Thursday, June 15th, 2017
New Bremen museum to be featured on network show
By Sydney Albert
ST. MARYS - Becky Macwhinney, Bicycle Museum of America coordinator, told St. Marys Rotary members on Wednesday that the museum will be featured on a future episode of the Travel Channel show "Mysteries at the Museum."
The museum has such authority in the bicycling world that it has been used as a research source by "American Pickers," which airs on the History Channel. Macwhinney said museum officials have never appeared on "Pickers," but when the hosts find an interesting old bike, they are usually consulted.
Now, Macwhinney said the museum will appear on an episode of "Mysteries at the Museum" in about four-six months. The show will feature a very special part of the collection: an 1816 draisine, one of the world's first bicycles and one of only eight left in the world. The bike was invented by Karl Drais in the early 1800s and was propelled by walking swiftly.
"Often inventions come out of tragedies," MacWhinney said. "What had happened was there was a volcano off of Indonesia, and the volcano erupted in the 1800s."
While the eruption happened halfway across the world, it was so powerful that the ash plumes reached all the way to Europe. Macwhinney said the volcano spilled about 4 feet of ash all over Germany, killing not only people's crops, but also their livestock and horses. People had no way to get goods from one place to another.
That's where Drais came in, Macwhinney said. By creating the first bicycle, the draisine, he created a form of transportation that was faster than walking, used less energy and didn't rely on livestock.
Macwhinney was not given an exact air date for the episode but said filming had been intensive. She said a segment of her talking for a few minutes took hours to shoot.
"The show may be 20 minutes... they were there for 10 and a half hours," she said.
In the meantime, though, people visiting the New Bremen museum can see 300 of the 1,300 bicycles the museum has collected over the years and explore their stories.
"We've done our research and, as far as we know, we are the largest collection of bicycles on display in the world," Macwhinney said.