motorcycles

SFO Museum presents Early American Motorcycles

Flying Merkel twin-cylinder racer 1912- courtesy SFO Museum

If we can’t fly anywhere right now, how about a ride on a motorcycle?

A new exhibition by the SFO Museum at San Francisco International Airport (SFO) explores the history of motorcycling from the 1890s to 1915. On display are fourteen motorcycles that were made prior to 1916, rare engines, and photographs from the pioneering era of motorcycling.

Harley-Davidson Model 6  1910 – Courtesy SFO Museum

From the exhibition notes:

Along with the automobile, the motorcycle was one of the earliest and most exciting applications of another new invention, the gasoline-powered internal combustion engine. Motorcycle technology progressed rapidly during the early 1900s, and as motorcycling gained traction, riding evolved from a novelty to a hobby, sport, and reliable source of transportation. By the 1910s, there were approximately 100 motorcycle manufacturers in the United States, all vying for consumer attention with distinctive attributes and designs.

Today, early American motorcycles are prized by collectors around the world who showcase their bikes on vintage rides, endurance runs, and at special events.

Here are some photos of the motorcycles on display in the Early American Motorcycles exhibition in the International Terminal of San Francisco International Airport. The exhibition will be on view through September 19, 2021.

Jefferson twin-cylinder racer  1914 – Courtesy SFO Museum
Pierce Four Cylinder 1911- Courtesy SFO Museum
Two women on a Pierce Four and sidecar  c. 1910
Courtesy of Pierce-Arrow Museum

The new exhibit at the Harley-Davidson Museum in Milwaukee kicks off today (June 15): “Daredevils: A Century of Spine-Tingling Spectacles.

And tomorrow (Father’s Day, June 16) dads get in for free.

“What began with horse trick riders in circuses inspired new generations of entertainers on bicycles, motorcycles, cars – even flying sofa chairs,” the museum tells us.

This exhibit celebrates the history of these death-defying entertainers who spend coutless hours perfecting their exploits.

Performers featured include:

  • The Urias Family Globe of Death, which was first constructed in 1912 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Four generations of the Urias family thrilled audiences the world over with their gravity-defying performances within the globe before it was retired in 2009;
  • The Harley-Davidson XR-750 ridden by Evel Knievel, during his famed 1975 Wembley Stadium jump. (On loan from Evel Knievel Museum);
  • A rocket-powered, custom-built motorcycle (aka The Space Cycle) that was designed to jump Niagara Falls and was outfitted with helicopter blades to aid in its flight;
  • And the living room furniture piece that was employed by the creative (some might say mad) geniuses at Nitro Circus to attempt the world’s first “reclining sofa chair jump.”

“Daredevils” opens Saturday, June 15 and runs through Sunday, Sept. 8.

Harley-Davidson motorcycles at Zurich Airport

You’ll find Harley-Davidson shops at airports in Denver, Tampa, Milwaukee and several other cities, but not at the Zurich Airport.

No matter. Until August 7th, the airport is hosting a full-throttle exhibit of Harley-Davidson motorcycles.

According to Clutch and Chrome magazine, the exhibition explores the Harley lifestyle:

..Harley-Davidson’s history, which dates back more than a century; the strong sense of identity and community among its customers; and the powerful machines themselves, the two-cylinder driving force behind the “made in the USA” dream.”

Ten Harley-Davidson motorcycles are on display, along with panels detailing the history of the company and mannequins modeling accessories and clothing.

A slide-show of motorcycles at Zurich Airport – from the Moodie Report – has some great images of the bikes on display.