Monday, December 17, 2012

The S.E. Rochelle Reliability Run

Every Spring in Durham
Pictured: SE Rochelle and Wife, Durham, NC circa 1920something.
In April 2013, Ton Up N*C presented the SE Rochelle Reliability Run as a 100 year tribute tribute to S.E. Rochelle's contribution to North Carolina's motorcycle heritage. Here were the details:

1913 & 2013 Reliability Run
Vintage Motorbikes (1969 and Older) from all over the world will started and finished in Durham, NC  via Greensboro, NC (Natty Greene's Brewery). A 120 mile low speed round-trip ride through the Carolina countryside. The ultimate two-wheel attrition test of mechanic and machine. Awards were given to the oldest motorbikes successfully completing the ride. Categories included: British, German, Italian, American, Japanese and Scooter


Saturday Morning April 6th, 2013
-Launch Location Motorco in Durham, NC: Kickstands Up
-Arrive at Greensboro lunch location
-Return to Durham, NC

1) Motorbike must start and finish under own power.
2) Motorbike age determined by manufacturer year, month and serial number.
3) Mechanical stops are allowed but tools an supplies must be stowed on motorbike.
4) This is NOT a race and all local, State and Federal laws must be followed.
5) Route to be posted to pre-registrants
6) Pre-register with name, year, make and model of motorcycle by emailing
Inside Rochelle's Durham shop (photo courtesy of Durham Library).
Sidney Edgar Rochelle (1878-1960) was a veteran, a business man and most importantly to us, a motorcycle enthusiast from Durham, NC, the place a handful of us Ton Up NC boys call home. From 1910 to 1954, SE Rochelle owned and operated the local Harley Davidson/Henderson/Indian dealership formerly located on the corner of Parrish and Corcoran St (and later on Mangum St.) in Durham. This was North Carolina's first Harley Davidson Dealership.

Rochelle not only provided the Durham motorcyclists with bikes, he created a motorcycle community in ways ranging from his promotion of motorcycle related attractions at the local amusement park, to the organization of a riding club and many local versions of the AMA sanctioned Gypsy Day Tour rides. Rochelle's Gypsy Day rides consisted of a round trip from Durham to Greensboro and back. Rochelle's club also traveled all over the USA.
Outside the old shop on Parrish Street, SE Rochelle is 2nd from right. (photo courtesy Durham Library).
Chad and I outside the old 208 Parrish Street location of Rochelle's old shop. It is Dos Perros restaurant now.
Whirl of Death motordome at Lakewood Park in Durham (photo courtesy of Durham Library).

Rochelle's Durham Gypsy Day Tour ride circa 1923  at Trinity College now Duke University.
(photo courtesy of Durham Library)

Durham motorcyclists band together (photo courtesy of Durham Library).
SE Rochelle and his motorcycle club circa 1910 (photo courtesy of Durham Library).
For more information on SE Rochelle, visit the Endangered Durham website, to which I am indebted for much of my knowledge about Mr. Rochelle.

Ton Up NC = Riding, Restoration and Racing of Vintage Motorcycles

Updated: 2/5/2014

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