Leeds, Ala — Since I began this journey, I’ve been amazed at some of the people and places I’ve discovered along the way. When a college buddy told me about the Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum, I was intrigued. After doing some research, I discovered that this place is probably as close to “heaven on earth” that a biker can experience.
The Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum is the masterpiece of George W. Barber, a businessman, racer and philanthropist. His vision to build the world’s best and largest motorcycle collection is what stands before us in Birmingham Alabama. In fact, the Guinness Book of World Records has certified the museum as the world’s largest motorcycle collection.
As you enter the perfectly landscaped facility, you’re struck by how this 830 acre park winds it’s way through the Alabama countryside, then you top the hill and come face to face with the museum. As I rode in on this cool, crisp morning with the sun coming up over the tops of the trees, it’s a beautiful site to behold.
On this weekend, during the annual festival, the parking lot is filled with bikers from all over the country who are here for the experience. The museum itself is an architectural masterpiece, with five floors of vintage motorcycles and race cars, having started with a 1952 Victoria Bergmeister.
As I worked my way through the facility, I was struck by the magnificent “art” of the motorcycles on display, something that Barber insisted on when he began this project. The colors, the styles, the engineering of these bikes on full display, gave me a visual understanding of the history of the motorcycle. And within an hour, over 99% of the motorcycles on display, can be ready to run.
Not being as familiar with this history, I was talking to enthusiasts who could go “on and on” about a particular year, or model that stood out to them. “I own one of those” they would say. Or, ” that was my first motorcycle.” You could see the gleam in their eyes just talking about it, and this is what I love most about this experience.
Young and old, they come. Recounting the good old days, or anticipating the future of their journey, it’s something that only bikers understand.
The Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum is a destination for all to see. Whether you’ve been riding all your life, or like me, your journey has just begun. I could have spent days on end in that museum. Just the excitement generated by the “docents” who answered my questions, or the smiles from the patrons who were there, it’s a site to behold.
To learn more about the Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum, go here.