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Marin Museum to feature Igler's historic bike collection

Published March 6, 2014

FAIRFAX, Calif. (BRAIN) — The Marin Museum of Bicycling will display a selection of bikes from the Igler Collection with bicycles dating back to the 1860s. The Igler Collection will form one of two permanent displays at museum. The other will be the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame.

Last August, the museum announced the relocation to Fairfax of the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame, founded 25 years ago in Crested Butte, Colo.

"The Igler Collection documents the birth of the bicycle and its 'Golden Age, when the sharpest minds of the day were focused on perfecting the most efficient machine of personal transport ever devised," said Joe Breeze, the museum's curator.

Ralph Igler, a NASA engineer based in Palo Alto, started his collection in 1960, traveling extensively to build a group of key examples in the development of the bicycle. Bicycles from his collection have been featured in museums in the San Francisco Bay Area. Igler died in 2004, leaving the collection to his son, David Igler, a history professor at UC Irvine.

Among the collection is an 1868 "boneshaker" velocipede from the first bicycle builder, Ernest Michaux of Paris. Also included is an 1880s Coventry Rotary tricycle, the design that held human-powered speed records until improved high-wheel bicycles, such as the collection's 1886 Rudge, took over as speed king. The collection also features a 1898 Pierce shaft-drive bike, which was that company's top model until it launched its Pierce Arrow automobile.

The Marin Museum of Bicycling, which will double as a cultural center for Marin cyclists, expects to open its doors to the public later this year. Museum construction is underway in downtown Fairfax at 1966 Sir Francis Drake Boulevard.

To raise funds for the museum, the Marin Museum of Bicycling is building a low wall at the property's corner, with the profile of Mount Tamalpais. Donors can purchase personalized tiles for the Mt. Tam Legacy Wall to help support the museum on the museum's website.

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