- Special Sections
- Public Notices
The “Circuit Rider,” a custom Harley-Davidson motorcycle designed and built in honor of Abraham Lincoln’s 200th birthday, will arrive at Vandalia Statehouse on Sept. 22 and may be viewed free of charge until Sept. 26.
The “Circuit Rider” features one-of-a-kind, custom copper plated wheels with Lincoln penny designs and matching copper plating on numerous small metal parts. The gas tank, rear fender and battery covers feature airbrushed Lincoln portraits and depictions of Lincoln sites.
The air cleaner is shaped like Lincoln’s stove pipe hat; the exhaust pipes look like wooden rails of the type Lincoln used to split, with an axe forming the shifter; and the foot pegs are copies of mid-1800s shackles, representing the issue of slavery.
Black chrome adorns the engine cases and bolts, and the Illinois license plate reads “ABE200.”
Richard Levi, president and CEO of Levi, Ray & Shoup Inc. of Springfield, owns the motorcycle, and Kim Shirley, the man who owns Kim’s Auto Body Inc. of Springfield, designed and built it.
During his days as a circuit rider, Abraham Lincoln would spend two to three months every fall and winter attending court throughout central Illinois. Lincoln was one of the few attorneys who rode the entire circuit along with the presiding judge and the state’s attorney.
Lincoln enjoyed the camaraderie with the legal fraternity, and honed his innate skills as an orator while encouraging dispute resolution in and out of the courtroom.
Lincoln served as a state legislator in the Vandalia Statehouse until 1839, when Springfield became the state capital. The Statehouse is open Tuesday through Saturday for free public tours.