STILLWATER, Okla. — The family history isn’t the kind that fits in a living room or neatly on a shelf.
Guy Cooper’s collection on two wheels is much too big, not to mention the bikes and motorcycles themselves.
“Anything to do with bikes and motorcycles,” he says. “There’s a lot of bikes here.”
It was Cooper’s dad, Charles, who nudged the family harness business toward bicycles in the 1920’s.
“And it took off,” says Guy.
He liked motorcycles too. So did Guy’s mom, Mary Ellen.
“Dad really liked the Indian Vertical Twin,” says the younger Cooper.
The Coopers raced Indian motorcycles.
“These are their trophies,” points Guy. “My dad would have said there were more for my mom than my dad.”
They owned a little bike shop in Stillwater that’s still there.
Guy boasts, “I can put my hands on 1,200 bicycles.”
Guy himself liked going faster than he could pedal, so he started racing motocross as a kid and just kept going.
For a while in the early to mid-’90s, he was one of the top competitors in the sport.
“The crowd liked me,” he chuckles. “I either won or it was spectacular.”
Meanwhile, his dad was still collecting and trading for two-wheel history. It helped that he never threw anything away.
“My dad really liked the wood rim bikes.”
But the passion for gathering grew too.
What you see here is only a fraction of the Cooper collection, stored in truck trailers and buildings all over Stillwater.
From this 1868 French Bone Shaker clear up to the early days of BMX, Guy Cooper keeps his dad’s bikes like he did, ready to ride.
“These are bikes that my dad found all over the United States that were ridden and put away. They’re not showroom new but they do tell a story.”
Guy Cooper conducts group tours of his collection of bikes and motorcycles.
The Cooper Bicycle Center will celebrate 90 years of business in October 2019.
‘Is This a Great State or What?’ is sponsored by WEOKIE.