Cycle Revolution: A Q&A with the Team Behind the exhibition.

The Design Museum's latest exhibition "Cycle Revolution" is honouring the evolving beauty of bike design. Launched in November the exhibition is running through until the 30th June next year and showcases the best and most original designs in the cycling world. Amongst the picks are Paul Smith's stunning shirt designs for the Tour de France team, Sir Chris Hoy's winning 2012 Olympic track bike, the iconic 1969 Raleigh chopper from our childhood dreams, Eddie Merckx's 1972 winning Hour Record bike and the earliest Brompton bike prototype in existence.

The exhibition has already got rave reviews: 

"As an assembly of bicycle porn the Design Museum's new Cycle Revolution is absolutely filthy." The Times

"Design Museum's bike exhibition is a dream for all who love two wheels." The Guardian

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

"Fascinating." ★★★★ The Telegraph

 

We caught up with the design team that put the bike exhibition together to find out more about how it came about, what they were most excited about displaying and what it felt like to get their hands on Bradley Wiggins' bike from his Tour de France win. 

The Main Hall, photographed by James Harris

How did cycling become the subject of an exhibition at the Design Museum?

It was the museum’s trustee and founder Sir Terence Conran who first had the idea of creating an exhibition about bicycles. Cycling is gaining popularity in the UK at a rate not seen since WWII, so it felt very timely. The Design Museum always aims to give its visitors a picture of where the design industry is now, and where it may be headed, so we wanted to look particularly at contemporary cycling culture – from professional sportspeople to urban planning.

A few of the product designs at Cycle Revolution...photographed by James Harris

2. There are so many unique pieces in the exhibition, how did you go about deciding which items to feature?

The curation process was guided by a desire to look at innovation in bicycle design, and also at what cycling means to the people who love it. Our curator spoke to lots of people when deciding what pieces to include, from Sir Paul Smith to planners at TFL – cyclists love to talk about bikes so every conversation seemed to lead to at least four more!

The strikingly different Arvak Bike

The strikingly different Arvak Bike

3. Which item were you most excited about receiving?

With some many classic and beautiful bikes on display it’s very hard to pick afavourite, but we are very excited to be showing Eddy Merckx’s hour record bike from 1972 beside Sir Bradley Wiggins’ from earlier this year.


4. If you could cycle any of the bikes in the exhibition which one would it be? (And have you given them a go in the exhibition hall already?)

Tempting as it was, we didn’t have a go on any of the bikes! Maybe because it is so unusual looking, it would be interesting to do a circuit on Peter Georgallou’s Tall Bike.

The aptly named Tall Bike by Peter Georgallou, photographed by Ben Broomfield

5. What do you find most inspiring about bike design?

There is so much passion, and a desire to achieve the best ride possible, whatever that might mean to the individual - whether it’s a bike that allows your kids can travel with you in comfort, or one that helps you become King of the Mountains in the Tour de France.

The Main hall including a range of cargo bikes, photographed by James Harris

6. What is your favourite Hill & Ellis bag? 

The Bunbury has attracted lots of attention in our shop – style-conscious city cyclists love the size. 

The Giro, beautifully photographed by Emily Maye

The exhibition is running until June and is definitely worth a visit, just to be in a hare's breath of Sir Bradley Wiggin's and Eddie Merckx’s bikes. For more information have a look at the Design Museum's website.  

As a museum of impeccable taste and design, the Design Museum shop is also selling a range of Hill & Ellis bike bags including their favourite, the Bunbury.