VanGilder rode the first motorcycle ever purchased by the Leesburg Police Department. Police are holding an auction through Friday for that vehicle, first used in 1989, atpublicsurplus.com/sms/leesburg,va/auction/view?auc=762583, with proceeds going to the town's general budget.
Could you describe the motorcycle?
It's a 1989 Harley Davidson FLHTP. We have one issue that's remained steady in this town -- traffic. We used that motorcycle for traffic enforcement. It's sad, but we don't have room for the motorcycle anymore. We talked about preserving our heritage, maybe displaying it, but the rigors of the job were just too severe for something that old.
Is it still in riding-shape?
We haven't used it in 12 years. It had a flat tire and a measurable amount of dirt and dust. I said, 'Let's air this thing out and wash it off.' We put fluids and fuel in it and jump started it; it fired right up. They went and put a battery in it. I took it for a drive. The carburetor needs some work. Otherwise it's impressively decent. It's already at $4,000, which is pretty shocking. I know we paid $8,000 for it brand new in 1989.
Any nostalgia now that your old ride is for sale?
A lot of memories on that motorcycle -- it was a faithful vehicle. Being the first motorcycle officer in Leesburg was pretty cool. It saw a lot of action. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't interested in it. Nostalgia is important, but there's a price for it. I can't afford it.
Why so much early interest in the motorcycle?
It's an old Harley, an old warhorse. That's American iron. That's pretty cool. Things have changed, no doubt. I don't really see this vehicle as a daily driver or something for a cross-country trip, but it'd be cool to add to your collection. I've had a motorcycle since I was 18 -- it was my first act of defiance. - Brian Hughes