Jens Martin Skibsted, BOS 8 Speed, 2014 Biomega. Courtesy of Museum of Design Atlanta.
BY ELLIE HENSLEY
Midtown’s Museum of Design Atlanta (MODA) is reopening its physical location for the first time since the beginning of the pandemic with a new exhibit highlighting the latest in bicycle design.
“Bike to the Future” includes a variety of 21st century bicycles, in addition to bicycle accessories and groundbreaking examples of bicycle infrastructure. The exhibition also includes bike-related programming presented in collaboration with the museum’s partners, including Dutch Culture USA, Civilized Cycles and the Peachtree Creek Greenway.
MODA’s Executive Director Laura Flusche offered us a glimpse into the exhibit and her thoughts on why now is the perfect time to highlight bicycle infrastructure.
Bikes Make the World Better
Types of bikes on display include cargo bikes, racing bikes, bikes made for extreme agility in urban environments, and concept bikes such as a rideshare electric bike developed by Georgia Tech students.
Bicycle accessories to be featured include a magnetic bicycle light, a bicycle navigation system and an airbag helmet.
Basten Leijh, Sandwichbike 2006-2013. Courtesy of Museum of Design Atlanta.
“Bike to the Future” also examines the best of bicycle infrastructure projects from across the globe, from designs featured at Amsterdam’s 2019-2020 Bicycle Architecture Biennale to Midtown Alliance’s projects for a more connected bicycle and “light individual transport” (LIT) network.
“This is a great exhibit for MODA because it showcases design that makes the world a better place, and that’s what we believe in,” Flusche said. “Design is one of the most powerful tools we have.”
Flusche explained that bikes help make the world a better place because they provide a clean alternate mode of transportation as the world gets more serious about taking on climate change. One of MODA’s larger initiatives is The Climate and Change Project, which calls attention to the dramatic climate changes occurring and the positive impact can have on this issue. In Midtown Atlanta, bicycle trips and demand for more investment in bicycling infrastructure continue to rise. Of the roughly 30 current and planned public improvement projects in Midtown Alliance’s pipeline, more than two-thirds include some form of bike facility enhancement.
Some of the events will feature lectures on biking infrastructure from around the world. Pictured: MELKWEGBRUG, Next Architects, Purmerand, The Netherlands. Photo Courtesy of Museum of Design Atlanta
Pandemic a Catalyst for Changing Attitudes About Cycling
Although the exhibit was originally scheduled to make its debut a bit earlier, now is actually a perfect time for its premiere, she said.
“COVID gave us a pause,” she said. “It got us out of the habit of sitting in our cars on long commutes, and bicycling skyrocketed both for leisure and transportation in the United States and across the world. There’s a renewed interest in cycling, and it gives us an amazing opportunity to rethink urban infrastructure.”
Flusche added that many people fondly associate bicycling with their childhood.
“It’s just cheerful and makes people smile,” she said. “Even if we are not avid bikers, bikes give us good memories of the freedom and happiness of being on a bike as a kid. We’re glad to have an exhibition that reminds us of good times, because we’ve been through some rough stuff lately.”
Lots of virtual programming is taking place in association with the exhibition. On May 15, Crag Calfee of Calfee Design will give a Tireside Chat about the company’s famed racing bike design, and on June 15, there will be a presentation about the Peachtree Creek Greenway. More programming will be added soon, and Flusche said that if it is safe to add some group rides later in the summer, MODA will also add those to the agenda. See upcoming Bike to the Future events here.
Book a Private Visit
The exhibition is open through July 25, and through May 31, MODA will be open only for timed, private visits that are reserved in advance. The museum will evaluate its plans for later months as public health conditions evolve.
Timed tickets include one hour of private gallery time with you and up to nine visitors of your choice. Masks are required, and MODA facilities are thoroughly cleaned between visits. See details and book your visits here.