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September 7, 2013

1962 Matchless Pathfinder a fine first ride for resident

(Continued)

NORMAN —

Wimer had to dazzle his Adair and Pryor cousins with the Matchless. That’s a 750-mile one-way trip from Carlsbad in the Chihuahuan desert to the tiny burgs in Mayes County. Wimer’s mom, Lenora, suggested she ride with him on the motorcycle for the visit to her Okie brothers and sisters.

“My mom and dad are old school; when driving up to Oklahoma every year for vacation, we’d never stay in a motel,” Wimer said. “It was 14 hours in the car all the way through. If Dad would get sleepy, he’d pull over and snooze for a while and then go.”

The family tradition carried on. With Lenora on the saddle behind him, Wimer rode straight through on the single-cylinder motorcycle to Oklahoma.

“I was wore out when we got there,” he said. “We couldn’t really go over 55 mph.”

On the return trip back to New Mexico after a time, Wimer could barely keep his eyes open and the weather took a cold snap. He’d injured his heels playing football with the cousins, which also took a toll. About 80 miles out, his dad came to the rescue with their truck and took over riding the Matchless on the last leg home.

Wimer’s love affair with motorcycles wasn’t diminished after the Carlsbad to Adair marathon. At one time he had seven different bikes but never parted with that first Matchless.

“One of the things I like about my Matchless is that the gearing is just right, so you don’t have to feather the clutch to take off,” Wimer said. “It has a good, low gear.”

On the 1962 Pathfinder, the clutch lever is on the right-side handle bar and the brake lever is on the left.

Since those days, the levers on all bikes have been standardized to the opposite. There’s a steel needle on the gear pedal indicating which of the four speeds you’re in, but you have to peep down by the crankcase to see it.

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