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Home > Exhibitions > Pedal Power: Bicycles from the Collection of Charlie Harper

Pedal Power: Bicycles from the Collection of Charlie Harper

June 4 - August 2, 2015

Pedal Power: Bicycles from the Collection of Charlie Harper

In 1966, Charlie Harper purchased Zeug Garage & Cycle Shop, located at 119 West Front Street in Muscatine, Iowa. The shop sold bicycles, motorcycles, accessories, and supplies and provided bike, small engine, and automobile repair and has been located at 1106 Grandview Avenue since 1974. Today, Harper’s Cycling is operated by Charlie, his son Greg, and several grandsons and the business offers new bike sales, reconditioned and rebuilt bikes, repair service and a large line of accessories and supplies.
Charlie Harper purchased his first “antique” bike in the early 1980s when a Florida museum closed and was disposing of its collections. This purchase spurred him to continue collecting and he remains an avid collector today. 

The exhibit “Pedal Power: Bicycles from the Collection of Charlie Harper” features 26 bicycles dating from 1886 to 1979. Among the earliest bicycles in Charlie’s collection are the ‘highwheelers’, dating to the late 1880s. An 1886 Victor Ordinary Bicycle (with a 50” front wheel) by Overman Wheel Co. and an 1888 Columbia Expert Bicycle by Pope Manufacturing Co. are among the oldest featured in the exhibition.
The exhibition documents the changing technology and design of American bicycles. Charlie’s collection includes a 1939 Ladies Mead Ranger, the “Cadillac of Bikes”- a 1953 Black Phantom boy’s bicycle, and a 1962 Cycle Truck. Antique bike accessories and equipment round out the exhibition, including lights and lamps, horns, saddles or seats, tires and wheels and bicyclist’s tools.
The exhibition opens on June 4th and runs through August 2nd in the Stanley Gallery.
Photograph of Unidentified Man with Bicycle, Oscar Grossheim, circa 1900, Gift of Mrs. L. C. Flannery

This exhibition includes a loan from the Legacies for Iowa: A University of Iowa Museum of Art Collections Sharing Project, Supported by the Matthew Bucksbaum Family.