Bikes! exhibit at Chicago's Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum

March 30, 2012 3:29:22 PM PDT
Short of walking, biking is the most environmentally friendly mode of transportation available -- and it's also one of the least expensive.

The exhibit "Bikes! The Green Revolution" at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum just might motivate you to get out on two wheels.

"One of the first cycles was pretty exclusive, and if you can imagine, people usually learn how to ride when they were children. People had to learn back in the day how to ride as adults. Think of how hard that would be as well as riding a bike with one huge wheel," Alvaros Ramos, vice president at Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, said.

The high-wheeler is first in a long line of bicycles on display at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum that show the evolution of bicycles to date. It's part of their newest exhibit called "Bikes! The Green Revolution."

"It seems like it's a new revolution but the reality is biking has been huge in Chicago since the late 1800s," Deborah Lahey, president of Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, said.

The exhibit also highlights Chicago's easy access to numerous biking paths and trails. A simulator allows children like Autumn Berkman her to steer a bicycle taxi through a Chicago neighborhood.

Another section promotes a grocery packing contest that conveys the notion that in addition to having fun and getting exercise, bikes can be used to run errands and decrease pollution. There is also an area geared toward bike repair.

"We really wanted to show people how bikes are not only a fun way of transportation but a very sustainable way of getting around in the city," Ramos said. "We hope that this exhibit shows people how much fun it could be to be green."

Visitors say that mission is being accomplished.

"It's so interesting. It's really nice to see the old bikes and all of the new bikes and all of the trails. I didn't even realize we had so many trails in Chicago," Dawne Berkman said.

"It was really cool to like actually interact with the stuff. It was cool to like actually get to feel the stuff and get to do the stuff and look at the stuff. I love watching videos and stuff. I like that," Cailey Berkman said.

The bikes exhibit opens to the public Saturday and will remain on display through September 9th. For museum hours and other details, check out