Did you know that the U.S. Bicycling Hall of Fame is now located in Davis, CA? The 25 year old HOF has been relocated to 303 Third Street, in downtown Davis, CA, also home to the University of California, Davis, also known as the bicycle capital of the west! The original home was in Somerville, New Jersey, home of the oldest bicycle race in the United States.
After a 2008 nationwide search, much different than American Idol, the HOF chose Davis, CA for its commitment to bicycling and its status as a “Platinum” Bicycle Friendly Community by the League of American Bicyclists. The new HOF occupies 8000 square feet in Central Park in downtown Davis. The obvious contents are many bicycles, photos, awards, posters, periodicals, and racing apparel from the last three centuries.
The HOF is rather quick to point out that bicycling was more popular than baseball at the beginning of the 20th century. Champion cyclists were paid more than baseball star Ty Cobb. Six day races ran around the clock to huge crowds of spectators. But today, the HOF promotes bicycling for everyone, regardless of age or ability.
Since 1987, there has been a steady stream of inductees, both competitors and contributors in the sport of cycling. Some names that you may or may not recognize are: Greg LeMond (winner of several Tour de Lance races), Nelson Vailes, Frank Kramer (no relation to Cosmo Kramer), Juliana Furtado, Major Taylor, Ned Overend, Mark Gorski, Eric Heiden, Alexi Grewal, Andy Hampsten, Steve Hegg, Davis Phinney, and Connie Carpenter-Phinney. Best of all, the HOF recognizes all forms of cycling, whether racing, recreational, BMX, road, track, cross country, and mountain biking. Personally, I would like to see Orville and Wilbur Wright, since they owned a bicycle shop before gaining fame at Kitty Hawk. And where is Lance Livestrong? Still waiting to see if he is clean?
During the month of August, admission is free! The grand opening was August 24, 2010, in the former teen center. Obvious question now is where did the teens go? Never mind. As far as Davis goes, the community has an extensive network of bike lanes, bike paths, and grade-separated bike crossings. But bicycling declines in Davis from 1990 to 2000 by 7 per cent, from 22 percent, down to 15 percent. I plan to Amtrak over to Davis, ride over to the museum, then take a long bike ride along the river route in the downtown area. Join me?