If growing up you owned a favorite bicycle, odds are you can find it in New Bremen, Ohio.
New Bremen is not exactly a major crossroads. Tucked away near the Indiana-Ohio border it’s just a dot on the map, twelve miles across flat farmland from the nearest major highway. Until a dozen or so years ago it was mainly known as being one of those forgotten towns that grew up along the old Miami and Erie Canal. Towns off the beaten path that mostly dried up after the canals were replaced by railroads and highways as the major means of transportation in Ohio.
But New Bremen, settled by mostly German immigrant-farmers hung on. Today it looks like a Disney-created village, but it is real.
That happened some years ago when Crown Equipment Corporation came to town and in 1997, Crown’s owner, Jim Dicke, who had already saved much of the historic downtown by restoring and converting empty 1890 store buildings into offices for his sprawling corporation, the town’s biggest employer, decided that New Bremen needed a world-class tourist attraction. He went to Chicago where the famous Schwin Bicycle Company was selling off its huge collection of antique bikes. He started bidding and by the end of the day Jim Dicke was the owner of most of the collection. He hauled it back to New Bremen and in an old furniture store setup what has now become the world’s largest bicycle museum filling over fourteen thousand square feet with 350 historic bicycles. In their warehouse there are another 300 bicycles in storage and more arriving all the time…….
You can read the entire story in the Cleveland Plain Dealer’s Saturday, May 2nd edition, or visit their web site at www.cleveland.com