VELOMUSEUM.Brussels has officially opened its doors on 22nd of September! Anyone with an interest in the world of cycling will be happy to learn that this will be the place to be for recreational bikers, cultural inheritance lovers as well as bicycle fanatics until January 2019.
Forgotten velodromes and forgotten cycling champions
VELOMUSEUM is the result of a creative partnership and a sense of initiative and flexibility on behalf of the Archief en Museum voor het Vlaams Verenigingsleven in Brussel (AMVB), Cyclo and Muntpunt. The museum offers you a chance to whirlwind tour throughout one hundred and fifty years of Brussels’ cycling history. In 1869, exactly 150 years ago, Brussels authorities introduced the first cycling regulations.
Inside VELOMUSEUM the visitor gets caught by a rollercoaster of discoveries: collector’s items, cycling fashion, city maps, varied bike models a.o. One gets overwhelmed by the multiple aspects of the wonderful world of Brussels’ cycling ages. Mike Carremans, curator of the exhibition, states: ”The exhibition takes us back to the roots of cycling in Brussels, from the creation of the Véloce Club Bruxellois as the sole and only Brussels and Belgian Cycling Association, all the way to the latest mobility policy measures. Brussels bike factories, the numerous local and national cycling associations in our capital, the part played by the bike in yesterday’s and today’s daily life as well as the highlights of famous Brussels bike races, lost velodromes and cycling champs throughout times will be showcased.”
Flemish Minister for Brussels’ matters Sven Gatz was excited about the opening of the pop-up museum: “The bicycle is becoming an attractive mode of transport again. With investments in cycle lanes and a large network of shared bicycles, the use of the bicycle is being encouraged in a positive way. The opening of Velomuseum.brussels is a perfect occasion to remind us about the long cycling history of Brussels.”
Pascal Smets, Brussels Minister for Public Works and Mobility also joined the peloton: “Velomuseum shows us the rich history of cycling in our capital city. Until the sixties Brussels was a real cycling city. From that moment on residential streets and large trajectories of cycle lanes unfortunately paved the way for highways, tunnels and viaducts. Today we are turning the page again by giving this city back to the people. The amount of cyclists is growing exponentially, more and more bicycle shops are opening, new ‘Made in Brussels’ bicycle brands are popping up and last weekend we welcomed a bicycle fair called Bike Brussels. The future is bright for the bicycle in our city.”
A museum on the move
Major showpieces will be displayed, even a royal bike. But VELOMUSEUM enivsages to be more than simply a museum. At their bicycle repair workshop visitors can test their own skills. In the course of autumn 2018 and spring 2019 VELOMUSEUM will break out to bring the golden age of cycling Brussels to life again by organising guided cycling tours (in cooperation with Cactus and Brukselbinnenstebuiten). These trips will lead along (the remainders of) bike factories, relay pubs, velodromes and so on. By means of interactive maps one can even make its own routes.
Partnerships are the driving force behind the activities reaching further than the exhibition itself. Muntpunt will show documentaries and debates about cycling and VELOMUSEUM. CINEMATEK is going to devote its October and November programs to the bike. Some of the bike mechanics of CyCLO have been welding and screwing lost bike parts together into furniture and sculptures to decorate the museum and its surroundings.