This picture, dated 1906, the year my grandfather married, seems to show him at the beginning of a motorcycle race. He worked as the principal engineer at the Neckarsulm Motorcycle Works near Munich, Germany. He had recently received an engineering degree in Munich and he was among the first to embrace the new automobile and motorcycle technologies. I also have a photograph of him and his motor launch, powered by a gas engine.

I also have his books about the pioneering years of German aviation before the first World War. Between the years 1906 and his enlistment in WW I, he worked at Neckarsulm, engineering the new technological developments and also 'field' demonstrating the motorcycles to prospective customers. Note that his racing bike has a horn but no headlight.

Is this the world's first offroad motorcycle? By world's first offroad motorcycle, I mean the first bike re-engineered and optimized specifically for offroad use. The modifications include a spiral wrapping of the driven tire, and a brush-clearing front fender device. This device apparently retractably clamps out from the front fender, and has a spring-mounted front bumper part intended to protect the front wheel from brush and other obstacles.

It would not be surprising if this were the first such offroad motorcycle. My grandfather was a qualified engineer working at one of the first established motorcycle factories. He would have had access to the sheet-metal, fabrication, paint, and engine shops and it was his job to engineer new models. And racing was evidently part of the agenda.

The Megola Sport model from 1922 that I illustrate here is not my grandfather's. By 1922 he was already manufacturing automobiles under his own name, but he would surely have been interested in the technological developments represented by this amazing machine.


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