Check Out The Bicycle Museum Pop-Up Documenting City's Storied Cycling History

The public is invited to see a collection of a dozen historical photos from the late 1800s and early 1900s alongside a replica Penny Farthing bicycle at the Peterborough Public Library starting on December 3rd at noon. The free exhibit showcases Peterborough’s rich cycling history and will run until the New Year.

 Photo courtesy Peterborough Museum and Archives

Photo courtesy Peterborough Museum and Archives

Peterborough was at the centre of the cycling craze in the 1890s and held the first ever Canadian Wheelmen’s Association provincial meet on July 1, 1898, where big wheel—or Penny Farthing—bikes raced around the track at Morrow Park to the delight of almost 7,000 onlookers.

 Photo courtesy of Peggy Brownscombe

Photo courtesy of Peggy Brownscombe

“Peterborough has a long tradition of cycling excellence and that tradition needs to be acknowledged—and it needs to continue,” says Tammy Thorne, the creator of TheBicycleMuseum.ca and the pop-up exhibits here in Peterborough, which first launched last month. 

“There’s so much heritage that needs to be preserved in Peterborough, and it’s not just buildings. There are many great stories from this city’s illustrious industrial past that need to be told, and cycling is just one part of that,” adds Thorne.

 Photo courtesy Peterborough Museum and Archives

Photo courtesy Peterborough Museum and Archives

The images in this must-see collection are largely from the Peterborough Museum and Archives but part of the collection comes from Peggy Brownscombe, the daughter of the former owner of one of the city’s earliest bike shops, White’s Cycle and Sporting Goods. 

“Many of the images have stories behind them that are yet to be discovered,” says Thorne. “For example, we have this lovely photo of Alex Gibson with his high wheel bike and medals. He was a member of the Peterborough Cycling Club, even the treasurer for a time, and his father was likely a watchmaker.”

 Photo courtesy Peterborough Museum & Archives

Photo courtesy Peterborough Museum & Archives

“Cycling is a large part of the Peterborough community and has been for some time,” says Jennifer Jones, Peterborough Public Library CEO. “This pop-up exhibit gives us the opportunity to glimpse into the rich history of bicycles in our neighbourhoods. The Library is thrilled to be able to provide the space to bring some of that history to light."

There will be a book to sign at the library where you can add your bicycling history story and contact information. You can also email thebicyclemuseumptbo@gmail.com if you have information about this exhibit or historic bicycling artifacts you would like to share for a future exhibit. 

TheBicycleMuseum.ca will produce new exhibits in 2019 featuring CCM artifacts and bicycles, and another exhibit featuring service bicycles and stories.

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