1940s Indian Scout | The Bike That Changed My Life

Rider: Frank Regan
Then: Bored teenager admiring another man's ride.
Now: Wishing he had that Scout!

“In the mid-1940s, the sun shone brightly on the great American two-lane blacktop. My family was coming home from vacation in New Hampshire when my father stopped his wheezy pre-war Hudson sedan for fuel and a check of other vital fluids. As was his wont, he got into a friendly-but-protracted political discussion with the attendant.

“Bored to exasperation, I wandered into the back of the station. The boredom vanished as I saw a fire-engine-red Indian Scout: massive side-valve V-twin engine, valanced fenders and large banana seat with chrome railing. A mechanic invited me to swing a leg over the machine. I had plenty of two-wheel time, but on a Columbia bicycle with white-walled balloon tires, faux gas tank, sprung front wheel and luggage rack. My bike weighed maybe 90 lbs., but it did not prepare me for the massive Indian.

“I was a callow youth of 13 years and couldn’t imagine starting up this beast and riding onto the great, open road. This machine belonged in another world; one that I was just peering into. I did get the monster off its sidestand (with the attendant hovering nearby), and for a small eternity I imagined cruising down some backroad on a warm July day. After an anxious moment, I returned the Scout to its stand. The mechanic breathed a sigh of relief, but I was changed forever.

“My father had started to look for me. Seeing me astride the red Indian, he hollered, ‘Get off that fool thing and get in the car!’ I am still riding some kind of ‘fool thing,’ but there is nothing like a first love.”