"WOW, A GENE AUTRY BIKE!"
Written by Karen Walker
Who would have thought that a museum in the little town of New Bremen, Ohio, would have over 200 bicycles, including bicycles dating back to the early 1800's.
On Saturday, August 21, 1999, a group of about ten 3RVS members met in Neptune, Ohio, and rode about 20 miles to New Bremen to tour the Bicycle Museum of America. The drive to Neptune was easy and took less than an hour. Neptune is on U.S. 33, southeast of Decatur.
The weather was perfect for cycling, and the ride from Neptune to New Bremen was made particularly interesting by Phil Snider's running commentary on various historical sites we were riding past. These included the first bridge over the St. Marys River and the Miami and Erie canal bed.
The ride to the Museum also was memorable because of Kent Ellis' flat tire, which blew out with such a pop that we thought some Ohio farmer was shooting at us.
The Museum was remarkable. There were bicycles everywhere. My personal favorite was the Gene Autry bicycle, dating back to the 1950's. It had a horse's heading protruding from the front and a gun holster draped over the top tube. I was impressed too by the saddles on some of the really old bicycles--early 1800's. They had a cut out part similar to the Terry saddles many women, including me, are using now. I guess a cut out saddle was not the original idea of Georgena Terry. She must have visited the Bicycle Museum of America too.
Following the museum tour, we were treated by Phil and Gene Dixon to a picnic lunch in the park behind the museum. After lunch, we enjoyed a very scenic ride back to Neptune. Part of Phil's route was along the shore of Grand Lake St. Marys. We all stopped at a park on the lakeshore to enjoy the view.
Some of us capped off a perfect day of riding by stopping at an ice cream place in Wilshire to indulge in cones and shakes before returning home. We deserved that ice cream, didn't we, since we had battled a fairly stiff headwind on the ride back to Neptune?
Thanks to Phil Snider for planning a very interesting and enjoyable ride, and to Gene Dixon for his contribution in making the Museum ride fun for everyone.