Experience Pedal Power

Oxford exhibition celebrates cycling’s past, present and future

by Kevin Emery   October 1, 2009  

Museum of Oxford.jpg

An exhibition celebrating cycling’s past, present and imagined future in Oxfordshire is currently open in the Museum of Oxford. Pedal Power – A portrait of cycling in Oxfordshire runs until Sunday, October 18 and is a fascinating snapshot of how cycling developed in Oxfordshire, as well as nationally, more than 100 years ago.

Curated by London-based cyclist and photographer Constantine Gras, the exhibition focuses on the 1870s to 1900s, when cycling and photography were cutting-edge technologies, capable of causing both excitement and derision in equal measure.

It features historic photographs, including those of Henry W Taunt - Oxford's most famous photographer - intermingled with modern images.

Exhibits include a small selection of vintage bicycles, including a Penny Farthing and a cycle made by William Morris - not the artist, who together with other members of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood had strong links with the city, but the bike-shop-owner-turned-car-maker who made Oxford one of the focal points of the British car industry. Even today, the BMW Mini is made at the former Morris works in Cowley.

The exhibition also has Constantine’s own contemporary images of cycling in Oxford, including quotes from cyclists about what ‘Cycling Heaven’ would be like.

Displays have included evening lectures highlighting how cycling can impact upon the health and environmental agendas.

And this Saturday sees the Big Bicycle Draw from noon-4pm where youngsters can drop in and create some super cycling-themed artwork. They must be accompanied by an adult though.

Entry is free and the opening times are 10am–5pm, Tuesday–Saturday.