Call me a wimp, call me wise, but I have yet to cycle in the big bad city. Not a Boris Bike jaunt, nor a scenic riverside ride have I ever completed, which, admittedly is slightly embarrassing.
…Or sensible? The amount of cycle-related injuries and accidents is scarily high in London, although the new Cycle Super Highways that are being built around the city promise a safer way to ride around the capital.
This current obsession with bikes can’t be ignored – we’ve all been annoyed by those commuters who insist on travelling with a fold-up bike, or been narrowly missed by a speeding Santander. But the rise in popularity of the (not so) humble bicycle is clearly for a reason: a bike is cheaper and more environmentally friendly to use, and doubles up as a form of exercise. This is killing three birds with one stone. After the success of cycling in the London Olympics and the enthusiasm for the recent Tour de France, it seems apt that 2015 should be the year championing the Great Bicycle. Luckily, the Design Museum have got it covered.
Cycle Revolution is a brand new exhibition at the Design Museum in Bermondsey celebrating the nations’ favourite two wheeled contraption. Bikes of all shapes and sizes are on display; from Bradley Wiggins’ super fast racer to a 1970s vintage Raleigh, this exhibition shows there really is a bike for everyone. The exhibition focuses on four subcultures of biking ‘tribes’; the High Performers, the Thrill Seekers, the Urban Riders and the Cargo Bikers, proving the diversity and variety in the jobs the bike can do.
Track the evolution of the bicycle throughout time, contrasting the 1888 Rover safety bicycle to the foldable Brompton bicycles now so familiar on the morning commute. Apparently the future of cycling could be the wooden bike, but there was also a huge number of modern collapsible contraptions that screamed innovation. . Biking attire and helmets (accessories are obviously important here) are featured, the most bizarre probably an inflatable helmet. I was pretty impressed with the cargo bikes which are rising in popularity; companies using them for deliveries or mums for the school run. Genius, I say – stick the kids in the bike.
Admittedly, I entered Cycle Revolution with an overriding impression that a bike is a bike is a bike. How wrong I was. The Design Museum’s Cycle Revolution opened my eyes to the fact that bikes are stepping up a gear. Having never really considered the design and craftsmanship of the trusty bicyle, I now feel enlightened as to the capabilities of our two-wheeled friend, and despite not being an avid bike enthusiast, can now fully the complete variety and innovative craftsmanship of the bicycle. The Design Museum has triumphed again, as far as im concerned, and even though I still took the tube on the way home, I was wheely considering picking up a Boris Bike (pun completely intended).