John Parham 1954-2017 – Celebration of Life

John Parham
The motorcycling community has lost one of its most passionate, considerate, entrepreneurial and successful people and he will be greatly missed.
John Parham dedicated most of his life to motorcycling and to his wife Jill. With passion and perseverance, through tough times and success, together they created J&P Cycles in 1979 and helped motorcyclists world wide enjoy two wheel adventures. Later John devoted his time and resources to amassing one of the world’s largest and most comprehensive personal collections of motorcycles, in excess of 300 machines, and found a home for many of them when he moved the National Motorcycle Museum to his home town of Anamosa, Iowa. Then he again invested his time and talent to make this a great place to preserve and present American motorcycling history. He worked tirelessly until his long battle with pulmonary fibrosis consumed him, and now he’s at rest with the Lord. John’s battle ended peacefully with Jill and son Zachary at his side.
Anticipating what would be John’s choice, friends are encouraged to sign up for and support the organ donation program in their community and in lieu of flowers, continue their support of the National Motorcycle Museum where a Special Exhibit Development Fund will be created in his honor.

A Celebration of John Parham’s Life was held at The National Motorcycle Museum May 6, 2017 at 10:30am

Indian Winners: First Ride on Her 2016 Chief, New Jacket Fits!


Margaret Gulley at McGrath’s Powersports picking up her New Indian Motorcycle

Ready to pick up her new motorcycle, Indian Chief Vintage winner Margaret Gulley drove from her home in Peotone, Illinois to McGrath’s Powersports in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Arriving in her truck with trailer, she worked with dealership staff to complete paperwork. Given salty roads and and a shiny new bike, Margaret chose to trailer her new machine back home.
When she got home Margaret told us, “You know I took it for a short spin! It was 30 out, but, I could not resist! Already I love my new Indian!! She rides so different from the Boulevard and just wants to go. McGrath’s was awesome! They were very helpful and made the whole experience really great. They walked me through all the paperwork and went over the bike with me top to bottom. Answered all my questions and really went above and beyond! I just wish they were closer!!”

Bruce Rester 2016 jacket winner

Bruce Rester modeling his New Indian Jacket

National Motorcycle Museum staff have enjoyed working with the people at Polaris and Indian Motorcycle for many years now, and here’s a good example of why that is. When he found out he’d won the Indian RACER jacket, Second Prize winner Bruce Rester went to the Indian website and looked at all of Indian’s leather jacket offerings. Being a more traditional rider, Bruce asked if he could receive as his winnings the Indian Benjamin jacket instead. “Happy to make the switch,” was Indian’s response and as soon as they had Bruce’s size information, his new jacket was shipped to his home in Glendale, Oregon. Bruce offers, “The jacket is of excellent quality, and fits much better than I expected it to. I have ridden with it 3 times and it’s very effective. The armor is hardly noticeable, and I’m sure that if I ever go down again (hope not) I’ll be really glad it’s there.”
Margaret is the 15th winner of a motorcycle used for National Motorcycle Museum fund raising, Bruce our first jacket winner. Together all the donations for a chance to win a bike make up an extremely important program for the Museum, its single largest source of operating income. For 2017 you can lend your support to the Museum and get a chance to win an Indian RACER jacket or the beautiful Springfield Blue and Ivory Cream 2017 Indian Chief Vintage donated by Indian Motorcycle. Visit the Museum website and you can check out the list of past winners and learn how you can donate for chance to become the next winner.

To see more about the winners go to our 2016 winners page:”

John Parham to be Inducted into AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame

Hard work, respect for the customer, savvy and sacrifice got John and Jill Parham the success they achieved in founding J&P Cycles parts and accessories company. And now John Parham, who serves as Chairman for the non-profit National Motorcycle Museum will be recognized for his 40 years in the motorcycle industry which also includes racing event and swap meet promotion, most recently preservation of America’s motorcycle history. The Inductions take place October 17 in Orlando, Florida in conjunction with the AIME motorcycle show, roughly in the timeframe of Biketoberfest. Other 2015 inductees include John  Kocinski, Rich Teerlink, Rodney Smith, Keith McCarty, and Alex Jorgensen. More information is available at


Indian Larry, Builder of Chain of Mystery, Featured Motorcyclist

Larry DeSmedt was born in the Spring of 1949 and grew up in Newburgh, New York, about two hours from metro New York. He was a person driven to live life to the fullest, as they say, and was influenced by many people and things in his life, his environment. Without video games and smart phones to play with, like many baby boomers he enjoyed Lincoln Logs and then took to plastic model motorcycles and cars which were perhaps a first outlet for his creativity. As a teenager in the late 1960’s, his first motorcycle was a Harley Knucklehead, a 1939. Reading his various biographies, it appears this is what brought him focus toward things very mechanical; to ride a 30 year old Harley, you need to have mechanical skills. And as we all know, motorcycles also help in forming ones circle of friends. And so grew the life and reputation of “Indian” Larry. Artist, painter, metal fabricator, probably philosopher as well, if you looked at the work through his eyes. We lost him in 2004, but stories of his life have been written, and much resides on Wikipedia about Indian Larry.

