The very small town of New Bremen, Ohio sits in far western Ohio, not far from Indiana. It is a very unlikely place for a world class bicycle museum, but it is there, the Bicycle Museum of America.
The museum’s content was purchased by Jim Dicke, who owns Crown Equipment Corporation. Crown’s primary business is fork lifts, and business must be good because it allowed Jim to purchase the collection from the Schwinn family which had displayed it on the Navy Pier in Chicago.
Among their holdings is the oldest existing bicycle in America, built in 1815. Their collection of pre 1900 bikes is amazing. Also of note is the collection of bicycles that challenged standard engineering, including direct drive bikes, one with a massive gear in front, spikes for riding on ice, and many others.
The first floor has the showpieces, a collection of 1800s bikes including some high wheeled ones.
On the upper level is a nice display of Ohio made bicycles, as well as some Whizzers.
The day we were there they opened the lower level where they store the others not normally shown. While impressive, it pales in comparison to the quantity that we saw at Bicycle Heaven in Pittsburgh. This is no way takes away from the stunning collection upstairs. It is clear Bicycle Heaven has the quantity, this museum has the quality. Both are well worth a visit, and spectacular in their own way.
This was our second visit, and I am certain it won’t be our last.