Keep Moving: Designing Chicago's Bicycle Culture

October 27, 2018 - March 3, 2019

Expo 72, 72 E. Randolph St.

Exhibitions  >  Expo 72  >  Keep Moving: Designing Chicago's Bicycle Culture


The Open Road for Boys, The Torbel Company: Boston, MA, April 1939. Chicago Design Museum.

The Open Road for Boys, The Torbel Company: Boston, MA, April 1939. Chicago Design Museum. (click on image to enlarge)


Just before the turn of the century, the popularity of the bicycle in America was at an apex and Chicago-based manufacturers shops were producing the majority of American-made bicycles. However, in just a few decades the industry was a shell of its former self, as consumer focus shifted to cars, planes, and surviving the Great Depression. Keep Moving explores how bicycle design in Chicago contributed to the early popularity of bicycles in America, their survival through the 20th century, and their resurgence today.


Upcoming Events:

Design Museum Presents: Bikes, Modernity, and the Urban Landscape

Thursday, November 1, 6-7pm

What defines urban cycling in Chicago in 2018? Join our panelists from Streetsblog, CDOT, Active Transportation Alliance, and West Town Bikes to discuss the personal and civic impacts of bikes, modernity, and the urban landscape.


Chicago Cycles: 150 Years of Bicycle Design and Innovation

Saturday, November 3, 3:30-4:40pm

Join bicycle historian and author Christopher Sweet as he puts Chicago bicycle design and innovation into the broader perspective of general bicycle and U.S. history.


Beauty and the Bike: The Impact of Recreational Changes on Park Designs

Thursday, December 6, 6-7pm

In this presentation, Julia Bachrach, author of the "City in a Garden: A History of Chicago’s Parks," will illuminate the ways in which landscape designers and park administrators have responded to numerous and rapidly changing trends in recreation.


From Bloomers to Pedal Pushers to Rompers: Riding Bikes in Style

Saturday, December 15, 1:30-2:30pm

Participate in the conversation between Petra Slinkard, Curator of Fashion and Textiles at the Peabody Essex Museum and Lauren Boegen, Curator of Keep Moving, as they discuss the history, fashion and evolution of style associated with bike culture.


Design Museum Presents: Biking for Change and Empowerment

Tuesday, January 22, 6-7pm

Hear from panelists from FrankenToyMobile, West Town Bikes, Bikes 'n Roses, The Recyclery, and World Bicycle Relief about groups making change and empowering people locally and globally.



Photo Gallery

(click on image to enlarge)

Photo Credit: Chicago Design Museum

Advertisement for "The America," America Cycle Manufacturing Company. c. 1898. Chicago Design Museum. Arnold, Schwinn & Co. stationery with "The 'World' Cycles" branding, Arnold, Schwinn & Co., 1905. Chicago Design Museum. Image of Oliver (Butch) Martin Jr. from "Champion On Wheels," Ebony, Vol. XXII, No. 11, September 1967. Chicago Design Museum.


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Plan Your Visit

Expo 72
72 E. Randolph St.
Chicago, IL 60601

FREE Admission

Building Hours:

  • Monday–Friday, 10am–7pm
  • Saturday–Sunday, 10am–5pm

Closed Holidays

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