Talk at the Design Museum

Released: 17th December 2015

Published by: James Marr

As the Design Museums’ Cycle Revolution exhibition rolls into its second month, Bamboo Bicycle Club had the pleasure of leading this months ‘Stories from the Saddle…’ – a series of talks inviting cyclists of all types to share their experiences of life on two wheels. At one o’clock last Sunday (13th December) I left mid-way through teaching the final day of a weekend workshop, and headed over to Shad Thames to deliver a 30 minute talk followed by a Q&A on the Club; its’ past, present and most importantly my hopes for its future. The talks take place in an annex off the main exhibition space and there was a great turn out, ranging from friends, family and past bike builders to those completely unfamiliar with the Club. Opening with the origins of bamboo bikes in the 1880’s, to the emergence of Bamboo Bicycle Club and our very first builds, before moving on to discuss the virtues of bamboo as a material as well as some of the problems combining it with mass-produced metal components. We then summarised our three key areas 1. Weekend workshops, 2. Home-build kits, 3. Education kits, before sharing some personal stories about bikes built at the Club including one completed by a blind man, a couples tandem, the first bamboo fat bikes, and even ones that have gone on to tour the globe and compete in international races! We closed with a look at the future of the Club and a more general discussion on the use of composite materials in cycling – and questions from the audience echoed the need for development in this area as they were dominated with enquiries about where people could purchase non-metal components, and what studies or investment is behind sustainable materials in this area. With that in mind, we look forward to returning to the Design Museum next April for a weekend take-over where many of these issues will be addressed as we intend to 3D print lugs and produce a rideable bike by Sunday afternoon!

Thanks to ExhibitionSmith for attending and writing a summary!- Find out more at