As Stage 2 of the Tour of Britain swept through Ilfracombe in Devon on Monday, it should have been Tour de France champion Geraint Thomas grabbing the headlines; however by the next morning it was a John Thomas that instead caught the attention of passers-by, as it became apparent that a giant celebratory road bike erected on Capstone Hill had been reconstructed into a chopper overnight.
‘Land art’ has become a popular fixture of cycling events in recent years, and this particular piece was commissioned to promote the reduction of plastic waste in Devon, made mostly out of cardboard and reclaimed plastic. While the giant bike had already garnered some attention during stage 2 on Monday, it wasn’t until the land art had become glans art that it went viral on social media. The pranksters responsible had impressively kept the two wheels in place to form the base of their new creation, and after some hard labour managed to fashion the bicycle frame into a colossal shaft.
We build a cardboard bike on the hillside to promote #plasticfreenorthdevon and it gets a bit of attention. Someone turns it into a cock and it goes viral #worldgonemad but hey the vandal has sort of done us a favour! pic.twitter.com/hvglg5Rr21
— Seth Conway (@sethconwaytv) September 4, 2018
Seth Conway, who was the project co-ordinator for the bike before it was crudely sabotaged, told Devon Live: “The bike was designed to highlight the great work of the Plastic Free North Devon organisation in helping to clean our beaches and encourage people to cut out single use plastic as much as possible. It was going to have to be taken down anyway but someone got there first.”
It’s not known who the perpetrators are or what their motive was behind the controversial recommissioning of the bike, but we’d imagine they’ll have to serve a stiff sentence if they’re ever caught by the authorities…
Arriving at road.cc in 2017 via 220 Triathlon Magazine, Jack dipped his toe in most jobs on the site and over at eBikeTips before being named the new editor of road.cc in 2020, much to his surprise. His cycling life began during his students days, when he cobbled together a few hundred quid off the back of a hard winter selling hats (long story) and bought his first road bike - a Trek 1.1 that was quickly relegated to winter steed, before it was sadly pinched a few years later. Creatively replacing it with a Trek 1.2, Jack mostly rides this bike around local cycle paths nowadays, but when he wants to get the racer out and be competitive his preferred events are time trials, sportives, triathlons and pogo sticking - the latter being another long story.