A Piece of Historical Motorcycle Heaven – The Motorcyclepedia Museum in New York
If you love motorcycles, it’s a pretty safe bet that there are a couple of models you’d like to have in your collection.
It’s also a safe bet that Gerald A. Doering and his son, Ted, have a couple of those bikes in their collection.
The proof is spread across the 85,000 square feet of the Doering’s Motorcyclepedia, a museum with the senior Doering, now 84, opened this year with his son, Ted. Their extensive and wide-ranging collection was assembled over more than a few decades and now includes more than 400 motorcycles. The museum fills up an entire two floors of a former lumber warehouse set 65 miles north of Manhattan.
It all began with a humble 1929 Indian Scout that Doering Sr. bought back in 1947. That moment became the start of something special. Doering loved his Scout so much that he hit the open road on the way to Miami in search of a gig at a mechanic at a motorcycle dealership there. Like many a great adventure before it, this one ended in a way Doering didn’t forsee. The Miami gig didn’t happen, so he rode back to upstate New York and opened his own electrical contracting business a few years later.
But always, there were the Indians and motorcycles. Doering bought several more over the years as his financial fortunes improved. He kept adding to his collection and now owns Indians from every production year but the company’s first, 1901.
The younger Doering’s love of motorcycles began in the 1960s when he began building custom chopper bikes.
“I tried racing,” Doering said, “But I thought building the bikes was more interesting.”
But the collection is hardly limited to customs and Indians and includes a 4-cylinder Pierce from 1910, a Cleveland adapted for the military and excellent examples of less well-known marques like Monarch, Pope,Thor and Ace. If those aren’t obscure enough for you, the father and son collection also includes a De Dion Bouton 3-wheeler which some say is the oldest running motorcycle in the United States. The Doering team purchased that bike of motorcycle ephemera ten years ago in France for the heady sum of $40,000.
So, you say, they’re just a bunch of bikes. Well, my friend the museum’s collection of motorcycle-related items also includes a little Americana even those unmoved by classic bikes might find interesting.
What might that be, you ask?
A complete Wall of Death, an enormous carnival attraction which featured a steeply banked, near vertical track on which daring riders plied their trade and thrilled crowds back in days of yore . The museum also sports an example of an Inferno der Motoren, a variety of scaled-down, German Wall of Death the Doerings brought home from Europe and lovingly reassembled on the museum’s lower level.
Insuring your collectible or vintage motorcycle
As for insurance for your collectible motorcycle? You should be able to get Agreed Value coverage on a classic 1959 BSA Gold Star Catalina valued at $15,000 for somewhere around $25 a month, and that gives you the whole shooting match of coverage.
You can spend a lot less, but if you plan to ride the bikes in your collection, the above pricing is a reasonable approximation of what you can expect to pay.