The Long Island contingent of ADV riders heads off to do the Berkshire Big Adventure dual sport ride. It is an annual charity event held by the Berkshire Trailriders Association.
I used to have a big, gray G-shock wristwatch. The band on it was made of a stretchy, elasticized material. Every day after work I would ride my bicycle while wearing that watch. All summer long I would pedal, pedal, pedal – keeping time with my G-Shock watch.
The more I would pedal, pedal, pedal under the summer sun the more sweat would build up in my watchband. I had to be diligent about washing it if I knew what was good for me.
Over time the watch would grow rather…ripe. In the course of doing something as natural and mundane as putting my hair up in a ponytail, my hand would sweep past my face and I would catch a whiff of my pungent watchband. It had a cheesy and slightly rancid smell; the smell of weeks of sweat trapped in its fibers.
Out of some sick, perverse human inclination I would willfully take a whiff of the band every now and then. I knew it stunk and still, I would periodically smell it. On purpose.
The end result was always the same, “Man, that stinks!”
The Buell Battlewtin reminds me of my smelly watchband. It’s hideous and yet, I was unable to tear my eyes away from looking at it while we visited the Barber Museum. I repeatedly found myself drawn to it’s absurdly bulbous Beluga whale-ness.
It looks like something they built 50 years ago as a representation of what motorcycles would look like in the year 2000 when we lived on the moon.
The 80’s were an interesting time. They gave rise to being gagged with a spoon, Flock of Seagulls haircuts and the Battletwin. Erik Buell‘s strange creation was first birthed in his workshop in 1985.
And yet, for all it’s strangeness – I just can’t quit it! I can’t stop looking at it. Am I alone here?
The first time that I saw the fabled Britten V1000 was in 1998 on the top floor of the Guggenheim Museum at the Art of the Motorcycle exhibit in New York City. As we wound our way up the museum’s ramp to the top floor, it sat there like a jewel.
I remember feeling exited to see this thing that I’d read about and looked at grainy pictures of on the web at that time. It was unlike anything else I’d ever seen. With only 10 ever produced, the chances of seeing another were fairly slim. Fast forward 12 years later…
The Britten V1000 was the brainchild of an industrious dreamer named John Britten. Combining passion with engineering, Britten created one of the most fabled sport motorcycles of the last 50 years. He did so, not in a high tech factory but in his home workshop. The concept of the V1000 started as a model made from some wires hot-glued together.
With their collection of over 1,000 motorcycles, the Barber Museum chose the V1000 as one of their advertising images. It’s candy colored blue paint and likeness are splashed across billboards and on their admission ticket stubs. Given the museum’s beautiful and interesting collection, that says a lot about the emotional response that this machine evokes in people.
Last week my honey Kenny flew to Birmingham, Alabama to attend the Kevin Schwantz 2-Day Motorcycle School where he attended classes on Thursday and Friday. On Friday evening I hopped on a plane and flew down to meet up with him and tour the Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum.
For a motorcycle lover, the Barber Museum could be one of the most beautiful places on Earth. It houses an incredibly beautiful and diverse array of over 1200 motorcycles on it’s 4 stories, a research library and just happens to have a racetrack in it’s backyard. The vision of George Barber, the museum opened it’s doors at it’s current location in 2003.
The moment you step through the darkly tinted doors of the museum the first word that escapes your lips is “Wow.”
Wow, indeed. The feeling of the space is almost like you are in a sacred place, a church of motorcycling. The initial view of the towering column of motorcycles at the core of the building is a sight to behold.
I took hundreds of photographs throughout our visit. Rest assured there will be many posts featuring some of my favorite bikes.
The Barber Vintage Motorcycle Museum is definitely worth a spot on your bucket list.
I blew Kenny a kiss as the black limo drove away from our house last night. The windows were tinted so dark, I couldn’t tell if he saw it or not. I went on blind faith that the love was received on the other side of the glass. He was on his way to the airport, flying to Birmingham, Alabama.
Kenny’s trip to Barber Motorsports Park was set in motion at Christmas time. Each year at Christmas I wrestle with the same issues. What do you give someone that doesn’t need anything? What would really make his heart sing? For 2009 I decided that it would be the chance to ride at Barber. He’s attending the Kevin Schwantz 2-Day Motorcycle Riding School. It seemed like the perfect idea.
A few years ago, he attended Keith Code’s 2-day California Superbike School at Willow Springs and came home recharged and full of excitement about what he’d learned. Given the track at Barber, the museum and yes getting instruction from Kevin – I hope this trip is something special for him as well. He deserves it and then some.
This morning I received one lone photo from his mobile phone:
And so, his day begins…
I’m probably more excited about it than he is!