Restored century-old Harley-Davidson makes goodwill tour

Restored century-old Harley-Davidson makes goodwill tour
Helen Lane waves from a vintage 1918 Harley-Davidson, on tour in the United States, thanks to two Frenchman, Pierre Lauvergeat and Christophe de Goulaine. (Photo by Mark Krancer)
Christophe de Goulaine, William Robinson, Pierre Lauvergeat; Florent Pigard, president, Alliance Française, Jacksonville; Ed Coppedge, president, The Propeller Club, Jacksonville; Janice Lorenze, president, The National Huguenot Society, and Percy Rosenbloom, president, Memorial Park Association (Photo by Mark Krancer)

Christophe de Goulaine, William Robinson, Pierre Lauvergeat; Florent Pigard, president, Alliance Française, Jacksonville; Ed Coppedge, president, The Propeller Club, Jacksonville; Janice Lorenze, president, The National Huguenot Society, and Percy Rosenbloom, president, Memorial Park Association (Photo by Mark Krancer)

On June 30, 1564, French Huguenot Captain Rene Goulaine de Laudonniere founded Fort Caroline on the banks of the St. Johns River. He probably didn’t imagine that four and a half centuries later his direct descendent, Christophe de Goulaine, would tour the fort at Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve.

The visit was just one item on a jam-packed agenda in late June as Goulaine and three Frenchman swept through Jacksonville with a restored vintage 1918 Harley-Davidson 1000 18J motorcycle on a U.S. tour to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I.

After World War I, approximately 20,000 motorcycles were left behind by American troops and sold as army surplus. Nearly 10 years ago, Goulaine came across a U.S. Army “hog” in a barn in France. Enlisting the help of vintage motorcycle museum owner and mechanic Pierre Lauvergeat, Goulaine brought the bike back to life and then decided to bring it back to its American roots.

Operation Twin Links, named to honor the tie between American and French soldiers during World War I, was launched from Nantes, France to include a 5,600-mile journey from Mobile, Alabama to San Diego, with stops in Jacksonville and the Harley-Davidson headquarters in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Propeller Club chapters in Mobile, Jacksonville and Nantes – which is Jacksonville’s first Sister City – shipped the motorcycle from Nantes to Mobile, where Goulaine and Lauvergeat began their journey, accompanied by Photo-journalist Olivier Touron and Journalist/Editor Tierry Butzbach.

The Jacksonville agenda included a tour of the lighthouse and maritime museum in St. Augustine, escorted to and from by the Jacksonville Harley-Davidson Hog Club, and a get-together at Adamec Harley Davidson-Baymeadows on June 29. After the June 30 morning tour of Fort Caroline National Memorial, and a meeting with Michael Corrigan, new executive director for Visit Jacksonville, The Propeller Club sponsored a luncheon at Restaurant Orsay, where Riverside resident Tim Tyler displayed a 1911 U.S. Army officer’s wool uniform, hat and other items.

Later that afternoon, the Frenchmen and their hosts, including Joanelle Wood Mulrain, convened at Memorial Park for a photo opportunity. Ortega resident Helen Lane, Memorial Park Association President Percy Rosenbloom of Fairfax Manor, and Propeller Club President Ed Coppedge and his wife, Mary, of Empire Point posed with their French visitors at the statue. Memorial Park was created in 1924 to commemorate the 1,220 Floridians who lost their lives in World War I.

Goulaine and Lauvergeat plan to be back in France to ride up the Champs-Élysées on November 11, 2018, commemorating Armistice Day. Lauvergeat’s grandfather was liberated from the trenches in 1917 and his father from German camps in 1944 by American soldiers.


By Kate A. Hallock
Resident Community News

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