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Museum to demonstrate how people ride High Wheel bikes

MIDDLEBURY — Have you ever wondered how in the world people rode High Wheel bicycles in the late 1800s? Just getting on a High Wheel or Velocipede is a feat in itself, let alone cruising on uneven roads, stopping and dismounting the bicycle.
On Sunday, Sept. 25, the Henry Sheldon Museum will host a High Wheel bicycle display and demonstration that will answer these questions and more. The event coincides with the exhibit “Pedaling Through History,” which features the world-class bicycle collection of Vermonter Glenn Eames. From 10 a.m.-1 p.m., members of the New England division of The Wheelmen will display a dozen of their antique bicycles in the Sheldon’s garden.
The Wheelmen (including Glenn Eames) will be dressed in period clothing and will share information about their bicycles with visitors. Visitors will have a chance to get up close and personal with the bicycles that range from Ordinaries to Velocipedes (Bone Shakers) and Safeties dating from 1870s to the early 1900s. Throughout the morning and early afternoon The Wheelmen will take the bicycles out for excursions in downtown Middlebury to demonstrate just how they ride these magnificent machines.
At 1:30 p.m., The Wheelmen will depart from the Sheldon on a seven-mile ride to Weybridge and back. A map of their route will be available at the Sheldon and visitors are welcome to find a spot along the route to watch them ride by. A great opportunity for some photographs of the historic bicycles as they travel through this beautiful part of Vermont!
The Wheelmen is a national, nonprofit organization dedicated to keeping alive the heritage of American cycling, promoting the restoration and riding of early cycles manufactured prior to 1918, and encouraging cycling as part of modern living. This organization follows bicycle development with such types as the Draissine, Velocipede, Boneshaker, Ordinary (also known as a High Wheeler or Penny Farthing), Tricycle, High Wheel Safety, Hard Tired Safety, Cushion Tire Safety and Pneumatic Safety (including Tandems and Chainless models). Many of these antique bicycles were instrumental in The Good Roads Movement from which American motorists and bicyclists have benefited to this day. For more information about the organization, visit www.thewheelmen.org.
This event is weather-permitting. If it rains, the event will be cancelled. If in doubt, please call the Sheldon Museum at 388-2117 to confirm the event is happening. There is no charge for the demonstration, though donations are welcome. Visitors are welcome to tour the museum itself and the special exhibit“Pedaling Through History: 150 Years of the Bicycle, the Collection of Glenn Eames,” but for that regular admission is charged.
The Henry Sheldon Museum is located at One Park Street in downtown Middlebury across from the Ilsley Library and new Middlebury Town Offices. Museum hours: Tuesday-Saturday 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and through Oct. 16, Sunday 1-5 p.m. Research center hours: Thursday and Friday 1-5 p.m. or by appointment. Admission to the museum is $5 adults; $3 youth (6-18); $4.50 seniors; $12 family; $5 research center. For more information, call 388-2117 or visit www.HenrySheldonMuseum.org.

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