It was pouring rain in Meredith, NH, so we decided to check out the American Police Motorcycle Museum.
This museum commemorates the brave men and women (1,144) who have given their lives in the service of our military, police, and emergency services. Until the late 1950s, more officers lost their lives on motorcycles than any other duty tragedy. It is at that time that helmets came into use. With a focus on patrol and emergency response bikes, there is an amazing collection of motorcycles here. Many photos, videos and other items related to police motorcycles throughout the years can be seen here. The museum has evolved to include a wide variety of motorcycles and all who ride.
Below is an US Army motorcycle (WWII era) with sidecar and a rare 1945 Indian Portsmouth US Navy motorcycle.
A 1940 Indian motorcycle and a 2004 Harley Davidson, were both used by the Massachusetts State Police. The third photo is a 1966 Harley used by the Niagara Falls Police.
Check out the seats on the Indian motorcycles!
This 1965 Vespa Police Scooter was used to transport officers in urban areas for riot control. Traffic was often jammed and these scooters enabled police to get to areas otherwise inaccessible.
Not a great photo, but I really enjoyed seeing these authentic motorcycle police uniforms through the years.
This 1976 Harley was used by the Memphis Police and photos of Elvis and his motorcycle at the time are included in this display.
This display honors the female motorcycle officers. Also shown is the Nantucket Motor Medic used by emergency response units.
This is a 1909 Merkel, a motorcycle designed and used for racing. The patented spring front fork design was the forerunner of modern telescopic front forks. The motorcycle received recognition for performance bikes of the time.
1922 was the first year Indian manufactured the Indian Chief. Also shown is the 1931 Indian Scout 45. Check out the chains on the rear tire!
This 1928 Indian Scout 45 ran from the late 1920s until 1947 at a San Francisco Bay Amusement Park in their Wall of Death. Below is a photo of a Wall of Death in case you have never seen one. They are crazy!! We last saw one at the Iron Horse Saloon in Ormond Beach, FL.
Below are a couple of Harley Davidson Servi-Cars. The first one (black) was manufactured in 1961 and the second in 1967. They were initially used by the traffic division for parking enforcement. During riots in the 1960s, the servi-cars were also used. Two additional police officers could stand in the back. Sometimes the lids were removed, a police German Shepherd would ride in the box until called to duty.
In the 1930s, Police departments in New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Boston, Baltimore and hundreds of other cities used Indian Motorcycles when Indian was the largest motorcycle manufacturer in the world.
Harley Davidson and Indian competed for police contracts until Indian went out of business in 1953. After 1953, Harley owned the market until the 1970s when Japanese brands became popular and less expensive to buy/maintain.
The first two photos are of Honda police motorcycles and the third is a Triumph. As you can imagine, public sentiment favored Harleys. The police found foreign-made motorcycles to be underpowered and poorly-suited for road duty. Harley Davidson continues to be the preferred brand.
In the United Kingdom, Interpol used Norton motorcycles like the one below to escort the Queen of England (or other royals).
Below is a Harley Davidson amusement ride for children (pretty cool). And there are also lots of model motorcycles on display and for sale.
There is a motorcycle maintenance shop in the with several projects underway. All of the motorcycles (except) two still run.
An indoor flea market has a diverse array of motorcycle items for sale. Some of the motorcycles on display are also for sale.
Before I left, I got this poor fellow out of jail (ha). He always wanted to be a motorcycle man and liked this spiffy vest.
This sign about sums it up. Ride to live, live to ride!
Anyone with a passion (or even a passing interest) for motorcycles and their history, will really enjoy visiting this museum. It is open Thursday to Monday, noon to 5 pm. Admission is $11/adults credit and $10/cash.
For additional information about the museum, click on this americanpolicemotorcyclemuseum.com