- Historic Sites
The Lost Tribe Of Indian
Recently a company tried to harness history by resurrecting a great American motorcycle. What happened is a cautionary tale about business, and memory, and the seductive urge to recapture the past.
August/September 2005 | Volume 56, Issue 4
I don’t know if old motorcycles make a good religion or not. Mostly, I’ve come to the conclusion that while they might sell a lot of polo shirts and while they still might make a great comeback someday, basically Indians are machines to bear stories. That seems to be what they do best. Exactly why this should be is probably for the next generation of cyclists to figure out, and along these lines I have thoughtfully provided my son, Tobin, with more than enough stories to hold his own in this regard, stories of a life caught in the flux between vintage and modernity and of a father’s fateful weakness. Stories of two mythic bikes that once shared his garage, of the muddying of their tanks with sneakers. Stories of a night long ago, when a giant semi pulled in out of the smoke. It would seem to bear great pianos, this spectral white Kenworth. But in fact it brought something far more exotic. And far more enduring.