I own a bicycle. I used to commute to school via bike and I own a Pittsburgh trail map. I can reconnect a brake cable and theoretically know how to adjust my spoke tension. I’m not a total luddite, but to me bicycles are a necessity only if there’s no buses and it will take too long to walk. So when a friend came in to Pittsburgh recently and suggested we go to Bicycle Heaven, I had no idea where or what it was, much less that it existed.
Opened last spring and billed as “The World’s Largest Bicycle Museum and Shop”, it became obvious very quickly that the “Heaven” part of the name is spot-on for the bike-lovers amongst us.
The sprawling museum is a rough collection of stuff. There are bikes — and bike-like contraptions — everywhere: on the ceiling, the floors, the walls, on display as well as in closets and piles. There are parts in buckets and hanging in neat rows and teetering on shelves. There’s a pinball machine that was used on Happy Days, a small shrine of Elvis collectables, and a number of other pieces of nostalgic memorabilia. Signage is limited to a few handwritten tags and papers with fun facts and dates, but the guys in the building were more than happy to talk to us about their favorites and made sure we got around to all the hidden corners.
There’s no admission fee, though they encourage donations and have honor-system snacks and drinks available for purchase. I highly recommended a visit to anybody interested in history, mechanics, design, biking or unusual collections!