Guest post from Meg McHugh, Curator of Industrial Heritage at MOSI
Most of the world is aware of the phenomenal success of the British Cycling team, quite a few people have heard that Manchester is the home of British Cycling, but how many people know that Manchester’s cycling heritage has its roots in the very earliest days of the sport?
Pedal Power: Track Cycling in Manchester is a new exhibition at the Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI) in Manchester. Opening on 19 July, it celebrates the city’s love of cycling through the ages. Hidden gems from the Museum’s collection include an 1868 ‘boneshaker’ made in Salford and an 1885 ‘penny-farthing’ made in Manchester. Bikes like these were raced by young Victorian daredevils on makeshift grass tracks around the city.
Today, Manchester’s cyclists have the benefit of the National Cycling Centre on their doorstep. This year sees the twentieth anniversary of the velodrome, which has also become known as the ‘gold medal factory.’ The UK’s first Olympic-standard indoor track has played host to countless international competitions, including the 2002 Commonwealth Games. Pedal Power captures the atmosphere of the world’s busiest velodrome, exploring its unique community which comprises everyone from beginners to Olympic champions.
The history of cycling in Manchester is littered with legendary names and quirky characters. Visitors will be able to find out more about the personalities who pedalled their way to stardom. From Reg Harris, who won two Olympic silver medals just weeks after breaking two vertebrae, to Dame Sarah Storey who has won 11 Paralympic gold medals in two different sports.
With all the excitement of the Tour de France and the Glasgow Commonwealth Games, families can pop into Pedal Power to find even more inspiration to get involved in a summer of sport.
For more information go to http://www.visitmanchester.com/articles/whats-on/pedal-power/