Macedon, N.Y., May 20—I think it’s safe to say that when Harvey Rousseau started up a part-time motorcycle shop on the family farm, he never imagined that it would expand into the flourishing dealership it is today. A quick look around the property on which Harv’s Harley-Davidson resides illustrates that the dealership has evolved into a true destination for motorcyclists and motorcycle enthusiasts alike.
And now, on this warm, sunny Saturday in May, we celebrated the dealership’s 55th anniversary. Harv’s daughter, second-generation owner Kim Wyman, along with her dedicated staff, has outdone herself in making sure guests are properly fed, entertained and otherwise attended to, from morning to night. Kim has been running the dealership since her mom Milly passed away in 1980, and in 1989 she purchased the franchise from her dad. Since then, she has made many improvements, including renovations, expansions, and new business ventures.
Harv was a talented man with many interests, continuing to fly airplanes long after his Civil Air Patrol days, and through his mechanical education, fixing and racing cars and repairing John Deere tractors for other farmers in the area. During World War II, he acquired a 1934 Harley-Davidson Flathead VL, started a part-time motorcycle shop on the farm, and began servicing bikes for a lot of his fellow motorcyclists in the area.
After marrying Milly Witt in 1949, Harv bought his first airplane and then Milly got her pilot’s license as well. Milly, an early member of the Motor Maids, was also instrumental in women’s motorcycling in those years. Harv continued to grow the part-time motorcycle business and in 1962 converted one of the 20’ x 30’ farm buildings to start a new dealership, Harv’s Harley-Davidson. The business did well, and in 1980, he bought another airplane and built an airstrip on the farm.
In the years since, Kim got married and had three boys, Kyle, Travis, and Cody, who raced motorcycles under the Harv’s Harley-Davidson banner. The family even built a dirt track for practice on the family property! Harv passed away in 2014 at the age of 92, and was fortunate enough to enjoy the success of the dealership as well as see his grandsons succeed with their racing endeavors, with all three boys competing in and winning many dirt track and road racing championships, at amateur and now professional levels.
This day’s free event, along with showing appreciation for Harv’s customers and providing an enjoyable afternoon for all attendees, honors the dealership’s roots—there are vintage displays of motorcycle memorabilia in the showroom—as well as showcasing the thriving business it has become. A few years ago, Kim completely renovated the farmhouse where her parents lived across the road from Harv’s, converting the house into the Bed N Biker, a comfortable, beautifully-appointed, Harley-themed vacation home. Because the area has fabulous riding roads, Harv’s Harley-Davidson also began renting bikes so that visitors could tour the area if they couldn’t bring their own rides. And just last year, Kim realized a longtime dream by opening Milly’s Handlebar Café, adjacent to the dealership, that features homemade meals, craft beers and live music during the summer.
The night before the big shindig, we spent several delightful hours with some lovely ladies that Kim had invited to stay in the Bed N Biker. The women present were some of Milly’s friends and sister Motor Maids, with the highlight of the evening a slide show presented by Kim that comprised hundreds of Milly’s photos of Motor Maids rides and outings from the 50’s and 60’s. The running commentary from the ladies, some of whom were in their 70s and 80s, was a rare and precious window into motorcycling in the mid-20th century, bringing up remembrances and hilarious stories of days gone by. It wasn’t all fun and games for female motorcyclists in those days, though. They’d sometimes been refused fuel, lodging, and food because they didn’t fit into society’s idea of what a lady should act and look like.
The next day, Kim pulled out all the stops. Saturday was also Armed Forces Day, and at noon there was a ceremony, complete with color guard and a local contingent of Patriot Riders, to honor our military. Shortly afterwards, Dr. Moxy brought their classic and southern rock to the patio of Milly’s Handlebar Café, and on the other side of the café was a buffet of delicious smoked barbecue and other foods from Milly’s, that, along with liquid refreshments from Lake Beverage, was served all day long.
Set up in the field behind the parking lot was the Wild Wheels Thrill Arena where Dallas Dan, Cyclone Jake, Dangerous Lee, and Sergeant Mikey thrilled the crowds with their trick riding inside the Wall of Death barrel. And I was thrilled to see Wahl E. Walker, the oldest still-performing Wall of Death rider, supporting the crew. IllConduct, featuring Cole Freeman and his young sidekick, 13-year-old Fearless A.J., wowed us with their freestyle stunting. Later in the day, Cole jumped five Chevy pickup trucks in an exciting, yet terrifying, ramp-to-ramp flight that had a shaky, but still-upright, landing. Cole walked away unharmed, with the crowd cheering, eminently satisfied with the stunt.
Another highlight of the day was the bike show and competition held inside one of the buildings, with nearly 40 bikes entered. Most of the bikes were vintage, complementing the Rosseau/Wyman collection of antique motorcycles and outside, some old hot rods that were also on display. Winners of the bike competition were announced and trophies awarded promptly at 4:00 p.m., with the band continuing to play and the trick riders continuing to entertain well after 6:00 that evening.
The events of the day were stunningly executed, going off without a hitch. It’s easy to see why Harv’s Harley-Davidson has maintained and improved upon its successes. If you want to experience some of the dealership’s friendly, welcoming atmosphere, stop by the store at 3120 Kittering Road in Macedon, New York, or check out Milly’s all year round, and on Fridays and Saturdays for happy hours, and live music throughout the summer months.