On Saturday, March 26, the U.S. Bicycling Hall of Fame will join with The Davis Enterprise to present a free Community Day at the new bike shrine in Central Park.
“Working with The Enterprise allows us to really get the word out that we’re here, that we’re open and that we want the community to be a part of this,” Hall of Fame Executive Director Joe Herget explained. “As often as we can open the doors and let the people come explore, especially free of charge like this great day, it’s a great way for us to give back.”
Since the Hall of Fame was awarded to Davis in 2009 — relocating from New Jersey — the facility has been operating on limited hours. Coinciding with Davis Farmers Market times, the hall is open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays and from 4 to 8 p.m. Wednesdays.
Normal admission — $5 for adults — will be waived on March 26, thanks to the partnership with The Enterprise.
“We see our Hall of Fame as another wholesome and family-fun reason to spend time downtown,” said Debbie Davis, Enterprise editor/assistant publisher. “We’re delighted to partner with Joe and his team. Our whole staff is excited.”
Enterprise employees will be on hand to greet the public, and Hall of Fame docents will provide tours and answer questions about future facility programs, uses and expanding hours.
The facility at Third and B streets opened last year with these limited hours. Herget, however, hopes greater access to the Hall of Fame will happen “later this year” as he expands the number of volunteers staffing the facility.
“Obviously, we’re a nonprofit organization, so we have mission-related goals, (like) getting a reliable volunteer staff. Working with The Enterprise really helps us do that,” Herget added.
In addition to a top-floor gallery of inductees, the U.S. Bicycling Hall of Fame has myriad displays, cycling artifacts, memorabilia and interesting tidbits packed into — as Herget calls it — the “Cooperstown of cycling.”
Inspired by the former California Bicycle Museum and the vision of its curator, Dan Kehew, and many city and UC Davis officials, the Hall of Fame’s original Pierce Miller Collection has been joined by the old New Jersey treasures and recent private donations.
Herget says there is enough gear to change out hall displays regularly — with more coming in all the time.
“Everything from the mid-1800s through current technology is here,” the director continues. “First-generation bicycles (direct drive) to wooden rim, the Pierce Miller Collection and wonderful artifacts from the six-day racing era — they’re all here and available to our community.”
Herget lights up when he talks about the educational element of having the Hall of Fame in Davis.
“We’re working to create what amounts to an educational curriculum — and educational experience — for elementary school kids,” he said. “We want the kids to come to the hall where (we’ll have material) for them. Things they can use here or in the classroom.
“We’re bringing in on semi-permanent loan the Explorit bike-safety exhibit, which will be part of that educational program.”
Expect the Explorit display to be in place for Community Day.
“There is a little something for everyone,” Herget continued. “Everyone here is a cyclist in some way or another, so there’s a lot for people to experience.”
From the days of superstar Major Taylor and turn-of-the-century marathon rides that packed venues like Madison Square Garden in New York, to Greg LeMond re-establishing American riders as international contenders, to Lance Armstrong, the U.S. Bicycling Hall of Fame is loaded with memories.
“Even if you’re not a cyclist, there’s a lot of history here, memorabilia that can both educate and entertain,” Herget added. “And there’s so much that kids find fascinating … and we’re bringing in new stuff every day.”
Notes: Herget was hired last summer after a national search. He has been working between Davis and his suburban Philadelphia home since. “As soon as we can sell the Pennsylvania house, we’re in Davis,” Herget says of his wife and three kids. … The Fat Cyclist — a popular blogger of the sport and creator of Team Fat — has promised to bring 500 riders to town for the July 10 Livestrong Challenge. Herget says the secret Internet star is planning a function at the Hall of Fame. For information about the Livestrong local ride in July, visit http://www.TeamLivestrong.org.
— Reach Bruce Gallaudet at [email protected] or (747) 8047. Comment on this story at www.davisenterprise.com