Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Cycle Revolution at the Design Museum

Open 10 am to 5.45 pm
40 years ago Copenhagen was just as car-clogged as anywhere else but now 45% of the population arriving at work or education do so on bicycles, from all over the Metro area. 63% of Copenhageners themselves use bicycles each day. They all use over 1000 km of bicycle lanes in Greater Copenhagen for their journeys. Copenhagenizing is possible anywhere.
Mikael Colville-Andersen's copenhagenize blog, from which I quote above, is strongly intermodal. It does not ignore cars. It just makes a splendid case for more cycle infrastructure and the difference it makes to a city in terms of function.

Now that 196 countries have signed up to the Paris agreement on climate change, I can scarcely think of a more appropriate subject to write about. And by happy accident or design - and the prompting of the Museum's trustee and founder Sir Terence Conran - the Design Museum's exhibition Cycle Revolution covers the post-COP21 world. The exhibition runs until Thursday 30 June 2016. (Please note that both the Designs of the Year and Designers in Residence exhibitions will close on Thursday 31 March.)

It is this well-loved Museum's final show at its Shad Thames building before it uproots itself and moves to Kensington, where it will have three times as much space, next year.

As well as some humorous road signs on the stairs on the way up (see left), the displays include urban bikes, children's bikes, fold-up, custom, mountain and mobility bikes, and electric, cargo and futuristic prototype bikes, as well as cycling gear, guest and cycle building videos, and a shopful of designer cycle bells among many other things just waiting for your eyes to light upon them.

Bikes and their riders are stars of the show too - here you will find the bikes ridden by Merckx, Hoy, Boardman, Wiggins, Froome . . .. Do not rush your visit.

My absolute favourite was the classic Christiania Light (see pic below). Not only will it keep you fit, it has the lowest maintenance requirements of any bike in the pack and will carry work or leisure gear, shopping, children, pets, furniture and/or miscellaneous cargo in stylish comfort. I'm just waiting for the plexiglass rain and wind shield; indeed, I'm sure it's already in the shops.

A further section of the exhibition takes a look at London's very own Mini Hollands, Quietways and Space for Cyclists as well as the cycling infrastructure in Amsterdam, New York, Freiburg, Bogota, Seville, Montreal, Copenhagen and Tokyo.

It's a strong message. The future is bikeable. And I'm off now to check whether the Human Powered Vehicle Association has a London branch.

Design Museum
28 Shad Thames
London SE1




Open daily 10:00 – 17:45
Last admission 17:15
Ticketed: £13 Adult, £9.75 Student, £6.50 Child under 16 (6–15 inclusive)
Free entrance to members and children under six
Entry into the museum gives you access to all three exhibitions for the price of one ticket