Bikes- Science on Two Wheels @ Carnegie Science Center

This topic contains 21 replies, has 11 voices, and was last updated by  bicycle heaven 3 yrs.

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helen s

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Jun 8 2013 at 9:11am #

I just peeked in to see the new arrivals- 3 Spacelanders, and a Pee Wee Herman bike! As well as maybe 30 or more other bikes. Below is a sampling of what will be going on this summer with the Bikes exhibit. I am excited! The exhibit opens on June 15th and will remain through 2013.

BIKES: Science on Two Wheels
Opens June 15
Carnegie Science Center is teaming up with The Bicycle Museum of America, Bicycle Heaven, and others to offer a diverse collection of more than 60 historic, rare, peculiar, and all around amazing bikes!

Bikes Plaza
Select Saturdays through September
We’re spotlighting FREE bike related outdoor activities along the riverfront trail at our Bikes Plaza. Activities will include a variety of presentations featuring BMX riders, unicyclists, and adaptive bikes.

21+ Night
June 21
Join us for our no kids night and celebrate the opening of our newest exhibit, “Bikes: Science on Two Wheels!”

Café Sci
July 8
Join us for this free presentation by custom bike designer Georgena Terry, who helped revolutionize bikes designed specifically for women.

Register Now! 3-2-1 Ride
Oct. 13
Cyclists of all skill levels are invited to experience Pittsburgh’s beautiful bike trails and scenic routes. All rides will start and end at the Carnegie Science Center on the North Shore and will offer family friendly activities.

bicycle heaven

Private Message

Jun 9 2013 at 2:43pm #

Yes they are doing tons of work for this and just great for Pittsburgh I think.Bicycle Heaven Bike shop Museum was more than glad to share them some kool bikes.Bicycle Heaven has the largest collection in the world of the rare Bowden bikes a bike collectors dream bike, maybe only 30 some around we have 13 of them and we have a Pee bike the same,,,,,,,,,thank you Carnegie Science Center,,,,they are doing a great job on this and I think it lasts a few months…lots of kool thinks to happen

helen s

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Jun 9 2013 at 4:07pm #

Currently the plan is to keep the exhibit up through the rest of 2013.


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Jun 9 2013 at 6:43pm #

sweet! I can get my Terry saddle signed! :P


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Jun 9 2013 at 10:31pm #

Flock of Cycles is having Pgh Bike ride on the 21st with the destination of the 21+ night.

Meets @ Dippy at 6, departs @ 6:30.

helen s

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Jun 11 2013 at 11:15am #

And as a special deal, anyone with Flock who did not pre-register will still get the $10 pre-regisration price, while those who do not come in with Flock will pay the regular walk up price of $15.

I walked throgh the exhibit again today- and found myself noticing a lot of small details I did not see the first time.


Private Message

Jun 20 2013 at 8:59am #

TOP. One thread on this is enough


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Jun 20 2013 at 9:16am #

Thanks erok, that other thread was veering off course.

Trib article on Science Center exhibit:


Private Message

Jun 20 2013 at 9:44am #

^ Also, can you bring back paul’s lengthly post on including more Science in the exhibit? Some good stuff there and it’s on topic.


Private Message

Jun 20 2013 at 2:36pm #

I’m seeking to understand.

Was a thread deleted?

There was some content in the other thread that I was fond of, but it seems to be gone.

Can anybody shed some light? Seriously. V.


Private Message

Jun 20 2013 at 10:30pm #

yes, the thread was deleted. didn’t want that crap on our website.


Private Message

Jun 21 2013 at 12:23am #

Could you be more specific as to what “that crap” consists of? I managed to avoid commenting for a few days, but things got pretty stupid & I couldn’t resist the temptation :(


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Jun 21 2013 at 1:29am #

crap… as in personal attacks and accusations. I apologize for opening my trap.


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Jun 21 2013 at 7:58am #

this is why we can’t have nice things…


Private Message

Jun 21 2013 at 8:29am #

I’m not wanting to turn this thread into a discussion of the other one, but there was barely anything in it that was respectful and/or constructive (our 2 rules), aside of paul’s post. Sadly, i’m having trouble digging up his synopsis.

I’m out in the woods for the rest of the weekend, so i really won’t be discussing this.

bicycle heaven

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Jun 22 2013 at 12:20am #

Had a good time at the Carnegie Science Center,Met some nice people from flock of cycles / bike Pittsburgh, it was Marvelous.Something must be good about the bicycle display they had a lot of people at the event.


Private Message

Jun 22 2013 at 9:07am #

Had a great time last night. Unicyclists going up the ramps were both impressive and nerve-racking! Here’s me freaking out in front of the x-1.


Private Message

Jun 23 2013 at 5:44pm #

The following is an email to the directors of the Carnegie Science Center. (This was my post in the now-deleted thread).

PS: if you haven’t seen it, I recommend the exhibit, just to see the historic bikes.

