Grant Parsons, Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum

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From the March 2013 edition

Grant Parsons has found that children like coming to the Motorcycle Hall of Fame in Pickerington because they understand how fun motorcycles are.

“Kids are interested in motorcycles,” said Parsons, who is director of marketing and communications for the American Motorcyclist Association. “From the first time they see them, they get that motorcycles are cool. Adults sometimes forget that.”

The museum, which includes vintage motorcycles, race-winning bikes and experimental motorcycles, tells the history of motorcycling and the people who shaped the sport.

Adults who visit the museum appreciate the breadth of the collection and the story it tells, Parsons said.

Tell us about an exhibit that features a young person.

Gary Nixon was 15 and weighed 89 pounds when he became a drag-racing champion. Kids, whether they know it or not, are inherently good racers. They’re lightweight and that’s an advantage.

Most of your displays include the actual bike, not a reproduction. How does that impact a person’s visit?

Take the bike Scot Harden rode in the 2005 Dakar Rally: It came right after the race was over. You can see the red African dirt.

Do you have any Evel Knievel memorabilia?

We’ve got Evel Knievel’s helmet. It’s hard to believe that man’s ego and his head got into that. We’ve also got some of his actual X-rays.

The museum has the bike that Navy veteran Dave Barr rode around the world after he lost his legs in a landmine explosion. What kind of impact does that display have?

Whenever I’m having a bad day I come out here and look at that. It’s amazing. He used the force of his will and his character to will this motorcycle around the world.

What can families do to ensure a fun visit?

Bring your sense of adventure and an open mind. Many people have stereotypes about motorcycles and motorcycle riders. They’re just like everybody else.