Pedal via biking historical past at this Ohio bike museum

NEW BREMEN, Ohio (AP) — In a former lodge right here in rural, western Ohio is a museum providing greater than two centuries of bicycle historical past, from early high-wheelers to candy-hued Nineteen Sixties Sting Rays.

There is a 1901 ice bike, a kitschy 1949 Donald Duck artifact, a military-issued bike with a machine gun mount, bikes that appeared in films (Pee Wee Herman’s) or belonged to stars (Robin Williams), and plenty of Schwinns. As a bonus, there is a Boy Scout cap worn by the primary man on the moon, who grew up close by.

The reveals fill three flooring and, in fact, rotate.

The Bicycle Museum of America traces the bike’s impression on tradition, transportation and plain ol’ enjoyable, displaying the way it grew to become synonymous with comfort and ease (thus the phrase, “It’s like using a bicycle.”)

Take, for instance, the Donald Duck bike made by the Shelby Cycle Firm in 1949. The Disney character’s head is on the entrance of the body, with flashing, battery-powered eyes. The horn quacks, and the bike is a vibrant blue and yellow.

Hanging above Donald within the exhibit is the ice bike, with a sled runner as a substitute of a entrance wheel, and a rear wheel with 30-plus spikes so riders may pedal throughout a frozen pond. Perhaps.

Close by is likely one of the modified 1953 Schwinn DX bikes utilized in “Pee-Wee’s Massive Journey,” the 1985 film a few childlike man’s quest to seek out his stolen bicycle.

The museum owes its creation to the tip of an period: the Schwinn period. The once-dominant American producer, based in 1895 by Ignaz Schwinn, went bankrupt in 1992. The Schwinn household’s assortment of a whole bunch of bicycles was offered at public sale in 1997.

“It’s arduous to maintain this mess of stuff,” Richard Schwinn, great-grandson of the founder, instructed the Chicago Tribune on the sale. “We may put it in storage or we may promote it and I’m bored with storing it.”

James Dicke II, head of the family-owned Crown Gear Corp. of New Bremen, which makes forklifts, purchased greater than 150 bicycles and memorabilia on the public sale for about $500,000, in line with newspaper experiences. That led to the creation of the Bicycle Museum of America, which Dicke continues to financially assist. It is housed within the former, upscale Resort Central, inbuilt 1891.

There are different biking artifacts in museums around the globe. The Smithsonian and Henry Ford Museum of Innovation every have giant bicycle collections. There are a handful of different devoted bicycle museums scattered throughout the nation, together with the Bicycle Heaven Museum in Pittsburgh, the Houston Bicycle Museum, and the Marin Museum of Bicycling in Fairfax, California.

The Bicycle Museum of America has one of many largest and most fascinating collections, with greater than 700 bikes, of which 173 are at present on show. It additionally has greater than 10,000 different bicycle-related objects, from catalogs and ads to blueprints and correspondence, stated Ryan Lengthy, the museum’s coordinator.

The primary flooring options the oldest fashions within the assortment, beginning with a duplicate of what many think about the world’s first bicycle: the 1816 Draisine, invented by Karl von Drais. The German’s “strolling machine” has two wheels of comparable measurement, one behind the opposite, and a steering gadget, however no pedals. Riders propelled the crude, wood automobile with their ft, ala Fred Flintstone.

The following main development was the French velocipede, the primary bike with pedals. The pedals had been connected to the entrance wheel, and the bikes had been nicknamed “boneshakers” for his or her bouncy trip.

The boneshaker led to the high-wheeled bicycle, or penny farthing. There are a number of on show, together with a high-wheeler that guests can trip. Thankfully, it’s connected firmly to the bottom with steps that make the climb to the saddle much less harmful.

The time period “taking a header” is alleged to have originated with these tall, unstable bicycles, as many riders flew face first over the handlebars.

The invention of the protection bicycle in 1885 by Britain’s John Kemp Starley made biking simpler. It has the identical fundamental design nonetheless in use right this moment: two wheels of the identical measurement, a diamond-shaped body, and pedals between the wheels that flip the rear wheel. Add the invention of pneumatic tires and by the mid-Nineties, the world was bicycle mad.

“The Nineties was the best bicycle growth so far,” Lengthy stated. “Everybody wished a bicycle and manufacturing swelled all through the Nineties till the car took over the market.”

Girls took to the bicycle in enormous numbers, and museum signage quotes suffragist Susan B. Anthony saying the protection bicycle “has executed extra to emancipate girls than the rest on the earth.” It additionally helped popularize bloomers.

Annie Oakley claimed she was the primary girl to trip a bicycle in London, and she or he did some fancy trick capturing whereas pedaling.

The navy went additional, mounting a Colt machine gun on an 1896 Columbia Mannequin 40. The museum’s mannequin has a storage case for ammunition and diverse provides mounted on the rear rack.

Robin Williams, who died in 2014, liked biking and picked up greater than 100 bikes. The museum has two of them: a high-tech Zipp bike from 1992 and a La Carrera Futura 2000, an Italian-made, all-white mannequin lined in polka dots that proves bicycles will be artworks.

Tandems had been all the craze within the Nineties, and Ignaz Schwinn constructed one for his spouse and himself in 1897. It featured a seat between the 2 riders to carry one in every of their toddler kids. The museum has the one recognized mannequin.

Maybe the most well-liked Schwinn mannequin was the Sting Ray, manufactured from 1968 to 1973. It featured the well-known banana-shaped seat, and a five-speed shifter on the tube that ran from the saddle to the handlebars. Sting Rays got here in vivid colours with mannequin names like Lemon Peeler, Grape Krate and Orange Krate.

Close to the Sting Ray are two extra distinctive bikes: A 1955 Huffy Radiobike has a working radio constructed into the body with volume-control and tuning dials. And Harley Davidson offered bicycles from 1917 to 1922, a advertising maneuver to draw younger riders to the model; the museum has one with a sidecar.

Neil Armstrong, who grew up in close by Wapakoneta, flew to fame in a special kind of auto, however there’s a group of his memorabilia within the museum. The Armstrong assortment consists of two of the astronaut’s flight fits, a leather-based jacket, his Air Drive Coaching Certificates, and the Boy Scout cap he might have worn as he pedaled to weekly troop conferences.


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