The Bicycle Museum of America7 West Monroe Street
New Bremen, OH 45869
419-629-9249 | http://www.bicyclemuseum.com/index.html
The Bicycle Museum of America
The Bicycle Museum of America features over 300 bikes on display. This comprehensive museum tells the story of one of the world’s most popular methods of transportation, from early inventions to novelty bikes.
The Bicycle Museum of America is one of the world’s largest collections of antique and vintage bicycles. With over 1,000 different bikes in rotation, the Museum preserves examples of early attempts to perfect the bicycle. Ladies’ bicycles and cycling accoutrements show how cycling led to radical changes, like wearing bloomers, for women. Bicycle stands, repair cabinets, and racing medals show the backstory to cycling. The Museum features displays of major bicycle manufacturers, like Schwinn and Huffy, along with novelty bikes that show the artistry brought to cycling.
The second floor of the Museum offers a fascinating look at military bicycles and features some rare examples, like the foldable bike paratroopers took into battle during World War II. The Museum also documents how bicycles came to be seen as a rite of passage for children and adolescents during the twentieth century with an impressive selection of youth bicycles.
The earliest form of the bicycle dates back to 1816, but initial models were unwieldy and dangerous. As the design was perfected over the nineteenth century, it led to a popularity boom in the 1880s and 90s. Eventually, automobiles became Americans’ preferred method of transportation, which led bicycle companies to develop innovative marketing practices to reach new demographics. Today, cycling is still a favored mode of transport for many as well as a successful sport and hobby. The Bicycle Museum documents the importance of cycling in many Americans’ lives as a form of exercise, community, sport, and leisure.
Notes for Travelers
The Bicycle Museum is adjacent to a well-preserved segment of the Miami-Erie Canal. Memorials and educational signs explain the significance of the canal to the founding and development of New Bremen. There is a scenic walking path between the preserved canal and a public park and playground, making it the ideal destination for families to spend an afternoon. The Bicycle Museum also contains several artifacts of importance to the New Bremen area on the first floor, including a 37th Infantry Flag carried during the Civil War and a display devoted to local-born astronaut Neil Armstrong.
Additional ResourcesHerlihy, David V. Bicycle: The History. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2006.
Turpin, Robert. First Taste of Freedom: A Cultural History of Bicycle Marketing in the United States. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, 2018.