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I lived and went to Bicycle Heaven

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I lived and went to Bicycle Heaven

Old 06-30-16, 02:19 PM
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I lived and went to Bicycle Heaven

I visited my brother in Pittsburgh last week and he took me to this place called Bicycle Heaven. Have you heard of it? Neither words nor pictures can really capture what this place is, but I'll try. It's kind of part museum, part personal collection on display, part garage contents on display, with just a hint of functioning bike shop thrown in for good measure.

First, it's in a warehouse district (for reason which become obvious after you've been there a while) and kind of hard to find. Google maps took us to a street that's blocked by a fence with no view of the place. Driving around from there we found some hand made signs pointing the way. This is the view from the parking lot.



Note the guy working on the Stingray and the Home Depot buckets -- foreshadowing!

You hear "bicycle museum" and you probably think historically important bikes and maybe some grail-type bikes. It's not like that. If you aren't paying attention, you might miss this on the wall to your left as you walk in to the dark front room.



It's a crowded room with a couple of narrow pathways. Walking along, this bike caught my eye.



There are four of them together at this spot. If you can read the "placard" you'll see that this is a Bowden Spacelander -- one of just 544 made, 30 of which are still "to be found", 17 of which are in this building.

Continuing along this path, you find yourself surrounded by Stingrays, along with a variety of other oddities.

"Chicks and ducks and geese better scurry..."



But how boss would you be riding up to the ball field on this bike with the AM radio playing?



Oh, and there's a display case. It must contain something interesting and relevant....



OK, at least interesting.

About this time someone comes by and asks us if we're going to visit the museum. Seeing us make this face he nods and says "Upstairs" and wanders off again. So we grope our way through a few more rooms stuffed full of old bikes, mostly Schwinns, until we find the stairs.

Upstairs is a maze full of rooms that mostly contain more Schwinns surrounded by unattached bike parts. Lots of parts....



(continued in next post)
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Old 06-30-16, 02:21 PM
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So, interesting but still clearly not a museum. After walking through four or five rooms full of various parts, we find the door to the museum, mostly by accident, because I don't remember it being marked in any way. It was more like, "I wonder what's in here."

But this time it's clearly the museum.



Hey, look! A Bowden Spacelander (or four)!

They were re-arranging the museum space to accomodate a birthday party that was going to be held there that evening, but I don't think it really detracted from our appreciation of the spectacle.

At this point, I'll cut to the chase and show you the pride of the collection.



How cool is that?! A lot of the bikes in this collection are for sale, including at least a few of the Bowdens, but not this one. Not for a hundred million, trillion, billion dollars!

But you can't build a museum around a single piece, no matter how good it is. You need support pieces, and Bicycle Heaven has them.





(look closely at that one)



Oh, wow! A Schwinn.





How good is your collection, when you leave the Huffy Aerowinds hanging from the ceiling!

There are, of course, more loose parts, but inside the museum they are more tastefully arranged.





Anyway, I feel like I've just barely scratched the surface. It really is a remarkable place. If you find yourself in Pittsburgh, I highly recommend checking this place out. And if you don't find yourself in Pittsburgh, try the Google Street View walk through: https://goo.gl/maps/hHvTC7hguDF2.
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Old 06-30-16, 02:28 PM
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My kind of freakshow, thanks for sharing.
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Old 06-30-16, 02:33 PM
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That is pretty wild, a complete assault on the senses.
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Old 06-30-16, 02:50 PM
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In post #2, first picture, there appear to be Spacelander spare front fenders hanging from the ceiling in the upper right. The whole place looks really cool - thanks for sharing!

DD
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Old 06-30-16, 03:22 PM
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Wow. We almost checked out that place after biking to Pittsburgh from DC, but were too tired and wanted to go home. Next time. Looks like not a lot of lightweights, but still - mighty impressive.
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Old 06-30-16, 03:25 PM
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Another Wow! If it were a bit closer, it would be a definite field trip.
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Old 06-30-16, 03:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Drillium Dude View Post
In post #2, first picture, there appear to be Spacelander spare front fenders hanging from the ceiling in the upper right.
You're right. I hadn't noticed that, but I'm not surprised. It was definitely that kind of place. Cool stuff everywhere. I left feeling like I had probably overlooked around half of what was there.
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Old 06-30-16, 03:34 PM
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Amazing. Nice photos. Thanks.
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Old 06-30-16, 03:54 PM
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Cool! Thanks for sharing.
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Old 06-30-16, 04:16 PM
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I picture the owner/curator as Gordon Jump.
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Old 06-30-16, 04:55 PM
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Thanks for posting that @andy k.

How long has that been there/in development?
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Old 06-30-16, 06:27 PM
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Originally Posted by SquidPuppet View Post
Thanks for posting that @andy k.

How long has that been there/in development?
I have no idea, but check out this interview with the proprietor:

All bikes go to heaven in Pittsburgh museum | TribLIVE

He says he's been collecting bikes for about 30 years. No clear indication of when he moved everything into the current location. It sounds like this was just the natural outcome of unchecked N+1.

While I was there I overheard a shop employee trying to talk a customer out of throwing a '90s department store bike in the trash. It's a very cool place.
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Old 06-30-16, 07:03 PM
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Wow................... Just wow
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Old 06-30-16, 07:07 PM
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Ultra cool !! When he mentioned the music section, I had to check out the Nox Boys and I'm glad I did. Local PA punks:
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Old 06-30-16, 07:11 PM
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More pics! Do you have any of the two chrome frame Paramounts?

Visited this museum a couple years back, awesome place!
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Old 06-30-16, 09:59 PM
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Utterly bonkers. Jam-packed in a enormous space. I hear Pittsburgh is a great place to go riding, too. Get a chance to do that while you were there?

BTW, Orioles cap? Are you originally from Charm City, @Andy_K?
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Old 06-30-16, 10:13 PM
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That is very cool. Thank you for posting this.
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Old 06-30-16, 10:16 PM
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I want more!!!
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Old 06-30-16, 11:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Lascauxcaveman View Post
Utterly bonkers. Jam-packed in a enormous space. I hear Pittsburgh is a great place to go riding, too. Get a chance to do that while you were there?
The streets are a bit narrow and busy for my tastes. They have a decent network of MUPs though. I rode the Great Allegheny Passage and C&O Canal last year. This year all I did was ship back the bike I left there after that trip.


Originally Posted by Lascauxcaveman View Post
BTW, Orioles cap? Are you originally from Charm City, Andy_K?
Western Maryland -- Cumberland to be exact, the Queen City.
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Old 06-30-16, 11:28 PM
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I'm afraid I already posted most of the pictures I took. Here are a few more.

















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Old 07-01-16, 03:53 AM
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Wow - bet there are no N+1 problems there. Truly interesting and fun to view.
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Old 07-01-16, 07:51 AM
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Is story on the bike in the tree about a kid that went away for WWII and never came home? The parents left his bike right where he last put it and the tree grew around it.
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Old 07-01-16, 08:11 AM
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Originally Posted by randyjawa View Post
Wow - bet there are no N+1 problems there. Truly interesting and fun to view.
If he bought one more, how would his wife ever know?

Thanks for the virtual tour. Looks like a bucket list destination for some future eastward trip.
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Old 07-01-16, 08:54 AM
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That is intense.
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