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Benny Gamzo Letova

Free Wheel

Cyclepedia, Iconic Bicycle Design

November 14, 2013 – and March 28, 2014


A bicycle journey through the history of the design world. The exhibition will display multiple pairs of bicycles, from the early years of bicycle design to contemporary ones. A display of original Israeli bicycle design will be featured next to Architect Michael Embacher’s collection.

The bicycle exhibition presents about a hundred bicycles according to four cross-sections: time, content, technology, and of course, design. The exhibition occupies all the Museum’s exhibition spaces and courtyard, and extends to the Mediatheque courtyard. It is accompanied by bicycle events for the whole family: a bicycle film festival at Holon Cinematheque, a bicycle school, an international conference on urban planning and bicycles, and the launching of a unique Design Detectives program.

The exhibition provides visitors with a close look at one of the world’s most unique objects – the bicycle, a personal means of transportation that since its invention has symbolized equal freedom of movement for all. In the past two hundred years since bicycles became established in their present configuration, their structure and operation have remained virtually unchanged – two wheels, a solid frame, handlebars, saddle, and a propulsion system comprising a chain, chain wheels, and pedals. In terms of shape and structure, they are offshoots of the human body, and enable optimal human-powered propulsion. This unique combination leads the tour of the exhibition through the bicycles and cyclists.

Photo: Benny Gamzo Letova

Bicycle – Man – Approach, Experience, Journey

By examining models from different periods it is possible to trace developments in technology, society, and fashion that touch upon the world of the user on the one hand, and the development world on the other. The distinctiveness of the bicycle as a “minimum-maximum” object enables us to observe the vast variety of design details both comparatively and in a wide variety of cross-sections.

43 iconic bicycles from the private collection of Michael Embacher, an Austrian collector who has collected some 275 unique bicycles over the past decade, will be displayed in the Museum’s Upper Gallery. About twenty historical bicycles manufactured in Israel will be displayed in the Lower Gallery alongside historical posters and photographs that have accompanied bicycle and cycling culture in Israel from the 1930s to the present day.

The Collections space will present an expanded historical continuum where visitors will be able to trace the development of bicycles, cycling trends, and cycling fashion from the end of the sixteenth century to the present day. The Design Lab will present the future of bicycles, both from a technological perspective and a new look at the diverse range of future bicycle users.

In this special year, which marks the 100th Tour de France, Europe’s oldest and most prestigious bicycle race, we would like to invite Israel’s extensive and growing cycling community to see old and new bicycles, rare and unique bicycles, folding bicycles, bicycles made from cardboard, and handmade bicycles, and to meet people who dream, write, manufacture, and design bicycles.