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The heart of California's Central Valley--from Lodi, Stockton, and Tracy through Modesto, Oakdale, and Turlock--embraced motorcycling from the beginning of the sport and lifestyle. Eleven riders from the region are in the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) Hall of Fame, spanning every decade from the 1900s. The popularity of bicycling in the 1890s led to early motorcycle shops, riders, and champion racers in the 1900-1910s. Area motorcycle club recreational rides and field meets started in 1914. Central Valley police departments were among the first to develop motorcycle traffic units in the 1920s, before the California Highway Patrol. Early racing venues such as repurposed bicycle velodromes, college stadiums, and horse tracks were expanded when the Lodi Cycle Bowl was developed in the 1950s; it gave newcomers such as Modesto's Kenny Roberts and Stockton's Alex Jorgensen, Chris Carr, and Fred Merkel--all now AMA Hall of Famers--a track at which to compete weekly.

Motorcycling in California's Central Valley By Dave Stuart and Stewart Barber

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