Northern California is home to two bicycling museums, in cities making great day trip destinations.  

The biggest is the U.S. Bicycling Hall of Fame in Davis in Yolo County, which opened in 2010. Marin County is home to a similar museum, with an even longer name — the Marin Museum of Bicycling and Mountain Bike Hall of Fame — located in Fairfax. 

The Davis museum has three floors of exhibits in a downtown building overlooking the city’s Farmers Market and Central Park. It’s open on Wednesdays and Saturdays, when the colorful, top-rated market is open. 

High wheels are among the varied types of bikes on view at the U.S. Bicycling Hall of Fame in Davis. (Photo by Larry Sokoloff) 

One floor in Davis highlights inductees to the national hall of fame, which includes a number of Bay Area cyclists. The other floors have interesting exhibits tracing the evolution and of the bicycle. A current exhibit focuses on women in cycling. 

The hall of fame fits in well in Davis, which many consider to be the bicycling capital of the United States. Bicycle art is everywhere, even on the city’s logo. Exhibits in the museum include one on Major Taylor, an African-American who was the first star in cycling at the turn of the 20th century and at one time was considered the highest paid athlete in the world. 

An exhibit at the U.S. Bicycling Hall of Fame features Major Taylor, an African-American athlete and star in cycling at the turn of the 20th century. (Photo by Larry Sokoloff) 

Not surprisingly, both museums have bikes, lots of bikes. The Davis museum has a two-seater and a six-seater, high wheelers, a bicycle made of bamboo and an acrylic bicycle that used to belong to the local McDonald’s. Boomers who want to wax nostalgic, should be sure to check out the green Schwinn Sting Ray, with a banana seat, circa 1969, in the basement at the Davis museum. 

Both museums offer tours, which is a great way to take in the history. Both are powered by volunteers, and are nonprofits. 

The Marin Museum of Bicycling is located in a former storefront on Sir Francis Drake Boulevard in downtown Fairfax, and contains two rooms of bicycles. Marin County and the town of Fairfax are considered the birthplace of mountain biking, and the wide-tire vehicles are featured in its displays, along with many of the same kinds of bikes featured in Davis. The museum is a history of cycling in the Bay Area as well, with mentions of bicycling innovators from Sunnyvale, Morgan Hill, Sebastopol and Palo Alto. 

The Marin Museum of Bicycling is in a former storefront on Sir Francis Drake Boulevard in downtown Fairfax. (Photo by Larry Sokoloff) 

The Mountain Bike Hall of Fame started in Crested Butte, Colorado, but moved to Marin when the Fairfax museum opened in 2015. 

The museum in Fairfax is a few doors down from another bicycling hangout, the Split Rock Tap & Wheel at 2020 Sir Francis Drake Blvd.  Split Rock is a combination bicycle store and brewpub, which also serves food. A few blocks away is Gestalt Haus, a casual bratwurst and beer hall that also caters to bicyclists at 28 Bolinas Road.

Split Rock Tap & Wheel in Fairfax is a combination bicycle store and brewpub. (Photo by Larry Sokoloff) 

The Marin Museum of Bicycling, 1966 Sir Francis Drake Blvd., Fairfax, is open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursdays-Sundays, although closed for staff vacation and reopening Feb. 2. Admission is $10 for adults, $8 for seniors (65+), $5 for youths (12-17) and students, $3 for children (6-11) and free for children 5 and under, members and Mountain Bike Hall of Fame inductees. Visit mmbhof.org.

The U.S. Bicycling Hall of Fame, 303 Third St., Davis, is open from 4 to 6 p.m. Wednesdays and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays. Admission is $5 general, $3 for seniors (55+) and students. Visit Museum | USBHOF.