Honda Motorcycle from the 1967 Tokyo Crusade

October 6, 2023

Franklin Graham’s Honda motorcycle in the Library’s Journey of Faith tour

Franklin Graham has always had a great love for motorcycles. He talks about his love for everything mechanical in his autobiography, Rebel with a Cause.

Combined with this talent for finding excitement, I have always had a great curiosity about mechanical things. If there’s a machine or device that makes noise, goes fast, and blows smoke, I want to have one and take it apart to see what makes it work—and put it back together again. That’s my idea of fun. One machine that has all the necessary elements—noise, speed, and smoke—is the motorcycle. When I was eleven, my parents finally relented and let me earn money doing odd jobs so I could buy a Rupp minibike. It had a very noisy two-and-a-half horsepower Clinton four-cycle engine. I rode it everywhere and wore out the tires faster than I could earn money to buy new ones. I’ve had a motorcycle of one kind or another ever since.

Franklin Graham on his Rupp minibike

True to what he wrote in his autobiography, Franklin has even ridden a motorcycle at his version of Crusades called Festivals.

Franklin Graham rides a motorcycle to the venue of his Festival in Perth, Scotland in 1999

Franklin’s love for motorcycles didn’t stop with him. He’s passed on his love for riding to his children. His mother, Ruth Bell Graham, was also very intrigued by them. Franklin shares in his autobiography:

After watching me ride motorcycles for years—my hair flying in the wind and a crazy grin on my face—I think Mama just had to find out what was so exciting about it. Even though she constantly warned me to be careful, she knew there was something particularly thrilling about roaring down the road with the wind in your face. Finally, her curiosity got the best of her, and she asked our old family friend, Johnny Frist, if she could ride his Harley-Davidson motorcycle.

Franklin riding a motorbike in 1993 with his daughter, Cissie

You can see one of Franklin’s motorcycles on display in the Library’s Journey of Faith tour. The Honda motorcycle was presented as a gift to Billy Graham at the conclusion of the 1967 Tokyo Crusade. Mr. Graham gave the bike to his then-teenage son Franklin.

Franklin Graham’s Honda motorcycle in the Library’s Journey of Faith tour

On October 21, the Library will once again host its annual Bikers With Boxes event. Bikers are encouraged to collect filled shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child and bring them to the Library that day. Festivities include special guest speakers, music from Dennis Agajanian, free lunch, and lots of giveaways. Find out more about this event.

Franklin Graham greets a biker at Bikers With Boxes in 2020.

Make plans to visit the Library this fall and take The Journey of Faith tour. Admission is always free.

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