LAND ART FOR THE TOUR OF BRITAIN BIKE RACE 2022
Spike on a Bike
Tracey (of Keyworth Abundance) began the project after looking on-line at the Tour of Britain. She spotted photos of land art and thought – ah, we could do that! She mentioned it at Saturday Art Club to Jenni of Wild Things Keyworth and me. So I drew a few sketches of bikes and hedgehogs. We thought we could bring together the bike race and advertise the fact that Keyworth is becoming a Hedgehog Village. What a great opportunity.
I went up to Moores Nursery and asked for help. They kindly agreed and I spent days going through their wood pile to see what I could use. It had become apparent that plant pots weren't going to work, but planks of wood might. Then we needed transport and somewhere to try out my ideas. Dave and Ian helped with moving the wood and Paul kindly lent us his large garden.
I started doing the outline of the hedgehog. Our first impression of what he looked like from the air was from an upstairs window. The wood was barely visible on the grass. Jenni noted that white would show up best. That meant we had to paint the 265 pieces of wood. Then a friend with a drone came so we could see it from the air. It became clear that just an outline was going to be fine, he didn't need to be filled in. A stylised hedgehog!
So far that had taken all week and I was shattered!
Next we had to transfer the wood to the playing field and store it before our practise a week before the race. We had to work out where on the field the hedgehog would be. We had to plan the bike and work out the lettering. The three of us walked round with a large measuring tape and rubbed our chins. The field has the cricket strip right where we needed to be. It was decided that the crossbar of the bike and the top of the back wheel would be where the cricket strip was. That might look alright.
Tracey thought that plant pot trays from the garden centre could be used for wheels. She got it sorted brilliantly. Keyworth Show container lent us rolls of bright orange temporary fencing. Perfect for the bike frame. Other parts of the bike were made of coloured plant pot trays and fabric.
We hoped to get the village school children involved but they were still on holiday. We needed another idea for the lettering. Jenni came up with the idea of using towels. We just needed to source about 150 white ones!!
Jenni managed to get enough towels. Any not needing to be returned would go to the local animal rescue shelter.
Before the practise day we felt we needed to lay a bit of the image out to see how it would fit together. We just had one wheel, the cross bar of the bike. I put out the hedgehog legs and we had a practise with the lettering. Rob came with the drone for an aerial view. We were as prepared as we could be for the following morning.
The next morning we were on the field very early. Dog walkers were roped in to help carry wood across the field. Tracey set to laying out the bike. Jenni was working on the writing. It was all quite fraught.
Rob arrived with the drone. We had been there hours and were all tired and worried. Amazingly the first images were great. It was definitely a hedgehog on a bike. He became known as Spike on a Bike. BBC Radio Nottingham came and interviewed us. It was all very exciting. Now we just had to take it all apart and store it for the day of the race.
I don't think I've ever been so tired.
COMING UP TO THE DAY OF THE RACE
Meanwhile we decided that there should be a windmill somewhere on the design. We enlisted Xinhua. Using duvets, towels, bits of bamboo and various bits and bobs from her household the windmill was assembled. It was absolutely brilliant and would bring a splash of colour as well as being the emblem for Keyworth.
THE BIG DAY ARRIVES
For the day of the race the weather forecast had been dreadful. We were exceptionally lucky and it stayed dry for us all morning. We arrived very early and with lots of helpers we were swift putting Spike and the bike together.
The BBC came, looked around and interviewed us. Some school children arrived early and were allowed to become part of the design and were also interviewed. Spectators arrived and lined the streets. We were all ready and were waiting for the race to come past and for the helicopter to go over and hopefully spot us.
The helicopter seemed to hover over us for ages. I layed down, pretending to be a brake on the handlebar and Jenni was in the lettering. The helicopter did spot us and we got a mention. Some people were watching the live coverage and told us we were filmed. The commentator said, “ooh look there’s a hedgehog on an orange bicycle, I like that, very imaginative. I wonder what the wheels are made of?!”.
It was all over in a flash.
We left everything for about an hour while people looked at Spike and we relaxed. Then came the awful bit. We had to dismantle Spike. I couldn’t bring myself to get rid of him so he is now stored. The towels have either been returned or gone on to the animal shelter.
We would have been on tv that night but tragically the Queen died that afternoon. Obviously all attention was turned to that. Happily our interview did finally get aired a week later on the local news. It can be seen at https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/uk-england-nottinghamshire-62839396
MANY THANKS TO THE PEOPLE WHO HELPED US