Bicycle Mobile Hams of America

BMHA is an Adventure Cycling Association
 affiliated club

Our Founder
Hartley Alley NA0A
(Silent Key 2001)

About Hartley


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Hartley R. Alley, NA0A

Our BMHA Founder -- Hartley Alley

 Hartley Alley had four careers: professional musician, university professor, magazine photographer, and manufacturer of bicycle touring equipment.  We know him most for his founding the BMHA in 1989.

 Hartley and his wife Jean often worked as a team In the 50's and 60's they free-lanced as a writer-photographer team, working assignments for such magazines as Time, Sports Illustrated, Woman's Day, and Seventeen.  They are the authors of three travel picture books.

 By 1965 they had become avid bicycle riders, and yearly used to make bike tours in Britain and Europe.  In 1970 they moved to Boulder and turned their biking hobby into a business by opening the Touring Cyclist Shop, a mail-order company that designed and manufactured bicycle touring packs.  Hartley holds a patent for his design of panniers.

 In 1971 Hartley founded, and for 10 years directed, the Bicycle Touring program for the Boulder chapter of the Colorado Mountain Club.  In addition to leading numerous tours for the CMC, the Alleys bike-toured many times in Europe, and once even in China.

 In 1984 they retired, to more-or-less full-time bike riding.  But in good time they were jolted out of retirement by an assignment to do a book titled "COLORADO CYCLING GUIDE".  This book guides cyclists through 33 bicycle tours that cover most of the state of Colorado.

 In 1987 Hartley fulfilled a boyhood dream by bicycling to his 50th high school reunion --- a 2,200-mile solo ride from Boulder to Lynn, Mass.  His use of a ham radio on this trip led to his founding in 1989 the Bicycle Mobile Hams of America, a nation-wide club of bicyclists who carry ham radios on their bikes for communication in emergencies and in routine along-the-road situations.

 The early days and WW2

 This author's resources don't go into Hartley's boyhood or early studies, but he started out with a strong interest in music.  From 1939-41 he majored in Music at Miami University (Oxford, OH).  Then World War II came along, and Hartley was a Corporal in the US Air Force 610th Band.  In 1945, he saw combat with the 45th Infantry Division in Germany, receiving the Purple Heart.

 A history of music

 After WW 2, Hartley majored in music (Trombone) at Juilliard School of Music and Columbia University, earning a BA and MS.  This led to a career as a musician in New York City, writing arrangements for various big bands and acts, including Mickey Rooney.

 1950-1955 Hartley taught music and was the band director first at Hagerstown NM High School, and later at Denison University, in Granville, Ohio.

 During WW 2, Hartley served in an Air Force band and later in the 45th Infantry Division in Germany, where he was awarded the Purple Heart.

 Bike touring and riding

 In 1970, Hartley founded and co-owned the Touring cyclist Shop in Boulder, creating a line of nationally known bicycle touring packs.  Certified as an Effective Cycling instructor, and founded bicycle touring, for the Boulder Group of the Colorado Mountain Club.  In 1974, Hartley coached the FAC Racing Team (USCF), and was a member of the Colorado Governor's council on Health Promotion and Physical Fitness in 1983-84.

 During this time, Hartley bicycle-toured annual in the US and Europe, making separate tours in England, Ireland, Scotland, Holland, Belgium, France, Germany, and even China.


 Hartley founded the BMHA in 1989, with 'Stray' in the June '89 QST magazine asking to "get in touch with hams who operate their radios while bicycle-mobile".  From there it was booths at the Dayton Hamvention and watching the club grow from 25 or so initial members to about 400 people.

 Although Hartley had many contributors, he guided the BMHA single-handedly until developing frailness forced him to hand over creation of the January 2000 newsletter to a loose coalition of interested members.  Since then, the club's website has grown slightly, but we have not had newsletters.

 In June, new officers were appointed to relieve Hartley, and in September we found a newsletter editor -- now bringing you this biography in his first edition.

Read Hartley's obituary

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