By Jim Witters
PICKERINGTON, Ohio — Mark Hunnibell stopped by the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame on July 9 with his 1919 Henderson Model Z-2 en route from New York City to San Francisco, retracing the 1919 motorcycle journey of C.K. Shepherd.
Mark Hunnibell with his 1919 Henderson Model Z-2
Shepherd's ride was memorialized in his 1922 book Across America by Motor-Cycle, which Hunnibell has restored and made available again.
So far, he is averaging about 45 mph. And mishaps have been limited to a flat tire, a lost dust cover from the carburetor and, just before arriving at the AMA campus, a sheared clutch pedal.
"I wanted to ride across Reciprocity Bridge near Hopewell, Ohio," Hunnibell said. "The bridge was OK. But the approach was down a grassy hill, and I hit one of the rocks they put in place to keep cars from crossing the bridge."
Support crew member Guillermo Fernandez said he would be trying to weld the clutch pedal onto the bike. If that fails, he will try to fabricate a new one.
"It's been a pretty smooth ride," Hunnibell said.
Hunnibell, a 61-year-old AMA member from Yellow Springs, Ohio, came into possession of the Henderson in 1978. His father gave it to him as a basket case.
After Hunnibell retired in 2018 from his career as an American Airlines captain, he decided to get the Henderson running.
"This is the first motorcycle I've owned," he said. "I got my motorcycle license on a Honda Express when I was about 21 out in California. But I hadn't ridden since then."
In preparation for his cross-country jaunt, Hunnibell bought a Honda CB350 Four and practiced riding it and the Henderson.
Hunnibell's tribute to C.K. Shepherd—an AMA Grand Tour— retraces Shepherd's route as closely as possible.
Those interested can follow the ride at https://acrossamericabymotorcycle.com.