Why space and bicycles?

Sparta, Wisconsin is the Bicycling Capital of America with the first Rails to Trails Program in the country in which old railroad tracks are converted into bike trails. Before the Wright brothers made history with their first flight in 1903 they owned a bicycle shop and used bicycle components in their first airplane. Deke Slayton is a Sparta native, and one of America’s first astronauts, part of the Mercury 7 group formed by NASA in 1959. We combine these topics into a “Progression of Transportation” starting with bicycles, going on to planes, and into space!

Bicycles: Explore over 80 bicycles on display that span the history and innovation of bicycling throughout the centuries from the very earliest bicycle built in 1816 to the amazing bikes of today.

Aviation: Learn about the evolution of aviation with examples from the earliest days of flight to the highly trained pilots that became America’s first astronauts.

Space Exploration: Follow the story of Deke Slayton from his humble beginnings as a farm boy to his accomplishments as an astronaut. See how the space program has evolved and continues to expand the limits of exploration today.