A road.cc reader has donated a rare and famously terrible plastic bicycle to Somerset’s Bakelite Museum, after learning of the theft of the same model last week.
By coincidence Dan Bronks, a London-based Director of Photography, had just sent a friend’s Itera bicycle, which had lain in a garden and was “full of spiders”, to be restored, when he learned of the theft of an Itera via a road.cc article last week.
The Itera is notoriously one of history’s bad ideas, which is prone to breaking, and the bike shop told him not to ride it, as it was too dangerous. He got in touch with the Museum owner and plans to take the bike to Somerset in the coming weeks.
“I read the article featuring the theft of the Itera Volvo bike last week,” Bronks told road.cc.
“Coincidently the day before I had just had one restored that a mate had had in his garden for ages. It was full of spiders and covered in crap, but I persuaded the guys at Two Wheels Good [bike shop] in Stoke Newington to clean it up.
“I picked it up and they told me not to ride it … it was too dangerous. It really is the worst bike ever made. Yet everyone is interested in it as a curiosity.
“Anyway, I read the story and emailed the owner of the museum and I'm gonna donate it to them to replace the stolen one.”
Patrick Cook, owner of the Bakelite Museum, said: “It’s absolutely brilliant, because as you come in to the museum they are the first thing you see. They were the first thing the burglars saw.”
The stolen Itera was one of three of the Volvo-made plastic bikes on display at the Bakelite Museum. Only one was stolen, however.
He confirmed Bronks has been in touch and plans to deliver the restored bike, free of charge, in the coming weeks.
After the theft Patrick Cook, who founded the Bakelite Museum, and still runs it today, described the bike to road.cc.
“They are well-known for being one of the greatest failures," he said.
“In a way they are quite surreal because you get on them and they flex, like a rubber band, and the handlebars give way – they’ve actually snapped in some cases. The spokes break if you go over a pothole, and I think because they were sold in a kit frame, a lot of the kits were incomplete.
“We had three of them on show, one of them a racing bike, which is really just a nod to a road bike in that it has drop handlebars. It’s really ridiculously heavy. It was red but it has now faded to pink.
“I call it the Iterrible.”
However, he says, the Itera has “an enormous place” in cycling history for its experimental design, which was a throwback when it was made in the early 1980s.