Local leaders announced Friday that Davis has been selected as the new permanent home of the U.S. Bicycling Hall of Fame.
“There’s a huge excitement in the air about it,” said City Councilmember Sue Greenwald. “I was ecstatic.“
Currently located in Somerville, NJ, the Hall of Fame has been searching for a new home for over a year. The city of Davis was selected from over 25 other communities, including Dayton, Ohio and Madison, Wis. In March, the list of possible sites was narrowed down to two: Davis and Greensboro, NC.
Dawn C. Wylong, president of the U.S. Bicycling Hall of Fame, said the community’s passion for bicycles was the factor that tipped the scales in Davis‘ favor.
“It was absolutely the fact that Davis is all about bicycling, whether it’s a form of transportation or recreation or sport,” Wylong said.
The hall will initially be housed in an existing city-owned facility in Davis. City staffers are considering the building that currently houses the teen center at Third and B Streets downtown as a likely site.
The city hopes to have the hall’s temporary home set up by October, when this year’s induction ceremony will be held at Freeborn Hall, said city of Davis spokesperson Bob Bowen.
The City Council must first approve the agreement and decide on a site. Then all the organizations and individuals involved must get together to work out what the working operation will look like.
“Those nuts and bolts will start to be worked out in the next few months,” Bowen said.
The Davis Enterprise reported Friday that the annual cost to operate the full facility will be between $120,000 to $150,000. Bowen said the city will try to cover those costs with grants, redevelopment funds and private donations.
For the first several years there will be a rotating museum display, educational programs and activities like coaching clinics, Bowen said.
“After that the hope is that there will be development of a larger standalone facility that will be even more of an attraction for Davis,” he said.
The location of that facility is unknown at this point, but it will also include exhibits from the California Bicycle Museum.
“What the public is going to see is one museum that celebrates the sport of cycling, that honors the greats of the sport, educates the public on the history of the bicycle and what pedal-powered machines can do,” said Dan Kehew, president of the California Bicycle Museum.
Kehew said the presence of UC Davis was “absolutely critical” in helping to draw the US Bicycling Hall of Fame to town.
The wealth of knowledge on history, engineering, library science, archiving, museum display were all part of the bid, in addition to the university’s ownership of the Pierce-Miller collection of antique bicycles, Kehew said.
That collection, on display during the Amgen Tour of California this year, is currently in storage.
The sheer number of people at UC Davis played a role in the decision, too.
“Just knowing that with UC Davis you’re going to have a constant influx of people, families, students, international visitors at the university who are going to be interested in visiting and learning more about the history of bicycling,” said Wylong, Hall of Fame president.
The U.S. Bicycling Hall of Fame was founded in 1986 and is recognized by the USA Cycling Association as the official industry hall of fame. It inducts athletes and other achievers in the cycling industry annually, in addition to promoting safety, fitness and participation in cycling.
JEREMY OGUL can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.