the first and only day
we went out in the dark and
came back again

Getting older,
we've run some red lights
none of us are safe, no
might not even be remembered on our

But we were still honest
even when no one was looking
Hard to breathe easy with
nay-sayers on the sidecar of our

You've broken a couple of legs
I've broken a heart or two
but we loved each other and came back again

And to our dear dead dears
if there's anywhere to be, then
you must be there
And to our dear dead dears
If there's anything to know, then
you must know it
down here below it, we're
heading for the very same dead end
Stop lights and crash sights
and meeting again
Going places
in our crash helmets
Accidents happen
but for now we're alive on our motorcycle

Going places (round and round we go)
Going places (round and round we go)...
Going places

"Born to Run" lyrics courtesy of http://www.xs4all.nl/~maroen/engels/lyrics/borntoru.htm,
 at the suggestion of Dave Spriggs ('64) of VA - 10/17/04
Thanks, Dave!

"MotorCycle" lyrics courtesy of http://www.danielamos.com/da/motorcycle/motorcycle.html - 10/13/04

[Page created 10/13/04 at the suggestion of Joe Madagan ('57) of FL - 10/13/04]

"Born to Run" midi courtesy of http://tinpan.fortunecity.com/tricky/230/midis/pop/born_to_run.mid
at the suggestion of Dave Spriggs ('64) of VA - 10/17/04
Thanks, Dave!

"Born to Run" lyrics courtesy of http://www.xs4all.nl/~maroen/engels/lyrics/borntoru.htm,
also at the suggestion of Dave Spriggs ('64) of VA - 10/17/04
Thanks again, Dave!

Chain Link clip art courtesy of http://pub29.bravenet.com/resources/clipart - 08/08/03

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