National Cycling Museum
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|KOERS. Museum van de Wielersport|
|Coordinates||50° 56′ 40″ N, 3° 07′ 37″ E|
KOERS. Museum van de wielersport. (till 2018 the Cycling Museum - WieMu) is a museum in the Belgian city of Roeselare. The museum shows the history of the bicycle and cycling. The museum started officially on 27 March 1998 at ‘Het Polenplein’, in the earlier fire-station.
History[change | change source]
The Cycling Museum was founded in 1985 as part of the earlier Municipal Museum of Roeselare. The city of Roeselare took that decision because the region can be seen as ‘the cradle of the flandriens’. A lot of flandriens and racing cyclists are born in the region. The municipality proper has known a lot of popular racing cyclists for example Odiel Defraeye, the first Belgian winner of the Tour of France and several world-champions: Jean-Pierre Monseré, Benoni Beheyt, Patrick Sercu, Freddy Maertens… In the beginning, the museum only showed a few old bicycles and organised an exhibition in summer.
In 1998, they made the final decision to replace the old folkloristic museum for a real Cycling Museum, the National Cycling Museum. Ferdy Callewaert was the first conservator till he retired in 2006. Old-racing cyclist Freddy Maertens worked from 2000 till 2007 at the museum and he welcomed often the visitors. In 2005 King Albert II visited the museum. In 2010 the museum got the short name ‘WieMu’.
After a renovation, the museum re-opened on 8 September 2018. The new name of the museum is "KOERS. Museum van de wielersport". At the museum, there are also the municipal touristic service and a pub.
Collection[change | change source]
The museum shows the history of bicycles from 1760 till now: all sorts of old bicycles and modern bicycles used for professional duties, leisure and sport. In the beginning, that was the heart of the collection of the cycling museum. After some years, the museum became more and more specialized in cycle-racing. So the museum has a lot of racing-bicycles, cycling-trophies and -souvenirs, cycling-clothes, portraits of racing cyclists etc.
In one of the halls, you find a lot about the local world-champion Jean-Pierre Monseré, who lost his life as world-champion during a race in 1971. Another hall shows an old workshop of bicycle-maker Hallaert where you can learn about the technical evolution of the bicycle.
The cycling museum has a documentationcentre about cycling with a lot of photos, old newspapers and (cycling-)magazines, programme brochures and cycling archives. The museum publishes regular exhibition catalogues or books of exercises. Since 2012 the museum publishes the cycling-historic magazine ‘Etappe’.
Building[change | change source]
The museum ‘WieMu’ is in the earlier fire-station. The station was built between 1899 and 1902. Till 1962 it was a fire-station. During World War I, German soldiers lived in the station. On 21 July 1917, it was bombed by British aircrafts. After the war it was rebuilt. The building was also used for several public services such as a festive hall, a school, sportaccommodation and a folkloristic museum. The building is now a classified monument and partly restored.