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 in which to stash the bikes the business had stored in rented garages across northeast Minneapolis.
That new space included a big second floor. Meanwhile a 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 Pusgley fat-tire bikes, cyclists will get a glimpse of cycling history that highlights important advances in biking from technology to alliances with good roads boosters to changing social mores. They’ll see those how changes affected bike safety and speed.
It’s a coming-out party for the museum, which organizers say 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 told a sneak
preview Thursday night that was intended to elicit interest and funds from an invitee list that dressed from cutoffs to suits.
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, hand-made frames by some of the state’s noted builder, bikes on which some of the state’s best-known racers sped, and vintage machines such as a locally made tandem designed for courting couples.
But there are also prosaic bike collectibles, such as the 1950s prototype of a Park Tool Co. bike repair stand. It features such parts as a concrete-filled World War II shell casing, kitchen table legs and a 1937 Ford truck axle.
Anderson, 42, of Arden Hills, remembers looking 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 this month he completed a century (100-mile) ride on one at a collectors meeting.
The nursing home janitor said he takes a frugal approach to collecting. He said he reminds his wife: “There’s other hobbies I could get into. I could get into hunting or gambling or drinking.”
(Above: Recovery Bike co-owner with a bike that mimicked automobile streamlining; below: an 1897 courting tandem made by Deere and Webber of Minneapolis.)