Cycling now in London has somewhat rocketed in recent years, with British cyclists ranking as some of the best in the world across a broad spectrum of different disciplines, there is no wonder that in London the amount of cyclists in the city will soon be greater than the number of cars.
With that in mind the Design Museum's exhibition Cycle Revolution caters for all kinds of cyclists in mind, from your daily commuter to your pro.
Visitors are greeted by Ben Wilson’s steel sculpture created from bike frames in the museum atrium, Ben, part of the Wilson Brothers (ironically 3 brothers believe it or not, Oscar, Ben and Luke who have also designed bikes which can be seen in the exhibition). The exhibition is separated into different “tribes” – ‘High Performers’, ‘Thrill Seekers’, ‘Urban Riders’, ‘Cargo Bikers’, ‘Frame Builders’ and a look into the ‘Future of Cycling’. Among the 77 bikes on display are many record breakers and Olympic winning steeds such as Elvis’ favourite cyclist Chris Boardman’s Lotus Type 108 that won gold in the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games, Sir Bradley Wiggin’s 2015 hour record Pinarello, along with his helmet with sweat marks still intact and sitting nicely next to this is Eddie Merck’s 1972 hour record steed, for me some of the stars of the show alongside Sir Chris Hoy’s 2012 Olympic bicycle.
For those who are looking for something more leisurely you will be able to see various folding bikes that are better specced than most members of Ripcor’s valued steeds, the original prototype of the Brompton next to various courier bikes dating back to the 1930s and some more bulky versions which we at Ripcor could use to carry other members, or Treve and Sean’s isotonic beers for after a ride.
There is a heavy influence on the growing demand in the UK for custom built bicycles from various frame builders such as Donhou Bicycles, Toad Custom Cycles, Hartley Cycles, Robin Mather Cycles, Mercian Cycles and Shand Cycles. This section demonstrates the construction, precision and skill that goes into each and every frame lovingly constructed. Maybe this will be where Lord Hampshire and Pelo may find their next loves?
One of the touching elements is about the personal stories of London’s 155,000 inhabitants who now cycle to work every day including the ultimate urban cyclist Lucy Granville, heavily pregnant and still using her bike to navigate her way across the city!
Lastly the future section. This shows an insight into the global responses to the growing needs of cyclists in cities as well as showcasing some of the pioneering new bikes. Here you will witness some interesting ideas such as Dear Susan’s very very tall bike (maybe designed for Steveo) next to one of Ant’s freshest set of wheels and bicycles made from bamboo; an incredibly strong and logical frame construction which is joined together using flax fibre and an eco-epoxy resin that creates a sleek black bit of kit.
All in all a must go for anyone interested in cycling, bikes and the way London and other cities are changing. This is the Design Museum’s last exhibition in its current Shad Thames location before they move to the new location in Kensington, due to open at the end of 2016.Chris Baloo Hall.