06 August 2010

A draw for cyclists: Poster exhibition at LT museum

There's an nice exhibition of illustrations promoting cycling in London at the Transport Museum in Covent Garden until 22 August. (The museum is ten quid to get in, with children free, so this exhibition could be the excuse you need to go.)

It shows the best entries from a competition run with the Association of Illustrators. As always with these things, much of the fun comes from disagreeing with the judges' decisions, because the ones you like are clearly much better.

Many of the entries go for the kaleidoscopic, with a bold collage of cycling-is-eco-fun images. Galia Bernstein's Go Green, for example (right), the image used to publicise the exhibition; although curiously it doesn't contain any green.

Ms Bernstein may be making a point, or perhaps she just liked the Barclayesque, turquoise feeling to the city milieu.

Mia Nilsson's third-prize entry (right) goes for a similar approach, perhaps inspired by the trunk-route and branch-line network of the Cycle Superhighways. Or perhaps not.

The first prize went to Rachel Lillie's Good for you Green for London (right), though there were several others that caught my eye.

I was rather taken with the 1960s-kids'-book humour of Mithila Shafiq's Going to Horse Guard Parade [sic], with a soldier giving his horse a lift on a tandem; like the London Bike Hire Scheme, I'm not sure that the promotion of equestrian bike-sharing will significantly increase the capital's modal share of cycle journeys, but it makes me happy.

I liked the sideways humour of Marco Viale's Bikali, with the eight-armed Indian deity astride a bike. Yes, you often need eight arms in London: two to hold the handlebars, two to signal, two to hold the coffee and bacon roll, and two for gesticulating to drivers.

The illustration I'd most want on my bedroom wall is Charis Tsang's Taking in the View (detail, below right), a skyline panorama from Primrose Hill in sunny, relaxing 1930s poster style that promotes the space and freedom of cycling through subtlety rather than thumping a biodegradable tub.

The funniest one is Jamie Wieck's The Joy of Cycling, a risqué parody of the 1970s book The Joy of Sex. Typefaces and line drawings are authentic, even down to that bloke's period thicket of a beard, and the bike puns are almost laugh-out-loud. (I'll even celebrate his comedically straight-faced instructions to you to 'always use protection' and 'practise safe cycling' and wear a helmet.)

Plenty to enjoy, and they've got a Hire Bike on display too. For those going there by the real thing, there's a docking station right outside the south exit on Tavistock St, and another in Wellington St, possibly forming London's closest pair.

And hooray for the Museum: the find-us section on their website prominently features directions on how to get there by bike.


  1. ...and I see their cycle route instructions link to cyclestreets.net (a project originating from Cambridge Cycling Campaign) rather than TfL's own cycle journey planner

  2. Last time I was in that part of Covent Garden there was no cycle parking at the museum and all it's railings were covered in anti cycling messages.

    Theres been a pressing need for more bike racks in the area for years as the racks near(ish) on Southampton Street have been full to over-capacity for ages.