This August, I had the chance to visit Vancouver for a week, ostensibly to attend SIGGRAPH. My wife wanted to go to the art museum, I wanted to see bikes, so off I went with my daughter Sophie and headed for the Trev Deeley Motorcycle Exhibition. Of course being a British bike fan I missed the British Exhibition, End of Empire, by a year. Not as frustrating as missing the Norton Owners Club Rally that took place in Austria. I drove past it on my honeymoon heading from Germany to Venice. By “drove past it” I mean missed it I didn’t know it was happening until I got home and saw the ad in Classic Bike Magazine. arrgh.
Sophie and I zipped out to Trev Deeley, a short drive from downtown Vancouver, located in a nondescript strip mall. It is a contemporary Harley Dealership, full of halogen lights, branded merchandise, over-the-hill Barbie Doll receptionists, and a few bikes on the floor.
Luckily the museum is at the front door, it was mid afternoon and the dealership was quiet, the museum empty. I was greeted by a friendly guy and asked for my suggested $5 donation. It really isn’t a suggested donation, the $5 is suggested amount if you follow me. I have no problem paying for the exhibit, I just thought the wording was somewhat confusing. At the entrance there is a Harley hack with a backdrop for photos, visitors are encouraged to hop on and take a photo. The couple behind me got offers of helmets and photos, somehow the guy with the toddler didn’t.
The exhibition space is nice, with a combination of natural light and professionally created displays. Although the current exhibition Made in America is mostly Harley and Indian, it does include bikes made in Toronto, Canada, such as Indian. The show says “more than 315 motorcycle manufacturers in the USA since 1895”. The bikes are in varied enough in age and type to be interesting to a casual observer. I was more interested in the other older marques on display like Excelsior, Orient, CCM and Pierce.
I was enjoying the exhibit for about two minutes when Sophie started crying and holding up her index finger. Knowing that the bikes weren’t running I ruled out missing digits and hot exhausts, but it was a burnt finger. The halogen spot lights mounted in the stands are very hot. I spent the rest of the exhibit juggling an upset toddler, licking and blowing on her finger to cool it, trying to take photos all while trying to keep her from crying in the very echo-y hall. It wasn’t an ideal way to view a bike exhibit, but I guess it was my penance for lack of parental vigilance….