Switching Gears: The Gateway Science Museum’s New Exhibit All About Bikes
Bicycles are ubiquitous throughout Chico as they provide sustainable transportation, an easy form of exercise, and a healthy way to spend time with family. So it only makes sense that the Gateway Science Museum’s new exhibit explores the history, evolution and science of our beloved bicycles.
“Gear Up: The Science of Bikes” is currently open and runs until May 7. The bicycle has impacted the way people live, work and play since its invention in the late 19th century, from bustling city streets and schoolyards to the mountain miles of Upstate . trails, bikes of all shapes, sizes and colors are all around us.
Visitors to “Gear Up” will discover how two-wheelers work; look at the history and evolution of bicycles (from Penny-Farthing and unicycle to adapted bicycle and Ferris wheel); learn about the science and technology behind bicycles and gain insight into their effect on our culture. Adrienne McGraw, the museum’s executive director, said the bike is an elegant example of the marriage of fundamental scientific principles and materials science.
“Like the bike itself, ‘Gear Up’ is designed to appeal to people of all ages with diverse interests, and it addresses themes such as safety, healthy lifestyles, accessibility and sustainable transportation” , said McGraw. “The exhibit illustrates how far the bicycle has come in its evolution, and visitors can also learn about the mechanics of bicycles – such as physics, gears, torque and friction – through smaller interactive displays. “
Throughout the expo, Gateway will showcase one side of our community and how it connects with bikes. The Butte County Public Health Department’s Office of Traffic Safety and Safe Routes to School program will feature three separate bike rodeos, each with its own fun and distinct theme and activity: “Health and Safety” the Friday, February 25; “Physics and Fun” on Saturday March 19; and, in celebration of National Bike Month, “Leisure” on Friday, May 6.
A student event commemorating Chico State Wildcat Spirit Week will be held on Thursday, April 21, and the theme for the exhibit on Friday, April 22 will be “Sustainable Transportation” – for Earth Day.
“Everyone has a bike story,” McGraw said. “As you walk through the exhibit, people will want to share these stories with each other and across generations.”
The Fossil Lab also continues at Gateway, where expert paleontologists and fossil scientists-in-training from the Chico State Department of Geological Sciences prepare fossils in the field. Visitors can see the museum’s scientists-in-residence up close at work on Fridays and Saturdays from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m.
Additionally, the Gateway Gardens offer a glimpse into Northern California’s diverse and distinct ecoregions, and visitors entering the museum will pass a pair of beautiful murals created by Chico State art students in 2019 and 2021.
The Gateway Science Museum is located at 625 Esplanade and is open Thursday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is $7 for adults, $5 for children ages 3-17, and free for Chico State students and museum members. Visitors are required to wear masks. To consider donating to the Gateway Science Museum, please visit its donation page. Those requiring accommodation at the Gateway Science Museum or have questions about accessibility can contact the Accessibility Resource Center at 530-898-5959.