Changes at J&P Cycles

J&P Cycles released information this week regarding how they will implement some big changes in an effort to make their customer service even better. The changes will, over time, impact the location of retail and warehousing operations currently in Anamosa; plans call for the J&P Cycles warehouse to move to Louisville, Kentucky, the administrative offices to move to Texas, and call center operations will move to Daytona Beach, Florida. The nice showroom now in Anamosa might stay or get relocated.
Since the National Motorcycle Museum is an entirely separate 501(c)3 corporation, completely separate from J&P Cycles, and there has never been any corporate management relationship between it and the Museum, these changes do not impact the Museum. If you have donated or loaned motorcycles, they will still be at the Museum, in Anamosa, Iowa, and the Museum will be open daily, year around. The Museum and J&P Cycles do promote each other in their respective marketing work, and with J&P Cycles’ reach to over a million customers, it has been, and we trust will continue to be a helpful marketing partner for the Museum.
Said John Parham, Founder of J&P Cycles, and President of the Board of Directors of the National Motorcycle Museum, “While I know that improving customer service is important to hold a strong position in the market, and with the internet, people want everything now, it is painful to see the company that Jill and I built here in Anamosa, move its headquarters. Having retired from the company a few years ago we wish the employees and the leadership, including our son Zach who serves as Vice President/General Manager all the best, continued success and growth. And I must say we are very grateful for all of you who continue to lend your support to the National Motorcycle Museum.”
If you need further information about the National Motorcycle Museum, email Mark:
Thanks very much,
National Motorcycle Museum

CHOPPER STORY and 2 WHEELS+MOTOR Exhibits ended May 2016


Two great new exhibits have just been installed at the National Motorcycle Museum.  The first, Allstate Motorcycle CHOPPER STORY presented by J&P Cycles is the first-ever motorcycle exhibit comprehensively documenting the evolution of the American Custom Motorcycle: the cut-downs, bob-jobs, show bikes and choppers, from the late 1920s to the early 1980sThe exhibit will officially open June 20, 2015, just in time for the 2015 Vintage Rally. The Allstate Motorcycle CHOPPER STORY exhibit includes only period-built bikes, plus related artwork, memorabilia, film posters and photos. Just like the previous Dirt Track Heroes exhibit, which was on display for two years, The Allstate Motorcycle Chopper Story presented by J&P Cycles won’t be around forever. “The bikes in the show are Honda, Harley and Triumph powered, even BSA, built by regular folks next door, but also Von Dutch, Ron Finch, Arlen Ness, Indian Larry and others, and show a lot of originality,” says John Parham, of the National Motorcycle Museum. “Some of the paint is tamer than we see these days, but amazingly, most of the 40 to 50 year old bikes on display have original candy apple and pearl paint. After you see CHOPPER STORY, you’ll have a better perspective on custom builds you see today. Looking at all this fine work, done so many decades ago just makes me smile.”
The other new exhibit,  2 WHEELS+MOTOR, is a fine art show, with artists from all across America, even Canada participating. This one year show ended May, 2016. This exhibit was curated by bronze sculptor, Ric Stewart.

Our Losses of Larry Klein, GT Motors, Lansing, Michigan, Don Bradley, Florida

He was a fixture at many swap meets and shows in the central United States, a book collector and dealer like no other. Larry Klein was the go-to guy for anything motorcycle book related. His career included the operation of GT Motors, a Moto-Guzzi dealership in Lansing, Michigan. Then Larry began to specialize in his passion; helping people find great books on whatever motorcycle topic one could imagine. It’s said that he read every word of each book he sold and could give you an honest overview of its content and quality. He’ll be missed. A remembrance was held Saturday, April 18th, from 2-5 pm at Gorsline Runciman, Grand River Avenue, East Lansing, Michigan

Don Bradley is perhaps best known for his fantastic (literally) artwork done for the great event in St Augustine, Florida, Riding Into History. Combining motorcycles, trains, planes and cars with women in fairy tale settings, Don’s art will always draw you in. This professional painter and illustrator, who served the motorcycle community well, will be greatly missed.

Women in the Wind Donates Founder’s Motorcycle to the Museum

From left to right; John Parham, Becky Brown and Jeff Simpson.

From left to right; John Parham, Becky Brown and Jeff Simpson.

Women in the Wind, the largest women’s motorcycle organization of its kind, visited the Museum on April 16 and delivered WITW founder, Becky Brown’s personal 2000 Harley-Davidson FLSTS, a Heritage Springer Soft Tail in purple.  Brown rode the bike for 14 years of her almost 39 year riding history, including during the years of her induction into all three of America’s motorcycle halls of fame; the National Motorcycle Museum Hall of Fame, Anamosa, Iowa, the Sturgis Motorcycle Museum & Hall of Fame, Sturgis, South Dakota and the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame, Pickerington, Ohio.
As Women in the Wind is beginning their  37th year the club officers feel there is no better way to promote and celebrate women riders than to have a permanent display in the Museum of their founder’s bike. Says Becky, “I was both humbled and proud when current officers of WITW came up with the idea of purchasing and donating my bike to the museum. I now know that my many years of work and loyalty promoting women riders will be forever remembered.”
Becky’s bike will be placed in the Women and Motorcycling display area which tells the stories of the many contributions women have made to American motorcycling.