On Saturday, some of the guys and I stopped in to have a look around at Billy Joel’s newly opened motorcycle hang – 20th Century Cycles in Oyster Bay. Setup like a museum, the space is filled with 50 or 60 mostly vintage motorcycles. Marques like Royal Enfield, Vincent and Moto Guzzi sit rubbing elbows with the likes of Yamaha, Honda and Harley-Davidson.
For the star seekers, Billy was on hand casually puttering around the space, chatting and posing for photos with those who asked. Interestingly enough, as far as I could tell though the bikes were still the stars of the show. Some of them are like time capsules and I for one really appreciate him sharing the bikes with the motorcycle community.
I was fortunate enough to be there with someone who is a walking encyclopedia of vintage motorcycle information. I’m hoping that eventually some of his gems settle in to my flighty brain and I start retaining the wisdom he freely passes along. It’s pretty neat to be able to learn a thing or two about the bikes beyond “ooh, that one looks cool.”
20th Century is a handsome space that features vintage signage, gas pumps and comfy chairs to take in the view.
The show outside created by the people visiting was just as interesting as what was going on behind the velvet ropes. For the first time in my life, I saw someone pull a 12:00 wheelie on what appeared to be a Sportster. The hooligan in me though that was pretty f’n cool.
Was it worth a look? Yes, definitely. It’s a nice venue for people to come together to chit-chat about bikes and kick tires.
Two Fuzzy Thumbs Up.
20th Century Cycles
101 Audrey Avenue
Oyster Bay, NY
In June, we visited the Rhinebeck Grand National Meet in Dutchess County, NY. Within the motorcycle timeline there were many beautiful and interesting bikes on display. But, one in particular seemed to draw everyone to it like a moths to a flame.
At the time that I saw it, there were no informational placards and no apparent owner present to tell you what the make or model was. I was left to go home wondering. Apparently I wasn’t the only one.
When we walked through the gates of the Dutchess County Fairgrounds where the Rhinebeck Grand National Super Meet was being held, the rain was steadily falling from the sky. These three beautiful Harley-Davidson’s looked like delicious, brightly colored candy against the wet asphalt. Unfortunately, I did not see any signs or papers with information on their years and models. If you can identify them – please let me know!
Having never heard of this machine before as soon as I got home I started digging around in some of my motorcycle books and browsing the web for information on this charming 100+ year old relic.
It so happens that the marque has a local Long Island connection. One of the brand’s most notable owners was motor racing enthusiast William Kissam Vanderbilt II. In 1899, Vanderbilt ordered one of the 1 3/4HP tricycles from France and had it shipped to the US.