Bicycle Heaven Museum Displays Over 4,000 Bikes That Have Been Acquired During The Past 30 Years By Owner Craig Morrow.
Bicycle Heaven, Craig Morrow, John Glenn, Daniel O'Shop, Bowden Spacelander
MRV: The Buzz, Your Outdoor Lifestyle Insider, Written By: Olivia Richman
Visit The number 1 museum in pittsburgh
Craig Marrow Started Collecting Bikes 30 Years Ago And Still To This Day, Eventually Opening A Museum Of His Work Called Bicycle Heaven
With a collection of over 4,000 bikes, Bicycle Heaven is a museum that celebrates not only celebrity bikes and rare bikes, but the fond memories that ordinary bikes have given ordinary people over the years. Families who visit the museum often find themselves marveling over not just the antique bikes and engineering marvels of yesteryear, but bikes they had as a child.
“When you were younger and went on a bike to go to school or come back to school... It was your first thing... It was your freedom,” said owner Craig Morrow. “It got you out of the house. That was your transportation. That was it for me. You went riding around with your friends. We would go to a park two hours away... We weren't allowed to go that far, but we did. I always had adventures on bicycles.”
The first bike Morrow ever had – an orange Schwinn Stingray Krate – is still his favorite bike to this day, mostly because of the memories. But he likes all of the bikes in the museum because they all have a story and history. They're innovative, they're race-winning, they're brought on adventures all over the world and featured on television shows, spread throughout the three-floor museum.
One of the rarer bikes in the museum a boneshaker, an all wooden bike from 1863. The term boneshaker refers to the first type of “true bicycle” with pedals. It got its name due to being extremely uncomfortable to ride, thanks to its stiff wrought-iron frame and wooden wheels surrounded by tires made of iron. Few still exist today, since most had been scrapped during World War I.
Another museum favorite is the Bowden Spacelander, designed by inventor Benjamin Bowden in the 1940s. The first fiberglass bikes ever made, the highly stylized, art deco bikes were seen as the “bikes of the future.” Despite that title, only 500 space bikes were made. Seventeen of them are at Bicycle Heaven.
Then there's Peewee Herman's bike, the one featured in Peewee's Great Adventure. Many of the bikes in the museum have also been rented out to movies when older models are needed, like bikes from the 1970s and 80s for Super 8.
Some bicycles at the museum are also locally famous, including a bike that was ridden all over the world by Pittsburgh cyclist Daniel O'Shop. Said Morrow: “I have one bike that was donated to me because his brother passed away. He wanted to put his bike somewhere. We have a BMX bike here that this guy's sister donated. He rode his bike until he got paralyzed and he wanted his bike to be somewhere. I have bikes here that were from soldiers who died in Vietnam.”
Bicycle Heaven has been open for six years, but Morrow started collecting bikes 30 years ago out of his home. But he was starting to acquire too many and needed more space to put them.
“I always liked antiques,” he recalled, “even as a kid. I collected antique bottles at 12. I've always liked flea markets. I used to do a lot of automotive body work. But I quit my job, sick of the paint fumes. That's when I started fixing bikes.”
Bicycle Heaven has been the number one museum in Pittsburgh on numerous travel websites over the past six years. Morrow believes it's because of the personal stories and the connection people have to the bikes, reminding them of their own experiences and adventures.
“I talked to John Glenn, the astronaut. When I talked to him I said, 'Just think, the first thing you ever drove was a bicycle.' And he goes, 'I never thought about that, but you're right. I love my bike.' It was neat hearing that from him,” recalled Morrow. “It was a big thing for him. He said he remembered flying down the road, in command of that ship. It was pretty interesting.”
While Bicycle Heaven shows how bikes have transformed throughout the years, it really is people's own transformation – from bikes to cars – that makes the museum a fan favorite. Families will often stop at a bike and say something like, “I rode my bike all over the place... I chipped my tooth... I got this scar...”
For Morrow, the museum is an inspiration for children to get off their iPads and get onto a bike.
A graduate of East Connecticut State University in Journalism, Olivia has written for Stonebridge Press & Antiques Marketplace among others. She enjoys writing, running and video games.