Cyclists are celebrating Wolverhampton’s rich history of manufacturing bikes – and its own cycling champion Hugh Porter – in a new exhibition now on show at Bilston Craft Gallery. Two Tyres champions the design, manufacture and sporting history of cycling in the city as the pastime enjoys a renaissance across the region.
The free exhibition begins with the Penny Farthing and ends with the Sunbeam, highlighting the wealth of bike makers which were active in the city in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Wolverhampton was once a major centre for bicycle manufacturing, with a host of well-known companies including Sunbeam, Vikings Cycles Ltd, Star, Wearwell and Villiers.
These manufacturers were essentially inventors as well as designers. They developed bicycles with extra design features, which helped to progress the ingenuity of cycling technology. Today Wolverhampton is no longer the centre of bicycle manufacturing, but it has revisited its cycling heritage by becoming a global centre for cycle distribution thanks to Wiggle, the online bike shop, which moved to Bilston last year.
Two Tyres also features a racing bike belonging to one of Britain's greatest-ever professional cyclists, four-times world champion Hugh Porter, alongside a selection of his medals. Two Tyres is free and is on show at Bilston Craft Gallery until Saturday 23 July, 2016 – so get on your bike and take a look. Bilston Craft Gallery is open Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10am-4pm, Wednesdays from 10am-7pm, Fridays from 10am-1pm and Saturdays from 11am-4pm.