Above: The newly renovated space in the bike museum can be used for events. (Photo by Kaitlin Balmert).
As Craig Morrow and his bike museum, Bicycle Heaven, approach their one year anniversary, they’ll mark the event with a 5,000 square foot expansion that will open to the public on June 3.
Morrow, said the new space will further display the bike collection and serve as an area where the museum can hold special events.
The upper level of the warehouse provides the new space with hardwood floors, bright windows and plenty of bike hooks waiting to be filled.
The bicycle collection fills the warehouse from floor to ceiling with pieces dating as far back as 1860. Morrow says the museum is home to over 2,000 bikes, 98 percent of which he bought in the Pittsburgh area.
Morrow says this percentage stems from the city’s history of steel production.
“Bikes were produced right in the city with steel from its own steel mills,” said Morrow, “it is no surprise that I found so many vintage bikes in the area.”
The bikes on display range from the famous Schwinn Stingrays to miniature tricycles from the early 1900s. In addition, several of the pieces have made it to big screen films such “A Beautiful Mind” and “Super 8.”
With a collection that began years ago before the museum space opened last summer, Morrow continues expanding despite only accepting donations from visitors rather than a flat admission price.
As Pittsburgh and the Northside become increasingly bike friendly, the museum gains more attention. Morrow says the museum’s popularity over the past year exceeded his expectations.
Morrow and other staff members give personal tours to many local organizations including cycling groups, Boy Scout troops, outdoor enthusiast clubs and individuals looking to check out the biggest collection of vintage bikes in the area.
Despite the obscure location in Chateau’s RJ Casey Industrial Park, Museum Manager Matt Rind said, “Strategic placement of signs on the bike trail and word of mouth has really spread the word.”
Rind focuses attention on Bicycle Heaven’s eBay account since the museum also serves as a full service bike shop and deals antique or hard-to-find parts.
Despite its immediate popularity, Morrow has a greater vision for the museum’s future. He hopes to someday work with local youth organizations to educate the younger Pittsburgh population on bike care and repair.
In addition, Morrow hopes that Bicycle Heaven achieves eventual icon status in the city of Pittsburgh.
“I hope for the Bicycle Museum to someday be an important icon in Pittsburgh, somewhat like the Civic Arena once was,” said Morrow.