My reason for heading to Columbus for the second weekend in a row was a blues benefit but I left home in time to visit the American Motorcycle Association Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame lies a dozen miles east of downtown Columbus just off of I-70. I had often seen the signs and often thought of stopping but never seemed to have the time. Today I planned my drive to include the museum and discovered my timing couldn't have been much better. The Hall of Fame gallery and a couple of major displays had been unveiled just three days ago.
The Hall of Fame is part of a rather pretty campus that includes AMA offices. Both buildings and grounds are attractive. Some of the plentiful motorcycle parking is covered and there are even marked handicapped spots. A replica of Gottlieb Daimler's Reitwagen, the first gasoline powered motorcycle, stands at the entrance to the main display areas. There are eight such areas: Design & Engineering, Ambassadors & Industry, Dirt-Track, , Motocross & Supercross, Off-Road, Roadracing, Specialty Competition, and Leadership & Rights. With few exceptions, the motorcycles and other items on display are there to illustrate the stories of the men and women who are members of the Hall of Fame. The 1930 Henderson Four adds some color to the stories of the pioneering Henderson brothers, Thomas & William, and of Ignaz Schwinn, who purchased the Henderson Motorcycle Company in 1917. It is one of the last Hendersons built before Ignaz dropped motorcycles to concentrate on, yep, bicycles. The 1961 Honda Rc161 wasn't Honda's first racing bike but it was the one that brought track success to Soichiro Honda and to rider Mike Hailwood. Craig Vetter's work with aerodynamics is shown in the pair of streamlined cycles. The 1914 Harley-Davidson factory racer sold for more that $1500 at a time when a brand new Model T Ford was about $550.
At the rear of the line of motorcycles in the second photo in the third row is this two-cycle Harley-Davidson ridden, with great success, in off-road competition by Leroy Winters. Earl Bowlby rode this 1967 BSA 650 to many hillclimb victories and Dave Barr rode this 1972 Harley-Davidson Super Glide around the world after losing both legs to a landmine.
The "Glory Days" sculpture anchors the brand new Hall of Fame Gallery. Downstairs, lots of motorcycles built at the recently closed Honda factory in nearby Marysville form another new display. The red CR250R, built September 10, 1979, was the first from the factory; The 1996 Gl1500 Gold Wing was the one millionth. The Whizzer like (check out the pedal driven chain) Triumph is displayed near the entrance. I could find no placard or other information so do not know its age.
This is a really class operation. I should have stopped here sooner.
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