Photo by Andrew Russell | Tribune-Review
Founder and owner of Bicycle Heaven Craig Morrow said everything is “in the works” for the shops upcoming reality show.
By Cristina Holtzer
Forget the movie sets Downtown—a reality show about oil stains, a family business and bicycle enthusiasts could be coming to the Northside.
Bicycle Heaven, a bicycle repair shop, retail store and history museum in the RJ Casey Industrial Park on Columbus Avenue, is under consideration by some television studios as the site for a reality show similar to American Pickers on the History Channel.
Craig Morrow, 57, the founder and owner of Bicycle Heaven said everything is “in the works” for the show, but that he cannot say any more regarding dates or which studio may run the show. However, he did say that the show will feature his family who work in the shop, much like American Pickers and American Restoration, also on the History Channel.
“It’ll be a little bit like the Pickers and sort of about the museum and sort of about everything all in one,” Morrow said.
After receiving the offer for the TV spot about six months ago, Morrow called Rick Dale, owner of Rick’s Restorations and star of American Restorations.
“There’s a lot of stuff involved,” Morrow said. “I wanted to make sure I wanted to do this.”
During the last several months, Morrow said television producers stopped by Bicycle Heaven to do some light and preliminary film testing and that they’ve just got to “pull it all together” and sell the show to a particular network. This year Bicycle Heaven has become well acquainted with fame.
During the upcoming Russell Crowe film Fathers and Daughters that was recently filmed in Pittsburgh, Morrow rented out some of the bikes from his shop to be used in a scene where Crowe’s character taught his daughter to ride.
“Russell Crowe came down to the museum,” Morrow said. “I was away picking bikes up but my sister met him. He looked sort of grubby. You wouldn’t recognize him. He came in on a bike—he’s [an] avid bike rider.”
Bicycle Heaven, home to 3,500 bicycles, is the largest bicycle shop in the United States and opened three years ago. Walt Haim, 21, saw signs for the shop on the trail near Carnegie Science Center and decided he’d make a stop one day before riding the 20 miles to his home in North Fayette.
“Now my favorite part of this place is how expansive it was. The museum is a small part,” Haim said. “Through the door is their epic collection of Schwinn Stingrays.”
Though the shop does have many Schwinn bicycles, Morrow said the most impressive part of his collection is the large number of Bowden Spacelanders, the first fiberglass bike ever made which was designed in the 1940s. Morrow said there are only around 40 Spacelander bikes in the country and his shop has 15.
McGarry Luginski, who lived in the Northside until this February, said he tries to be an avid cyclist. A friend who Luginski bikes with recommended Bicycle Heaven last spring, and Luginski said he loved the Pee Wee Herman replica bike from the Pee Wee movie.
“Pittsburgh is coming up as far as being a bike friendly town,” Luginski said. “It’s not at the level it should be yet, but it’s definitely getting there.”
Pittsburgh, Morrow said, used to be a much bigger “bike town” back in the 1960s and 70s, and at least 70 percent of the bikes in his shop are from the Pittsburgh area. It seems like more of the patrons are from out of town than the bikes—Morrow said many people who visit his store aren’t from Pittsburgh.
With all the media attention the shop’s gotten over the last few months, Morrow’s wife Mindy decided to open a massage therapy spa and nail salon next door to Bicycle Heaven for possible bike trail riders looking to take a break from riding and relax.
For now, Morrow said he is happy going to bicycle trade shows and riding the trails.
“People are catching on to what I’m doing,” he said. “That’s a good thing and I’m glad about that. And the neatest thing about the museum is: everybody has a bike story.”
To visit Bicycle Heaven’s website, click here.
CORRECTION: In the August issue of the Northside Chronicle, Craig’s last name is misprinted as “Marrow” instead of “Morrow.” We apologize to Craig and our readers for the error.