May is National Bike Month, and Ohio just so happens to be home to the Bicycle Museum of America in New Bremen, which is only an hour north of Dayton. With over 200 bicycles on display, combined with other cycling artifacts, this New Bremen attraction is worth the drive— or should we say, worth the ride.
The museum is home to one of the largest private collections of bicycles on the planet. The total collection of 800 bicycles doesn’t all fit in the three-story museum at once, so the offering rotates periodically to show off about a fourth of the collection each cycle.
The centerpiece of the museum is the Schwinn Family Collection of bicycles, which was the first acquisition by the museums founder, Jim Dicke II. Dicke bought the 170-piece collection at auction from where the family had them on display in Chicago in 1997, and brought it to New Bremen to start up the museum.
The name of the museum is also rooted in history; the Bicycle Museum of America was the name of the Schwinn Family Collection and was carried over to the museum when it moved to Ohio, according to the museum.
The Bicycle Museum of America offers a slice of pop culture, as well as history. The museum houses the 1953 Schwinn DX bicycle used by Pee-wee Herman in the 1985 movie “Pee-wee’s Big Adventure” and bikes from late actor Robin Williams’ personal collection.
The museum, which is an estimated one- to one-and-a-half-hour tour, also touts a collection of over 1,000 bicycle-related artifacts, including bicycle blueprints, catalogues and advertisements.
Among the collection are historical pieces including bikes from as early as the 1800s. A replica high-wheeler bicycle is mounted to the floor for museum guests to hop on and experience what a ride on the late 19th century bike would be like. A pedal car is also on display and available to be interacted with by visitors.
The historic collection has ties back to Dayton, too. In the collection sits a 1900 Dayton women’s bike manufactured by the Davis Sewing Machine Company, which became popular in the area for its bicycles in the late 1800s before transforming into the Huffy Corporation. The Wright Brother’s are represented as well, with a replica 1896 St. Clair airfoil test bicycle in the collection.
While none of the bicycles or artifacts in the collection are up for sale, visitors can stop into the gift shop offered by the museum to pick out Bicycle Museum of America memorabilia to take home.
Currently observing its winter hours schedule, the Bicycle Museum of America is open weekdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and is closed on Sundays. The museum will be open on Memorial Day from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., perfect for a quick day trip on the day off work and school. Summer hours for the museum begin on June 1 and are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays.
HOW TO GO
What: The Bicycle Museum of America
When: Now through May 31: Weekdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Beginning June 1: Weekdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Where: 7 W Monroe St., New Bremen, Ohio
Cost: Admission is $3 for adults, $2 for seniors, $1 for students and free for children ages 5 and under.
More Information: Visit https://www.bicyclemuseum.com/ or the museum’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/BicycleMuseumofAmerica.