History is an amazing subject to study and see how it all started. The history of motorcycles is truly amazing. Did you know that the first motorcycle to make its debut was built in 1868 by Sylvester Howard Roper? His motorized bicycle was fashioned after the “safety bicycles” that used a front and rear wheel of the same size and a pedal crank mechanism to drive the rear wheel. The frame and chassis of the bike were fashioned after the “bone-crusher”.
Roper’s motorcycle wasn't powered by a gas engine as we know today, but instead he powered his bike with steam. The machine was powered by a charcoal-fired two-cylinder engine. Unfortunately, Roper’s motorized bike never caught on, but it did inspire many modern features such as the twisting-hand-grip throttle control.
If you love history and enjoy looking at vintage motorcycles I would like to suggest that, you visit a few motorcycle museums this year. So hop on your bike and take a ride down the highway, but make sure you stop at:
- American Classic Motorcycle Museum: If the open road takes you to North Carolina be sure to rest your kickstand at 1170 US Hwy 64 W in Asheboro. Here you can see one of the largest collections of privately owned antique Harley-Davidson motorcycles. The museum has 45 different Harley’s from 1936 to 1978.
- Art in Motion Vintage Motorcycle Museum: Traveling close to the Warm Spring, Georgia? Then this is a must see museum that features the 1902 Marsh (National Winner), 1915 Indian Hendee, 1919 Indian, and many other bikes such as Pope, Bonneville and different racing bikes.
- Kersting’s Cycle Center and Museum; The World of Motorcycles Museum: This is a fun adventure to find the shop and museum in the middle of nowhere Indian. You will find this great vintage shop and museum on Hwy 39, just 4 miles south of North Judson. It doesn’t matter if you are looking for a new bike; need a repair, or just want to see all the bikes from 8 different countries. You must stop and find this shop with nearly 9 decades of history inside.
- Uke’s Towering Above the Rest: If you’re ever in Wisconsin and have never seen a chocolate motorcycle, then you have to stop at 5995 120th Ave (I-94) Kenosha, WI. Here you will have the great pleasure to see original artwork, the wall of tanks and a lot more.
- Sturgis Motorcycle Museum: Next time you visit South Dakota stop on by 999 Main Street, Sturgis, SD to join the people at Sturgis to learn more about motorcycle history and culture. This is a fantastic museum located in the old abandoned church.
From the east coast to the west coast and from down south to up north there is plenty of history in America. The love of motorcycles has never died and so many people want to preserve their history. Next time you decide to kick up your stand, jump on the bike, and take off to explore, try finding some of these great museums across America.