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Art of the Bicycle Press Kit

THE ART OF THE BICYCLE EXHIBIT NOW OPEN AT MSI

CHICAGO (April 23, 2013)—Spring has sprung with bikes, bikes and more bikes! The Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago (MSI)’s new permanent exhibit, The Art of the Bicycle, takes guests through the evolution of bike engineering in a beautiful gallery juxtaposing nine rare bicycles from the Museum’s collection with 14 of today’s most cutting-edge bikes on the market. This exhibit is included in general admission.

Though the first bicycle design was simple, that initial spark of innovation inspired creative minds to invent a personal form of transportation that continues to evolve today. This exhibit will inspire guest’s inner-inventor as they traverse through the displays, gaining a sense of how bicycle engineering has advanced during an almost 200-year span.

“This exhibit highlights the ‘inventive genius’ that has helped the bicycle become one of the most popular, enjoyable and environmentally friendly forms of transportation,” said Kathleen McCarthy, the Museum’s director of collections. “The bike is special in that the changes made to its engineering were mainly made by its riders, who were continually inspired to improve designs and make the machine more safe, reliable and adaptable.”

Historic bikes on display include:

A replica of an 1818 Draisiene Walking Machine, from the Museum’s collection is the forerunner to today’s bicycles.  The machine had a wooden frame and metal wheel rims, but no pedals; riders would move the machine by pushing away from the ground using their feet.

The Kirkpatrick McMillan—a 1931 replica from the Museum’s collection—was originally introduced in 1839. Invented by Scottish blacksmith Kirkpatrick McMillan, this bike changed the way the world thought of transportation when he added pedals to his version of the “walking machine.”

The American Star High Wheel, a model from the late 1800s, has a small wheel in front and a large wheel in back. The pedal moves up and down rather than in a circular motion. The High Wheel provided a smooth ride, but at the expense of safety and maneuverability; riders could easily go “head over heels” if they hit a bump.

The Safety Bicycle, from the late 1880s and early 1900s allowed for a more reliable, mass-produced mode of transportation—and was easy for women to ride, too. In fact, its invention prompted women’s rights activist Susan B. Anthony to state: “The bicycle has done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world.”

The 1965 Sears Spaceliner highlights America’s infatuation with outer space during this time; the Spaceliner’s sleek lines and chrome finish appealed to the nation’s interest in rockets and spacecraft.

Current bikes on display include:

The fully functioning Cardboard Bicycle, created by Israeli inventor Izhar Gafni, is a one-of-a-kind prototype made for this exhibit. Despite being made of cardboard, it’s waterproof, fireproof and even has brake and pedal mechanisms made out of recyclable materials. Soon to be on the market for only $20, it could be an affordable transportation option for many.

Hybrid-electric cars are increasingly popular and now motorcycles can be hybrids, too! The new PiMobility Electric Hybrid bike can operate as motorcycle, a bicycle, or both.

The frame of the 2013 Cannondale Super6 EVO is so lightweight it weighs a remarkable one-and-a-half pounds. Made from government-approved, ballistic-grade BallisTec carbon fiber, it shows how engineers continue to push the boundaries of bicycle design and performance.

The ElliptiGO 8S is the Draisiene “Walking Machine” of today. This interesting cross between a bike and elliptical trainer, allows riders to take the experience of an indoor elliptical to the outdoors. Users stand during their ride, moving their feet in smooth circular motions to propel the bike forward.

The 2012 Surly Moonlander was designed to go where most bikes and their riders wouldn’t dare. Created for riders seeking extreme environments and unique terrains, its extra-wide tries provide greater traction on sand, gravel, snow and ice.

The TERN Collapsible Commuter 2013 model is an easy-to-fold bike perfect for urban commuters to store in an office, train or even in a suitcase.

“As guests will see in our exhibit, there is now a bicycle means to fit almost every need, terrain or riding style” said McCarthy.

About the Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago (MSI)

The Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago (MSI), one of the largest science museums in the world, offers world-class and uniquely interactive experiences that inspire inventive genius and foster curiosity. From groundbreaking and award-winning exhibits that can’t be found anywhere else, to hands-on opportunities that make you the scientist—a visit to MSI is where fun and learning mix. Through its Center for the Advancement of Science Education (CASE), the Museum offers a variety of student, teacher and family programs that make a difference in communities and contribute to MSI’s larger vision: to inspire and motivate children to achieve their full potential in science, technology, medicine and engineering. Come visit and find your inspiration! MSI is open 9:30–4 p.m. every day except Thanksgiving and Christmas day. Extended hours, until 5:30 p.m., are offered during peak periods. The Museum is grateful for the support of its donors and guests, who make its work possible. MSI is also supported in part by the people of Chicago through the Chicago Park District. For more information, visit msichicago.org or call (773) 684-1414.

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A replica of an 1818 Draisiene Walking Machine, from the Museum’s collection is the forerunner to today’s bicycles.

 [J.B. Spector/Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago]

 

The Safety Bicycle, from the late 1880s and early 1900s allowed for a more reliable, mass-produced mode of transportation.

 [J.B. Spector/Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago]

 

The fully functioning Cardboard Bicycle, created by Israeli inventor Izhar Gafni, is a one-of-a-kind prototype made for this exhibit. 

 [J.B. Spector/Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago]

 

The 2012 Surly Moonlander was designed to go where most bikes and their riders wouldn’t dare. 

 [J.B. Spector/Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago]

 

Various bicycle seats are arranged on a wall in Art of the Bicycle.

 [J.B. Spector/Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago]

 

Images presented here are for the express use for promoting the Museum of Science and Industry. All images must be properly credited. Images may not be reproduced by third parties without express written permission from the Museum of Science and Industry.