Herbert Lane “Herby” Miller is recognized for his pioneering activities in motorcycling during the 1910s.
Miller was born in Danville, Ill., in 1878 to Luther and Ruie. His life-long employment was with his father’s firm, L. F. Miller & Son, wholesalers of fruits and produce. When he turned 26, he began motorcycling on a 1904 Merkel.
By 1908, Miller had owned four motorcycles, which, in order, were a Mitchell, a Curtis an F.N. and an NSU. His favorite machine was the NSU, which he bought by mail order from New York.
He married Sarah Ann Walters, and became known as Herby to new friends in the world of motorcycling. He rode street motorcycles throughout Illinois and the neighboring state of Indiana.
Miller became a contributing editor to Motorcycle Illustrated magazine, wherein he wrote about a trip to a Chicago meeting of the Federation of American Motorcyclists (FAM). He and a friend started the trip on their motorcycles but after many miles of rugged roads, the other fellow dropped out. Herby commented that Indiana had better roads than did Illinois in those days. Later contributions to that same publication mention that motorcycles were becoming quite popular in the Danville, Ill., area and by 1906 there were groups that rode together whenever possible.
In May 1908 Miller and some friends promoted a hillclimb contest on a 1,660-foot hill near Langley, Ill. A contestant crested the hill in just 26.5 seconds. The hill was quite a distance from Danville, drawing on a larger population base than just Danville for both competitors and spectators.
Miller became the eastern field representative of NSU motorcycles and his testimonial-type endorsements were printed in the pages of Motorcycle Illustrated. The testimonials were signed by Herby with his FAM membership number 1126. By 1918, German-made products were slipping in popularity due to World War I, and NSU product sales waned.
He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1998.