Massey-Harris Bicycles Built for Two

A Minnesota couple shares passion for century-plus Massey-Harris bicycles.

| November 2017

  • This Massey-Harris CCM Motorbike was manufactured in 1933.
    Photos by Bill Vossler and Nikki Rajala
  • Silk cords covered moving parts on this 1897 Model B Massey-Harris CCM bicycle, preventing ladies’ long skirts from catching in the chain or spokes.
    Photos by Bill Vossler and Nikki Rajala
  • Renowned cyclist Tom Finnigan rode a Massey-Harris bicycle to win the 1898 Austral Wheelrace before a crowd estimated at more than 20,000.
    Photos by Bill Vossler and Nikki Rajala
  • When Roger Goodrich and Peggy Eisenbraun display their Massey-Harris bicycles at shows, they hang them on walls inside a building. Roger rarely rides his antique bicycles. “I don’t want to create a problem with them,” he says.
    Photos by Bill Vossler and Nikki Rajala
  • An ad in a Massey-Harris catalog showed the many ways bicycles could be enjoyed.
    Photo by Farm Collector archives
  • A collapsible drinking cup with a bicycle motif, part of Roger and Peggy’s memorabilia collection.
    Photos by Bill Vossler and Nikki Rajala
  • Massey-Harris bicycle handles and seats were formed of leather and rubber. Other materials were more exotic, like handle grips made from ivory. As shown here, wood was also used.
    Photos by Bill Vossler and Nikki Rajala
  • After 1899, this logo appeared on all Massey-Harris bicycles, which at that point were manufactured by Canada Cycle & Motor Co.
    Photos by Bill Vossler and Nikki Rajala
  • An early tire pump.
    Photos by Bill Vossler and Nikki Rajala
  • The design of this 1897 Massey-Harris bicycle seat is remarkably similar to seats on some of today’s road bikes.
    Photos by Bill Vossler and Nikki Rajala
  • Peggy Eisenbraun and Roger Goodrich with their very rare Massey-Harris bicycle, a Model 6 built in 1898. Roger says most people are surprised to learn that Massey-Harris was once in the bicycle business.
    Photos by Bill Vossler and Nikki Rajala
  • In this ad, Massey-Harris bicycles are being used by the military.
    Image courtesy Bill Vossler
  • The cover of this Massey-Harris bicycle catalog shows a pair of youngsters looking through a window, with the question, “What are they looking at? Guess.”
    Photo by Farm Collector archives

One day in 2007, Roger Goodrich asked his mate, Peggy Eisenbraun, if they shouldn’t start collecting Massey-Harris bicycles instead of adding to the 150 Massey-Harris tractors he had collected through the years. “I started collecting Massey-Harris tractors in about 1990 because we’d had some on the farm when I was growing up,” Roger says.

The challenge of collecting Massey-Harris bicycles was intriguing. “The decision wasn’t that difficult,” Roger says, “considering the problems of keeping tractors in running shape and transporting them to shows. And we both thought it would be easier.”

But everything is relative. “Easier means it’s not as heavy and bulky as tractors,” Peggy notes. “But it’s not easy transporting the bicycles, which are light and small. You have to be careful when you’re packing them not to catch fenders, break or bend spokes and keep the lace guards intact. You have to be more careful and precise in how you put them in a trailer.”

When transporting bicycles to shows, the couple wraps up each one like a newborn baby. “We tie them to the walls of a box trailer so they won’t bounce around and scratch each other,” Peggy says. “We use blankets, quilts, Styrofoam padding – whatever we can find to keep them from rubbing against each other.”



The bicycle buddy system

Once the couple made the decision to collect bicycles, they shifted into high gear. But antique two-wheelers don’t exactly grow on trees. Roger found the first one through an Internet search. About two months later, he found another online. After that, it was very slow going. Since Massey-Harris was a Canadian company, Roger reasoned the bicycles might be easier to find in Canada, so the couple went to a tractor show in Canada. There, they found what they were looking for – and more.

“We’ve made some very dear friends in Canada,” Roger says. “They hear about bikes and pass word to us. We’ve been introduced to people who know a lot about the bicycles and they’ll hand us off to people we’ve never met, and we become friends with them. It’s great when we gain more knowledge from those friends, because it’s extremely difficult to find information on Massey-Harris bicycles.”



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