Wheels Down: Bikes roll in to Bentonville’s Amazeum

Wheels Down: Bikes roll in to Bentonville’s Amazeum

“Gear Up: The Science of Bikes,” a multimedia, interactive exhibit detailing the history and mechanics of the bicycle, opened at the Scott Family Amazeum in late September and will run through Jan. 10, 2022.

The exhibit was originally designed by the Carnegie Science Center in an effort to demonstrate “how bikes work; the history/evolution of the bike; the science and technology behind the machine; and how bikes have impacted our culture,” according to that organization. The exhibit is designed for visitors of all ages.

“The Amazeum is excited to host this interactive experience here in the ‘#MTBcapitaloftheworld,’” reads a press release from the Amazeum. “Bicycles are an integral part of the culture, economy and quality of life in Northwest Arkansas. The museum brings this exhibit to the region to support educating people about bicycles as not only a mode of transportation, but also as an example of how integrating the arts and sciences leads to innovation. Everyone who is interested in cycling will love discovering the science, technology, engineering, art and math in a bicycle.”

“We’ve had a great response to this exhibit, mainly because cycling is top of mind here in Northwest Arkansas,” says Paul Stolt, the Amazeum’s marketing manager, of the reception for the event thus far. “We knew coming in that it was going to be an exhibit that would be very popular with the community. And we’ve seen a lot of people who may have not really thought about the mechanics — or some of the science — behind a bicycle come in and really be a little bit amazed at just how complicated a bicycle can be when it really looks like just a simple machine.”

Part of the appeal, says Stolt, is the multi-generational nature of the exhibit; there’s a little something for every age group to enjoy.

“Bicycles have been around for so long that we’ll have families come in, where the child is now learning how to ride a bike, and they’ll talk about that with an older sibling, or they’ll talk about it with a parent, or they’ll talk about it with a grandparent. It’s something that nearly everybody has had an experience with, and most of them are really good experiences. So they’re able to talk about their experiences on a bicycle with their family members, while they’re looking at exhibits, and learning about the science and technology and design that’s involved.”

Among the highlights of the exhibit are the 10 bicycles on display, chosen to demonstrate the historical evolution of this mode of transportation. Categories of the bikes on display include “Origins,” or ancestors of the modern bicycle, such as the Penny Farthing; “Classics,” including bikes from the 1930s-1970s like the Black Phantom, the Boomers’ Big Wheels and Schwinn Sting-Rays; “Sport Bikes,” including bikes from the 1970s to the present such as multi-speed cycles used for professional competitions and everyday use; and “Oddities and Offshoots,” which includes customized bicycles such as tall bikes, unicycles and clown bikes.

As part of the exhibit, says Stolt, the Amazeum partnered with Pedal It Forward, a nonprofit organization that refurbishes donated bikes and distributes them to children in Northwest Arkansas who are in need of a bicycle.

“We’re trying to do our part to increase the accessibility and access of people to bicycles by partnering with them,” notes Stolt.



‘Gear Up: The Science of Bikes’

WHEN — 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday; 10 a.m.-7:30 p.m. Wednesday; 1-5 p.m. Sunday, through Jan. 10, 2022

WHERE — Scott Family Amazeum, 1009 Museum Way, Bentonville

COST — Free for members and kids under 2; $10 nonmembers

INFO — 696-9280 or amazeum.org

Categories: Family Friendly