Begin forwarded message:

From: Paul Heckbert
Subject: bicycle exhibits – suggestions
Date: 2013/06/18 10:00:42 AM EDT
To: Gina Grubb
Cc: Paul Heckbert

Dear Ron Baillie and Ann Metzger:

I’m a father of two, a computer scientist, and a cyclist.

I visited the Carnegie Science Center on Sunday with my son (a mechanical engineering undergraduate) to see the “Science on Two Wheels” exhibit.

I enjoyed it, but I expected more; the exhibit did not contain much science, it lacked depth, and was mostly “do not touch”. The old bicycles from the Bicycle Museum of America were very interesting to look at, but the descriptions weren’t as detailed as I hoped for. Much of the space was used for display of decorative bicycles from Bicycle Heaven (sting rays, Elvis bicycles, Pee Wee Herman bicycles, etc) which would be perfect for a museum of culture or design, but there’s little science there. The visual design aspects of these bicycles took up space that could have been used to present science.

There’s a lot of room for improvement. Here are some suggestions for better bicycle science exhibits in the future. The following would add science, would make an exhibit more interesting to adult cyclists, and would also make it more appealing to kids, who want to touch and interact. Some of these could work well in Sports Works.

a functioning front and rear derailleur that everyone can crank and experiment with

demonstration of a worn chain or cassette and why it causes the chain to skip

functioning brakes (drum, caliper, V, cantilever, disk) that everyone can touch and experiment with

a recumbent bike or trike that people could sit in and get a feel for

bicycle trainer for people to try

discussion of gear ratios
(why track bikes have just one gear, why mountain bikes have different gear ranges from road bikes)

bicycles and women’s lib: how the high wheel bicycle was mostly for men yet the safety bicycle allowed women to get about and be more independent

mainstream bicycle designs from mid-20th century US, or modern Europe, or modern China;
i.e. a Raleigh 3-speed, a Dutch cruiser bike, a Chinese single speed bike with coaster brake
(these designs represent probably 95% of the bikes in the world, but they were not part of your exhibit!)

explanation of mountain bike suspensions

why some fixies lack brakes

Which tires are best: high pressure or low, narrow or fat, knobby or smooth? 20mm or 40mm?
Are the thin tires favored by bike racers good for casual weekend cyclists in Pittsburgh?
Why is thin and hard slower than wide and soft on rough surfaces?
Let people see, hear, and feel the differences in rolling resistance, shock absorption, noise, traction, …
There’s a lot here and it’s a perfect use of a science museum to educate the public about an issue of everyday importance — which bike tire meets my needs — that a bike salesman is not necessarily going to present in an unbiased manner.

discussion of rider posture, weight distribution

saddle design, pelvic bones, pressure on the perineum, gender differences, genital numbness, noseless saddles, split saddles

videos of interesting bike designs, e.g.
Starley Rover
rowing bicycle
amphibious bicycle
bicycling robot

recent research shows that gyroscopic effects are not the explanation for bicycle stability

standard pedals, toe clips, and clipless pedals

helmets – what do they do in an accident?

car-bike collisions: how much kinetic energy does a car have, compared to a person?

bicycle accidents, why broken collarbones are common among racers

samples of broken bicycles: broken fork, broken chain, cracked rim, broken spoke, tacoed wheel

aerodynamics of the peloton, drafting. how much does aerodynamics matter as a function of speed? why drafting is insignificant at 10mph

There is a lot of potential here and your current bicycle exhibit only scratches the surface. There are many resources in Pittsburgh, between Bike Pittsburgh (see, PTAG, WPW, bike shops, engineering schools, robotics companies, and bicycle magazines (Bicycle Times, Dirt Rag, Urban Velo) that could help you put together better bicycle exhibits in the future. I suggest you work with them to pursue that. Feel free to give me a call, also.



Private Message

Jun 23 2013 at 6:24pm #

@paul, add front derailleurs of various arm lengths to show how effort and distance of travel vary. ;)

bicycle heaven

Private Message

Jun 23 2013 at 11:58pm #

Paulheckbert I like the swingbike youtube site you put up, I have a few of bikes and did you know a guy here in Pittsburgh years back remade that bike called Joy Ride.I sold him his first frames back in the day to make his first bike when he was just a young kid. I also met up with another guy who lives here in Pittsburgh who has the first proto swing bikes made in the 1960s and all the paper work but wants lots of money for it but im trying to get it all for the museum,,,,,,thanks,,,


Private Message

Jun 27 2013 at 9:54pm #

It would be very fun to try a swingbike. The Science Center should get one for SportsWorks. And some other odd bicycles too – rowing bike, say.

bicycle heaven

Private Message

Jun 28 2013 at 12:15am #

I have a green one at the museum,,rare color anyways stop by I can show you how to ride one,,,not all that hard to do and its fun,,craig

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