“When you start to ride, everyone grabs onto the handles for dear life,” said Anderson, whose 19th-century bike collection forms the backbone of the fledgling Cycling Museum of Minnesota.“I tell them to relax their hands and the bike will keep you upright.It’s like riding an enormous gyroscope.” Now the hipster generation will get a close-up of the swan-necked high-wheelers on which their great-grandparents set the stage for the nation’s first bike craze.
Gallery: An American Star bicycle dating to 1884 was designed with the smaller wheel in front to avoid the tendency of other high wheelers to pitch forward.
The Star's pedals ratchet up and down around a flywheel, better accommodating riders of different leg lengths.
The bike will be in the show on loan from Juston Anderson.
The Star's pedals, shown here, ratcheted up and down around a flywheel, better accommodating riders of different leg lengths.
] JEFF WHEELER • [email protected] exhibit on the high-wheeled boneshaker bikes were seen in Minneapolis during the first bike craze of the 1880's will be on display at the Hennepin History Museum in an exhibit curated by the Cycling Museum of Minnesota. Gallery: Detail of the handlebars, brake, and saddle of an American Star bicycle dating to 1884.
The Star's pedals ratcheted up and down around a flywheel, better accommodating riders of different leg lengths.Gallery: Detail of the interior of a League of American Wheelmen stein, showing the lithophane in the bottom that when empty and held up to the light, revealed a scene of a high wheel bike catastrophe on a city sidewalk.Juston Anderson boasts that he can teach someone to ride a high-wheeled bike in two minutes — even though they may be sitting 5 feet above the pavement.Hit the exhibit on the right day, and you might even get a chance to mount a high-wheeler. Back in the Gilded Age, these long-spoked bikes were the playthings of the rich, or maybe the upper-middle class.They demanded leisure time and energy that working stiffs toiling 12-hour days at manual labor couldn’t spare.Plus, high-wheels were expensive, several thousand dollars in today’s money. Roads at best were brick or cobblestoned, and muddy or dusty at worst.