June 14, 2012

Visiting the National Motorcycle Museum in Anamosa Iowa

I have an addiction to most things motorcycle. When I learned there was a motorcycle museum, and the National Motorcycle Museum at that, I headed for Anamosa, Iowa. The National Motorcycle Museum opened in 1989, and in 2012 moved to a large space right off U.S. Highway 151. It doesn't look like much from the outside, since it is a converted Walmart, but it's the inside of a museum that makes the difference.

There is dedicated motorcycle parking out front, enclosed in cement barriers with motorcycle-sized gaps, to prevent people from filling it up with cars. There isn't a discount in tickets for riders though. I asked. There are a variety of stickers and patches, so you can prove you were there.

Inside is a small gift shop and desk where you pay to get into the museum itself. The large space in broken up into exhibits, some walled off and some separated only by space. With over 300 motorcycles on display there is something for everyone. The one machine that caught my attention was the steam powered motorcycle, with the boiler between the rider's legs!

Wandering around, it was hard to follow a specific path. One of Evel Knieval's Harleys (in an un-crashed state) was on display, as well as a Captain America chopper from Easy Rider. I had seen another one of these in another museum, but this one also had s certificate from Peter Fonda, saying it was authentic. Since only one of the two copies made for the movie survived, this is a unique piece of American Motorcycling history.

But there are motorcycles from other countries also on display. German and Italian, and of course Japanese machines that caught the attention of the American rider. Beyond the motorcycles themselves, the walls are covered in posters, signs and pictures commemorating events, machines and the history of the motorcycle in America.
Outside the exhibits, the National Motorcycle Museum hosts several events a years, including swap meets and bike shows. While this increases the crowd, it also increases the things to see, with classic motorcycles from the midwest appearing for bike shows, or just being ridden in to enjoy the event and company of appreciative fellow motorcyclists.
The best description of what the National Motorcycle Museum tries to accomplish comes from their website - The national Motorcycle Museum exhibitions are designed to help you get a solid grasp of casual motorcycling and racing as well as a taste of American motorcycle culture.
Andrew Pain is an endurance and adventure motorcyclist, and professional writer. He has ridden on two continents on a small motorcycle. Going Small - A Guide to Lightweight Motorcycle Travel, has helped riders all over the world stop planning, simply, and get out on the road. Article Source: Article Source: