Wheels Through Time
The Museum that Runs
Just a hop, skip and a jump off of the Blue Ridge Parkway in Maggie Valley, NC is an American treasure – the Wheels Through Time museum. It is home to hundreds of American-made motorcycles, tons of ephemera and historical photographs.
Built by the passion of Dale Walksler, a man with encyclopedic knowledge of motorcycles – the museum also bills itself as “the museum that runs.” Though the machines are true museum pieces, they are started and ridden. It is not at all unusual to find Dale riding some beautiful vintage iron through the museum, starting up an antique or laying down a smokey burnout on the museum floor.
While we were there, he started up 2 early 1900’s Indians on the floor. When the second one was shut down and the crowd that had gathered started to dispersed he looked directly at me and said, “you look very familiar. You’ve been here before…” and we struck up a conversation about our last visit there back some time in 2006.
Now, I don’t know if he says that to all the girls, but… I was tickled pink by the notion that he might remember me.
Dale, who struck me as a very kind soul spent some time sitting and talking with us. We talked about motorcycles of course, but also about people and life. He even suggested some great local riding since we were visitors to the area. Truly a nice man.
Please support this passion, this time capsule of motorcycle history. Visit Wheels Through Time. You’ll be glad you did.
A few weekends ago while on a Sunday group ride across the Mohawk Trail near North Adams, Massachusetts, to our collective surprise we found ourselves smack in the middle of the 2011 Spring MotoGiro East.
What is the MotoGiro USA?
The Motogiro USA is a motorcycle event promoted by the United States Classic Racing Association (USCRA). It is basically a two-day skill event for small displacement classic motorcycles, scooters and sidecar rigs on public roads.
The event caters to motorcycles that were made before 1969 and are 305ccs or less.
Because this ride is held on public roadways there were moments when we were traveling up and over the mountain on Route 2, side by side with some of the competitors. We quickly found a spot to pull over and watch them make their way.
Sure, I’ve seen beautiful vintage bikes parked at events or cruising around town – but I’ve never seen so many of them being put to good use the way these were. It was awesome!
I won’t lie. As we stood watching them zip by, I clapped and maybe even Whooooo‘d. And yea, I know that’s really corny. 🙂
In a completely random and “small world” moment, I believe I just happened to snap a photo of Bob, whom I met doing the Crotona Midnight Run this year.
Have you ever seen or participated in a MotoGiro?
For More Info on MotoGiro USA:
When we saw this Parilla at the Barber Museum, I kinda wanted to hug it. It’s just so darned cute!
Back in the time of dinosaurs when music actually played on MTV (the 80’s) Tom Petty had a video for the song You Got Lucky. During the first minute and a half or so of the Mad Max-y video, 3 dirty ruffians come skidding in on a sidecar rig. The Parilla reminds me of that sidecar rig mixed with Guido the forklift from Cars.
Random. I know.
The museum placard reads:
1956 Parilla Corsa
Engine: Air-cooled, single cylinder four stroke
Ignition: Battery and coil
Power Rating: 26 b.h.p. @ 7,200 r.p.m.
Bore x Stroke: 68 x 68mm
Valves: Single overhead cam, bevel and shaft drive
Fuel System: Single De, Orto G.P. carburetor
Transmission: Four speed
Suspension: Front telescopic forks, rear twin shock
Brakes: Front and rear drum
Weight: 234 lbs.
Top Speed: 110 m.p.h.
Parilla made a limited number of motors with overhead camshafts. Available in four versions, the Tourist and Sports were street legal machines, with the Compitizione and Corsa stripped racing models, the Corsa featuring magnesium engine cases and brakes. This machine has a full “dustbin” fairing that would result in higher speeds due to better air penetration. These fairings were eventually banned in the late 1950’s, reason being that they made the bike unstable in strong side winds, and also contributed to the front brake fading.
Until I visited the Barber Motorsports Museum, the only rotary engined motorcycle that I’d ever seen or heard was the Suzuki RE-5 owned by my friend Quacka. There’s a good reason for that. There were never many production models made using a rotary mill.
Like the RE-5, the Hercules was apparently a victim of it’s own innovation – the rotary power plant was prone to heat issues. It never saw favor in the marketplace and the model died off.
The German-made Hercules W2000:
For More Information on the Hercules W2000:
The Barber Motorsports Museum is the most amazing place. It is like a Church of Motorcycling History. Be sure to check out more blog posts from our visit there
The town of Port Jefferson celebrated the 100 year anniversary of one of Long Island’s premier historical motorsport events; the Port Jefferson Hill Climb. Dozens of beautiful cars were on hand to participate in the harbor-side show, parade and ultimately the steep hill climb on East Broadway.
This post is just a little teaser; a little something to whet your whistle to come back tomorrow for a huge, photos-galore post about this fabulous event!
Click all photos to enlarge