It’s wonderful to see weird bicycles made a hundred years ago that were actually ridden down the street at some point. There are many bicycle museums but only a few are worth the visit. We picked several of them and put them on your next travel list. Check them out!
Koers: Museum of cycle racing
Entry fee: 7 euro
Should we name one country with bicycle racing tradition, it would be Belgium. In Belgium, they have the tradition, history, heroes, and brands. The city of Roeselare is proud to have no fewer than four World champions: Benoni Beheyt, Patrick Sercu, Jean-Pierre Monseré, and Freddy Maertens. Koers museum in Roeselare comprises of six main departments. The ‘World Champions Room’ shows bicycles of all shapes and sizes, from the first “running” machines to fixies and from rare historic bikes to a cyclo-cross bike belonging to Sven Nys. The museum’s loft houses the ‘Racing is…’ section and has an answer for every question, explaining that cycling is associated with culture, science, war, commitment, emotions or commerce. The ‘Allez Jempi’ section is devoted to the young Word Champion coming from Belgium who became a national hero but passed away because of an accident only a year after his success. The ‘Factory and Knowledge’ centre serves as a place where you can get entertained and educated at once, and learn how bicycles are manufactured. In the’ Open Depot’, you can find forty must-see racing bikes on a permanent display.
National Bicycle Museum
Nimwegen, The Netherlands
Entry fee: 6 euro
Despite the absence of the website in English, the Velorama exhibition itself is lovely. The only bicycle museum in the Netherlands has a collection of a large number of special bicycles, including some original running machines (draisines), Vélocipèdes and high wheels or wooden bicycles. It shows the bicycles used by the Dutch royal family or the famous bicycle belonging to Dutch Wim van Est who fell to a 70-metre deep ravine while wearing a yellow jersey of the Tour de France leader in 1951. Miraculously, he survived the fall and, with the help of spectators, made it back to the track and wanted to pursue the leadership but, in the end, he was persuaded to go to the hospital. Moreover, the museum welcomes you to see a collection of toys, accessories, bicycle lamps, original posters and painted signs.
National Cycle Museum
Llandrindod Well, Wales, UK
Entry fee: 5 pounds
This is not just one of the leading bicycle museums in the UK but also in the world. Its collection includes over 260 cycles from an 1818 Hobby Horse, Victorian solid-tyre machines, classic lightweights to the latest carbon-fibre designs. You will see a bicycle made entirely from plastic, a Hobby Horse which is the historical draisine manufactured by Johnsons of London in 1818 consisting of wooden frame and wheels with iron tyres on them, a motorbike with a tiny engine stowed behind the saddle, an infamous boneshaker by Pierre Michaux from Paris who fashioned the bike completely from iron except for wooden wheels (covered in iron again), lots of penny-farthing bikes as there were around 400,000 people using them in the 1880s in Britain alone, women’s tricycles that were manufactured because women were not encouraged to use common bicycles in the 19th century, a rare sidecar to be attached to the bicycle from 1930s, and so much more.
The Danish Bicycle Museum
As Denmark is regarded as the country of cycling, it’s no wonder they also have a great museum showing the history of that kind of transportation. The only cycling museum in Scandinavia is located in Aalestrup. The exhibition was opened to the public to show the technical development of bicycles. The unique collection displays more than two hundred bikes from wooden machines and penny-farthings to the well-known brands of today. It also contains rare examples of experiments with bicycles as a way of propulsion across the last 150 years. Once you get fed up with bicycles, you can head over to additional collections of ancient sewing machines, wheelchairs, tape recorders, and radios. The museum is opened only from May to September so you can schedule the visit for your summer holidays.
German Bicycle Museum
Bad Brückenau, Germany
Entry fee: 6 euro
The German Bicycle Museum in Bad Brückenau was opened in 2004. Since then, it houses the most comprehensive German collection of historic bicycles on display, situated in the representative Art Nouveau building called the “Villa Füglein”. The exhibition comprising 230 vehicles and spanning two floors was collected by a bicycle enthusiast Ivan Sojc. The museum is dedicated to German-born Baron von Drais and his groundbreaking invention of the running machine, which was a breakthrough in modern transportation, enabling to overcome great distances by using human power alone. Apart from the exhibition tour, the museum occasionally arranges high-wheel bicycle rides and other events.
Estonian Bicycle Museum
Entry fee: 5 euro
The museum is situated in Väätsa historical municipality house, which was rebuilt from a medieval winter road tavern in 1893. The collection consists of around 100 historical bicycles. The museum mainly covers five following topics: an exhibition of bicycles made before 1980, a collection of historical photos with most of them coming from the pre-WWII era, a short overview of bicycles manufactured in Estonia until the end of the Soviet Union, and the story of the Estonian bicycle industry between the 1890s and 1940s. Apart from the local bicycles, you will see lots of those made in Germany and Sweden.