Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Motorcycle Hall of Fame

by Erica Blocher

I step onto the motorcycle, and slide onto the shiny leather seat. I pull on the heavy brown jacket and position my fingers on the handles, ready to hear the verve of the engine and humming vibrations as the motorcycle roars to life. Vroom….vroom…

Alas, I am not really preparing to ride a motorcycle, but perusing the Motorcycle Hall of Fame certainly put this picture into my mind. The Motorcycle Hall of Fame is truly a motorcycle owner and enthusiast’s Mecca, boasting over 100 motorcycles of various kinds and decades; I would know because I personally counted them as I wandered through. The museum is located near a residential neighborhood in Pickerington, Ohio, (Fairfield county).

There are vintage, specialty, and motocross bikes housed in the museum. Visitors are not allowed to touch the bikes but are allowed to take pictures. As a photography enthusiast, I took the liberty of taking pictures of various motorcycles; including Keith Urban’s blue and white 2007 Vengence.

This first floor has the “MotoStars: Celebrities and Motorcycles” collection that has over 50 motorcycles from famous people and celebrities, as well as notable movie props and memorabilia. For instance, there was the Scrambler 900 motorcycle that Tom Cruise rode in the movie MI-3, and a motorcycle sporting a Journey theme that was custom made for band member Neil Schon.

This floor also has unique memorabilia in glass cases, including famous celebrities’ mementos from movies featuring motorcycles such as The Fast and Furious, Torque and other big-name Hollywood hits. A quaint gift/memorabilia shop that sports t-shirts and other motorcycle themed products is also located on the first floor.

I ambled down to the second floor and found myself amid the Motorcycle Hall of Fame feature collection; “Awesome-ness”, which was a compilation of handcrafted motorcycles made by the famed motorcycle builder and activist Arlen Ness, who was inducted into the Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 1992. The collection chronicles his life, when he built his first motorcycle back in the 1960s to modern times. His more popular builds are showcased, including the “Top Banana,” “Smooth-Ness”, “Jet Bike” and his 1957 Chevy inspired bike called the “Ness-Staglia.” Other famous Hall of Famers include Peter Fonda, Steve McQueen and Jay Leno.

The rest of the second floor had a “garage” type of setting and is dedicated to popular motorcycle makers such Harley-Davidson. This section also had an impressive tribute to dirt bikes. The collection highlighted a display with a variety of bikes over multiple decades and recorded the history and evolution of dirt bikes that originated during the early 20th century. I learned that not only did the bike first emerge at this time, but the idea of racing also began simultaneously. Pictures of young men in newsboy hats and 1920s clothing atop old dirt bikes were fascinating. I liked that little history lessons on prominent motorcycle figures/ activists and racing background were included in the museum.

My favorite reward for visiting the museum was the photo op. The museum lets visitors hop onto a mounted bike and get their photograph taken, wearing a leather jacket and glasses. The bike is the same one that actor Will Smith rode in the movie I-Robot.

Aside from feeling badass for about 5 minutes of my very straight-laced life, I couldn’t believe that shiny leather seat was the same exact one that held Will Smith’s shapely derriere at one point. Talk about motorcycle bliss.!

1 comment:

Sight Seer said...

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