The Freewheeling exhibition at the National Museum of Australia opened to the public last Thursday morning and is a must-see for anyone with any interest in the bicycle in Australia.
The exhibition was opened by Dr Mathew Trinca, the director of the National Museum of Australia, along with Australian Paralympian (and Pedal Power ACT Ambassador) Michael Milton OAM, and Pedal Power ACT Vice-President Gillian Helyar.
Michael Milton noted how many passionate cyclists there are in Canberra, and was happy to see many of them at the opening of Freewheeling.
“Bikes remind us of that feeling of freedom that we experienced as a child,” said Michael.
“I remember riding my bike on my first trip across town, from Woden to Belconnen. As I went out on my own, I felt the feeling of adventure. The spirit of being out on my own, not sure where I was – of course there were no mobile phones in those days.”
“That feeling of adventure is still high on the list for many people throughout their adult lives,” he said.
Freewheeling covers the entire history of bicycles in Australia, from the first bicycles in the 1860s to the form cycling takes in the current day, focusing on how we use it as a form of transport. Mathew Trinca noted that cycling is now a popular way to get around our cities.
“Cycling has really shaped a good deal of Australian life over 140 years,” he said.
“We’ve ridden bicycles to school and work, to visit friends. We’ve pedaled them across the continent. We’ve raced them around the world.”
Gillian Helyar noted how happy she was to be invited to speak on behalf of the not-so-professional bike riders in Australia.
“That’s the particular magic of this exhibition; that most people will relate to at least some of it because most people have independently ridden a bicycle at some time in their life and remember the joy of it,” said Gillian.
Freewheeling explores 140 years of Australia’s cycling history and how bicycles have brought millions of people excitement, freedom and even glory.
Freewheeling will be at the National Museum of Australia until 9 July 2017, and can be viewed 9am – 5pm. Entry is free, donations welcome.
Anne Treasure is the Communications Manager for Pedal Power ACT. She writes on bike riding in the ACT from the perspective of a lapsed bicycle rider who should be cycling more.