Today's lunchtime BBC Radio 4 Celebrating Speed programme is a delightful compedium of bicycle evelopment in the 1890s leading to Charie “Mile-a-Minute” Murphy's achievement. From the BBC website:
Sir Ian Blatchford and Dr Tilly Blyth continue their series exploring how art and science have inspired each other. They focus on responses to a new love of personalised transport and the thrilling exhilaration of speed brought about by the humble bicycle.
As Tilly reveals, the exquisite yet simple design of John Kemp Starley’s Rover Safety Bicycle ushered in the 1890s Golden Age of Bicycles – an affordable means of social mobility for all. For a new movement of Avant Garde artists – the Futurists – the energy and velocity of the humble bicycle came to symbolise Italy’s rapidly changing industrial, emotional and moral landscape.
Ian visits London's Estorick Collection of Modern Italian Art to examine Umberto Boccioni’s Dynamism of a Cyclist, in which man and machine appear almost as one. The bicycle became star propaganda for the Futurists, whose manifesto set out to challenge traditional society and instil a new disruptive order amidst a future based on technological advance, new freedoms and the ever accelerating pace of modern life.
Catch up and listen to it again (14 mins) here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0008y8g