The Marin Museum of Bicycling – curator, MTB pioneer Joe Breeze – is to display a selection of bikes from the Igler Collection, a set of key historic cycles, with one dating back to the 1860s.
The Igler Collection will form one of two permanent displays at the Marin Museum of Bicycling, the other being the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame. Last August, the museum announced the relocation to Fairfax of the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame, founded 25 years ago in Crested Butte, Colorado.
Breeze said: “The Igler Collection documents the birth of the bicycle and its Golden Age, when the sharpest minds of the day were focused on perfecting the most efficient machine of personal transport ever devised.”
Ralph Igler, a NASA engineer based in Palo Alto, started his collection in 1960, traveling to build a group of key examples in the development of the bicycle.
Igler died in 2004, leaving the collection to his son, David Igler, Professor of History at UC Irvine. David Igler said: “The Marin Museum of Bicycling’s devotion to telling the unsung history of this extraordinary vehicle would have pleased my dad.”
Museum president Marc Vendetti, another MTB pioneer, said: “The Marin Museum of Bicycling is thrilled and honoured to receive this long-term loan of bikes from the Igler collection. The collection’s wide range of bikes enables us to tell many interesting stories. We can feature a chronology of technology and rotate other bikes in for special exhibits.”
Among the collection is an 1868 “boneshaker” velocipede from Ernest Michaux of Paris, who historians believe is one of the first to build a bicycle with pedals (other candidates include Pierre Lallement, connected with Michaux; most historians don't believe Kirkpatrick Macmillan of Scotland produced the first bicycle). Also included is an 1880s Coventry Rotary tricycle. There’s also an 1898 Pierce shaft-drive bike, which was that company’s top model until it launched its Pierce Arrow automobile. Many bicycle companies morphed into automobile companies.
The Marin Museum of Bicycling will double as a cultural centre for residents. It expects to open its doors to the public in mid-2014. Museum construction is underway in downtown Fairfax.
To raise funds, the museum is building a low wall in the shape of Mount Tamalpais, mountain biking's spiritual home. Donors can purchase personalized tiles for this “Mt. Tam Legacy Wall” to help support the museum.