Wednesday 18 November 2015

Weds 18th Nov: Cycle Revolution at The Design Museum

Rover Safety Bicycle, 1888

Franceso Moser's Hour Record Bike, 1984

Bradley Wiggins' Hour Record Bike, 2015

Raleigh Chopper, 1970

Tools from the Bike Makers Workshop

Hartley Cycles 

Apparel & Accessories inc.  Brooks saddle bags

Jon Day's 1970's Fixed Gear Track Bike from his London Courier days

Ben Wilson's Donky Bike & Stairwell sculpture commission

Dear Susan's Tall Bike 2015

Boxer Rocket, 2015

Peckham BMX Club

Sir Paul Smith's testimonial & jumper collection

I’ve been looking f
orward to this exhibition since I first heard about it via their social media campaign to find the ultimate “Urban Rider” for one of the show’s case studies.  The opening today unveiled that tribe alongside competitive “High Performers”, off-road “Thrill Seekers” and freight / messenger “Cargo Bikers”.  Whatever category you might fall into; every cyclist is catered for in this cross section of over 77 frames on display from the earliest 1880’s original to Wiggins’ recent 1-hour record breaker.  Whether you are a die-hard geek into the design detailing, eco-freak into Bamboo builds or a Brompton city boy, each wall is hanging with the finest specimens in the development of the sport. 
As the final show to be held at the Shad Thames site, it’s fulfilled the wish of founder Sir Terence Conran to hold a retrospective on the classic.  Just like the simple chair or cork screw, it’s one of the most desirable mechanical shapes for designers to have a go at re-formatting.  Apparently the hi-spec of the Olympic winning bikes on show are top secret, sitting alongside their earlier counterparts still looking glorious from the ingenuity of the time.  A show-stopper for the display will definitely be the 1984 Franceso Moser’s Hour Record Bike with its silver steel frame and disc wheels.  It is exquisitely beautiful, irrespective of its original pioneering aerodynamic performance.  I think this is referred to as #bikeporn in the industry.
One section of the story is dedicated to six contemporary craftsmen with a “Bike Makers Workshop” consisting of tools from a cross range of Britain’s current game changers.  Emerging world class names represent the nation’s newest talent with HartleyCycles flying the flag for the female force in the frame building industry.  Caren’s initial training in metalwork for jewellery at the RCA has crossed over into soldering the stems of cycles and a new outlet for her fine art flourish. 
Women’s cycling has a great presence across each aspect of the narrative with Joanna Rowsell’s daily track schedule as part of Team GB’s training thru to BMX breakthrough star Shanaze Reade.  Here lies the highlight of the whole thing for me, a film clip following the story of Peckham’s BMX Club which started as a Southwark Council initiative.  A derelict space was turned into a track with coach DJ CK Flash recruited to rally the community.  Now with a 2nd larger home at Burgess Park, he has gone on to discover and nurture the nation’s new competing professionals.  An incredible inspiring story in perfect timing as antidote to the city’s endemic preoccupation with the negative effects of the unrelenting redevelopment. 

And on that note, as the bricks and mortar of London’s landscape is chopping and changing on a daily basis – one other noticeable shift is the amount of commuter footfall now revolving over to peddling.  Numbers of journeys by bike are on the increase and sure to be making a bee line for this new show, not least for the shop brimming with gadgets and cycling theme gifts!

 Cycle Revolution at The Design Museum