Skip to main content

Milwaukee Bicycle Museum

Revisit history from the seat of a bicycle

Welcome to The Milwaukee Bicycle Museum, a treasure trove for cycling enthusiasts and history buffs alike. Our museum offers a captivating journey through the evolution of bicycles, showcasing an extensive collection of vintage and antique bikes from different eras. 

From the graceful high-wheelers of the 19th century to the sleek racing bikes of the 20th century, each model tells a unique story of innovation and craftsmanship. Whether you're an avid cyclist, a history lover, or simply curious, the Milwaukee Bicycle Museum provides a fascinating and educational experience for visitors of all ages.

Visiting the bike museum

Admission cost: Free

Address: 4758 South Packard Ave., Cudahy, WI. (located inside South Shore Cyclery)

Parking: You'll find convenient parking on either side of the street in front of our building.

Accessibility: Wheelchair accessible

What you'll see in the bike museum

Pre 1900 bicycles

Step back in time at The Milwaukee Bicycle Museum to explore the fascinating pre-1900 era of bicycles, where the journey of two-wheeled innovation began.

These historic bicycles, like the Boneshaker and the Rudge ordinary, not only illustrate the rapid technological advancements of the time but also reflect the social and cultural shifts that accompanied the burgeoning popularity of cycling.

Balloon tire era bicycles

Introduced in the 1930s, balloon tire bicycles revolutionized the riding experience with their wide, cushioned tires, providing a smoother and more comfortable ride on rough terrain. These bikes quickly became a symbol of freedom and adventure, especially popular among young riders.

Our collection features a stunning array of these classic bikes, from sleek cruisers with art deco designs to rugged models built for durability. The balloon tire era highlights a significant period in cycling history, reflecting the post-war boom, the rise of suburban living, and the growing culture of recreational cycling.

Muscle bikes

Experience the vibrant and dynamic muscle bike era, a celebration of the bold and flamboyant bicycle designs of the 1960s and 1970s. Muscle bikes, with their distinctive banana seats, high-rise handlebars, and flashy colors, were inspired by the muscle cars of the time, capturing the imagination of a generation of young riders. 

These bikes were more than just a mode of transportation; they were a statement of identity and a symbol of the youthful rebellion and creativity of the period. The muscle bike era remains a beloved chapter in cycling history, marked by its innovation, cultural impact, and enduring popularity.

Vintage road & track bicycles

This era, spanning from the 1940s to the 1980s, saw the rise of beautifully crafted bicycles designed for speed, endurance, and performance on both roadways and velodromes. 

Our collection features illustrious models with meticulously constructed frames, lightweight materials, and streamlined aesthetics.

These bikes, with their narrow tires and drop handlebars, were built for competitive racing, embodying the spirit of innovation and the pursuit of excellence. 

The vintage road and track bike era reflects a time when cycling technology made significant leaps forward, and the sport gained international prominence.

Our most popular historic bikes

Roadmaster

The 1947 Roadmaster Luxury Liner bike is a quintessential symbol of post-war American ingenuity and style, capturing the spirit of an era eager for innovation and leisure. 

Manufactured by the Cleveland Welding Company, the Luxury Liner boasted a striking design with its sleek, aerodynamic curves and chrome accents, embodying the aesthetic appeal of classic cars of the time. This bicycle was not only about looks; it featured advanced components such as a springer front fork for a smoother ride, a built-in headlight, and a sturdy, comfortable saddle.

The Roadmaster Luxury Liner catered to a growing market of recreational cyclists, offering a blend of comfort, durability, and eye-catching design that made it a standout in the burgeoning suburban neighborhoods. This bike remains a beloved icon, reflecting the optimism and creativity of the late 1940s.

1900 Sterling Roadster

The 1900 Sterling Roadster bike, built in Kenosha, Wisconsin, exemplifies the remarkable craftsmanship and innovation of early American bicycle manufacturing. 

This model was celebrated for its sturdy construction and exceptional ride quality. Produced by the Sterling Cycle Works, the Roadster featured a diamond frame design that provided both strength and stability, ideal for the diverse terrains of the early 20th century. Its high-quality materials and meticulous engineering ensured durability and performance, making it a preferred choice for commuters and leisure riders alike. 

Schwinn Excelsior Racer

The 1934 Schwinn Excelsior Racer epitomizes the golden age of American cycling with its blend of style, speed, and craftsmanship. 

This bicycle was a standout in Schwinn's lineup, designed specifically for the rigors of competitive racing. Featuring a lightweight and robust frame constructed from high-quality steel, the Excelsior Racer was built for both speed and endurance. Its streamlined design and advanced engineering made it a formidable competitor on the track, while its durability ensured it could withstand the demands of intense racing. 

The Excelsior Racer not only highlighted Schwinn's commitment to excellence but also cemented its reputation as a leading innovator in the cycling industry during the early 20th century.

1938 Schwinn Paramount

The 1938 Schwinn Paramount represents a pivotal moment in cycling history, embodying the innovation and craftsmanship of its era. 

Introduced as one of Schwinn's premier racing bicycles, the Paramount was meticulously designed for performance and durability. It featured lightweight, high-strength steel tubing and was hand-brazed, ensuring superior frame integrity and responsiveness. The attention to detail extended to its components, which were selected to optimize speed and efficiency, making it a favorite among competitive cyclists. 

The Paramount not only showcased Schwinn's engineering prowess but also set a new standard for American-made racing bicycles, influencing designs for decades to come.

Meet the Museum's Mastermind

Scott Wilke's collection makes up the Milwaukee Bicycle Museum

Scott Wilke has been restoring and collecting vintage and historic bikes for most of his life, and his collection has become the Milwaukee Bicycle Museum. 


Press for The Milwaukee Bicycle Museum

"South Shore Cyclery has been around for nearly 30 years now, but you might think it has been open for a 100 years when you step in the door and see the collection of vintage bicycles in the Milwaukee Bicycle Museum section of the shop. The collection is the pride and passion of Scott Wilke, who has been collecting, restoring, and preserving vintage American bicycles for over 20 years." - Dave Schlabowske