Review: Cycle Revolution At The Design Museum

Cycle Revolution, Design Museum ★★★★★

Andy Thornley
By Andy Thornley Last edited 21 months ago
Review: Cycle Revolution At The Design Museum Cycle Revolution, Design Museum 5
The bike Chris Hoy won the last of his gold medals on at the London 2012 Olympics

This is the last exhibition at the Design Museum’s Shad Thames home before they move to Kensington, and they’ve pulled out an absolute belter of a final display.

Part design exhibit, part museum of sport’s greatest moments, the Design Museum’s Cycle Revolution displays 77 beautifully sculpted, two-wheeled machines from the whole spectrum of cycling; from space age creations, to bikes used to lug packages around, and everything in between.

The exhibition starts with a celebrity of a cycle, Chris Boardman’s unique bike from the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, designed by the Formula One team Lotus. Boardman's win on the bike ended a 72-year Olympic gold medal drought for British cycling, cementing its place in our nation's sporting history.

Chris Boardman's famous Lotus 108 bike that ended a 72-year gold medal drought for British cycling

As you continue through the performance section of the exhibition, you pass more exquisitely designed equipment that has further played a significant part in sport’s success: the bike Sir Chris Hoy won the last of his gold medals in London 2012, perched above a cabinet featuring the speed suit he wore to win them. The legendary Eddie Merckx’s hour record bike. Francesco Moser’s hour bike that beat Merckx’s record, and the one Bradley Wiggins rode most recently to beat it — now both owned and lent to the exhibition by Sir Wiggo. Chris Froome’s Team Sky bike used by him on his way to winning this year's Tour de France.

Bradley Wiggins' Pinarello hour challenge bike featuring 3D printed handle bars

We could go on and to list every cycle, but this would do them a disservice as each one should be seen for the beautifully designed and historically important artifact it is.

The exhibition is not all about racing though. There is a whole section dedicated to thrill-seeking, including a host of mountain, trials bikes from the likes of three times world BMX champion Shanaze Lewis and amazing trials and stunt rider Danny Macaskill. The exhibition continues looking at both the design and build of machines before displaying even more bikes, from commuters to cargo bikes, including the earliest surviving prototype of a Brompton from 1976.

The exhibition also explores the design and build of bicyles

There are separate spaces where design of infrastructure and safety is explored, with a life-size Ashok Sinha (CEO of the London Cycle Campaign) talking about his hopes for the future and designer and cyclophile, Paul Smith, talking about why he loves it so much and the freedom it gives.

If you aren't already in love with the world of cycling, this exhibition will change that.

Cycle Revolution runs at the Design Museum, 28 Shad Thames, SE1 2YD, until 30 June 2016. Adults £13, students/unemployed £9.75, Children 6-13 £6.60, children under 6 free.

Last Updated 18 November 2015