A 19th-century boneshaker? There's a Mpls. bike museum for that

  • Article by: STEVE BRANDT , Star Tribune
  • Updated: July 26, 2014 - 4:55 PM

Dozens of bicycles collected across 3 decades are on brief exhibit in a new museum.

When Brent Fuqua moved the expanding bike shop he co-owns into a newly refurbished storefront across Central Avenue last summer, he suddenly had thousands of square feet to stash the bikes the business had stored across northeast Minneapolis.

His buddy, Juston Anderson, had accumulated somewhere between 40 and 50 vintage bikes in 27 years of collecting.

“I thought people should see these bikes,” Fuqua said.

So during Sunday’s Open Streets event, in which bikers will take over 8 1/2 blocks of Central for six hours, the Cycling Museum of Minnesota will debut in the upstairs of Recovery Bike Shop, 2504 Central Av. NE.

From 19th-century boneshakers, including one with a 60-inch drive wheel, to trendy Pugsley fat-tire bikes, aficionados will get a glimpse of cycling history that highlights advances from technology to alliances with “Good Roads” boosters to changing social mores. They will also see how those changes affected bike safety and speed.

Organizers say the museum is only in the formative stages and won’t be open regularly until sometime next year.

“It was just a bunch of dudes with bikes,” Fuqua said Thursday night at a sneak peak intended to elicit interest and fundraising.

The organization’s nine-member board has incorporated and plans to put on educational programs, conduct community rides, host family events, present lectures and show films.

The collection includes beginner bikes for kids, BMX bikes, mass-produced bikes by Sears, handmade frames by some of the state’s noted builders, bikes used by some of the state’s best-known racers and vintage machines such as a locally made tandem designed for courting couples.

But there are other biking collectibles, such as the 1950s prototype of a Park Tool Co. bike repair stand. It features parts such as a concrete-filled World War II shell casing, kitchen-table legs and a 1937 Ford truck axle.

Anderson, 42, of Arden Hills, used to look at pictures as a kid of the high-wheeled bikes that dominated the 1880s but were typically affordable only to wealthy young men with strong legs.

“I remember thinking, ‘I don’t know how you could balance on something like that,’ ” he said. But earlier in July, he completed a 100-mile ride on one.

The nursing-home janitor said he takes a frugal approach to collecting, joking with his wife: “There’s other hobbies I could get into. I could get into hunting or gambling or drinking.”

Steve Brandt • 612-673-4438

Twitter: @brandtstrib

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