Motorcycles have thrilled Americans since the 1800’s when the ingenious inventor Sylvester Roper first introduced the steam powered, two wheel vehicle which was to be the genesis for today’s modern motorcycle.
Of course it looked much different than the motorcycles of today. It had a metal wheels, a chimney that extended from the rear of the bike and a boiler that had to be fed charcoal in order for the bike to self propel.
The bike that sparked so much fervor in Roper would eventually contribute to his death, which occurred in June of 1896 on Boston’s “Charles River Bicycle Racetrack.”
Roper’s legend lives on thanks to motorcycle manufacturers, the people that live to ride them and the museum’s who pay homage to motorcycle history like the “National Motorcycle Museum” in Anamosa, Iowa.
What follows is a speedy summary of what visitors to this monument of America’s love affair with the motorcycles can expect to find there.
Exhibits at the “National Motorcycle Museum” are sure to bring back memories for both die hard motorcycle fans and novice’s alike.
There are over 300 motorcycles in the museum’s collection and they have been organized into ten distinct displays organized around definite themes.
Displays with wide universal appeal include an authentic “Captain America” bike from the 1969 movie classic, “Easy Rider”, countless motorcycle movie posters and extensive items relating to daredevil extraordinaire, Evil Knievel. One of the more unusual Evil Knievel items on display is a copy of his x-rays.
Other notable museum items that would be of interest to die hard motorcycle enthusiasts include a 1903 “Indian Camel Back”, 1904 “Rambler”, 1906 “Curtis Twin Motor”, 1910 “Harley Davidson Single”, 1938 “Crocker”, 1947 “Indian Chief”, 1951 “Sunbeam”, 1952 “Vincent Rapide”, 1974 “Malcom Smith Husqvarna” and a 1946 “Knucklehead Drag Bike.”
Custom pedal cars from yesteryear that were made to resemble airplanes, trucks, motorcycles and classic cars are also part of the “National Motorcycle Museum’s” collection.
In addition to the vintage motorcycles, motorcycle movie memorabilia and custom pedal cars, the “National Motorcycle Museum” features rare bicycles from the 1900’s and a deluge of rare, antique toys.
Hours of Operation
As of 2011 the “National Motorcycle Museum” is open daily, year round, with hours of operation varying by season.
During the months of November through March it is open from 9:00 am until 5:00 pm, Monday through Saturday and on Sunday from 10:00 am until 4:00 pm.
The “National Motorcycle Museum” changes its hours of operation during the month of April through October to 9:00 am until 5:00 pm daily.
Admission to the “National Motorcycle Museum” is presently $8 per person ages 12 and older. There are discounts for select motorcycle clubs, groups and senior citizens. Children less than 12 years of age are gratis when accompanied by a paying adult.
As admission fees, hours of operation and exhibits are subject to change, would be visitors are heartily encouraged to contact the museum staff directly to reconfirm all details prior to trip departure.
National Motorcycle Museum
102 Chamber Drive
Anamosa, IA 52205
AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame, “Sylvester Roper” AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame
National Motorcycle Museum, “Plan a Visit” National Motorcycle Museum