Opening soon - LifeCycle: Stories from the Minnesota Bike Community

Mailchim LifeCYCLE MTR updated copy.jpg

Sneak Peek on LifeCYCLE: Stories from the Minnesota Bike Community

By Audrey Negro, Joint CMM and HHM Intern

What do a 13-year-old mountain bike racer, a bicycle frame builder, and the founder of one of the world’s largest bicycle parts distributors have in common? They are all key parts of the Minnesota cycling community and makers of living history here in Hennepin County. They are all also part of a new exhibit produced by the Cycling Museum of Minnesota in partnership with Hennepin History Museum.

Explore the vast, and often shared, triumphs experienced on two wheels. Starting December 1, LifeCYCLE: Stories from the Minnesota Bike Community will be on display at HHM. The exhibit highlights eleven influential figures in Minnesota biking currently living and riding in the state. The exhibit features original portraits by celebrated Minneapolis photographer Nancy Musinguzi, as well as oral history interviews invoking aspects of storytelling and create an archive of contemporary history-makers.

self portrait, 2018.  Nancy Musinguzi

self portrait, 2018. Nancy Musinguzi

Nancy Musinguzi is a visual storyteller, mixed-media artist and freelance photojournalist working and living in Minneapolis, Minnesota. They experiment with both traditional and emerging processes in media-making to document the lives and perspectives of marginal cultures,communities, and voices that chronicle and shape the contemporary American experience. Their perspective as a fellow cyclist invites visitors to reframe how we see people on bikes. All the exhibit subjects have done important work for the cycling community, are known forces in the cycling community, and/or have experienced a valuable life change as a direct result of cycling.

The subjects were chosen to represent the diverse backgrounds, ages, gender identities, and ethnicities found in the cycling community. They also represent a broad range of cycling niches, including bike racers and athletes, established artists and makers, cycling and transportation activists, industry leaders, and shop owners and mechanics. Many of the subjects have used bikes and cycling in their lives as tools to create change. Some have overcome individual challenges, other have created healing and community, while still others enjoy the gratification that comes with working with their hands.

All of them see the transformational possibilities of bikes and cycling applied to ideas like personal fitness, environmental health, transit equity, and social change. This theme was so strong, we had to ask why. Why bikes? Are there not other ways to accomplish change? Here’s a sneak peek of what a few individuals had to say:

“There’s such a push and pull of progress when it comes to politics and so much red tape but at the shop someone could come in and say their bike was broken and I could fix the flat and then they leave and they’re happy! It’s instantaneous and I get to work with my hands. I can see incremental progress. Maybe it’s a cheap way to try to produce social change.”
“It’s a little bit about the opportunity of freedom when you ride, the opportunity to get away. There’s a little bit of that. The solitude. They were literally transportation for me. So they made just, tons of sense. There’s an elegance, too, about bikes. I love the elegance of bikes. There’s an elegant beauty to the mechanical aspects of bikes. That’s way cool.”
“For me, it’s physical health. I’m going on 78 and I don’t feel anywhere like being 78. I think cycling has been the part of my life that has kept me physically fit and physically healthy. I’ve not had any major problems.”

HHM and CMM worked together in the past to produce High Wheels!, an exhibit highlighting antique high-wheeler bicycles. This continued partnership aims to unlock the transformative potential of bicycles in the lives of individuals and communities and demonstrates the role of cycling in Hennepin County’s past, present, and future. Visit HHM to experience LifeCYCLE, view all eleven original portraits, and read more about each subject.

Reserve your ticket for Opening Day on December 1st. The exhibit will be up until March 3, 2019

Use #MNbikestories to share your own story!