A History of the World in 100 Dérailleurs
After nearly 40 years working in bicycle shops, Mike Sweatman has a collection of 1,400 rear dérailleurs. Some are worn and rusty, some are pristine and brand-spanking-new. Some are over 100 years old, some were manufactured yesterday. Some are famous classics, some are obscure models from unexpected places like the Ukraine or Argentina. Some really are rather dull, but many have a surprisingly interesting story to tell.
You can see a fairly random selection on Mike’s pleasantly nerdy, cult, Dérailleurs website.
At this event, Mike will bring along a selection of 100 dérailleurs, and will talk around them.
There will be some history of the development of the dérailleur and its place in the history of the bicycle as a machine. There will also be some history of the activity that is cycling and reflections on the politics and social changes through which we have cycled.
You will make the (virtual) acquaintance of Tullio Campagnolo and Shozaburo Shimano, Fausto Coppi and Eddy Merckx, and, of course, Gary Fisher and his pals on the Repack Road. Strangely, Eric Clapton, Benito Mussolini and Pope John Paul II will also play walk-on roles.
We will salivate over a pre-World-War-I, Le Chemineau dérailleur, a 1930s Le Simplex, a 1950s Campagnolo Gran Sport and a 1960s SunTour Gran Prix. We will gaze in admiration at the very first dérailleurs to carry the famous names ‘Record’, ‘Dura-Ace’ and ‘Deore XT’. Also, we will also examine some considerably less glamorous models that real people used for real cycling.
Most of all, Mike hopes to convince you that these dérailleurs are a rich source of stories. Stories that, over more than a century, tell us something about people’s hopes and fears. As well as tales about their use of, and struggles with, technology, and, preposterous as it may sound, something about the human condition.
Tickets: Adult £11, Concession £9 see below
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