Coventry & Warwickshire

Olympics 2012: Cyclist follows Coventry's Godiva Awakes

Godiva Awakes bike team with the 'Cyclopedia'. Photo: Andy Moore
Image caption The rig needs to be powered by 25 cyclists

Godiva Awakes is an Olympic artwork, which will travel from Coventry to London in time for the Opening Ceremony in 2012.

It will be a 30ft (10m) model of Lady Godiva, propelled by 50 cyclists. One of them will be me!

The team of 100 (cycling in shifts) had our first training session in January. In many ways, it was an eye opener.

Follow my journey as I eventually cycle down from Coventry to London as part of this unique art work.

Blog entry April 2011

Training day two and I'm happy to report I feel a bit fitter at the end of it. Maybe the horrid spinning classes have been toned down as well.

The big news was getting to ride on Godiva's 'rig' for the first time.

They've now linked the tricycles together, three across, five back, behind the large aluminium frame where Godiva herself will eventually sit.

Image caption The rig will be led by one of the engineer designers

The final structure will be able to accommodate 25 cyclists at once, so we'll split into four teams, cycling for half a day at a time.

To ride, the Cyclopedia is rather different from your average bike. The handlebars are rigid and leaning has absolutely no effect!

The only person who can steer, or brake, is the 'lead cyclist' who'll be on a solitary tricycle in front of Godiva. I had a go at leading and it's scary how much power that little trike wields. One small wobble and the entire structure follows.

The route has also been confirmed. Over the course of seven days, we'll travel from Godiva's House at University Square in Coventry to the Olympic Borough of Waltham Forest.

On the way, we'll stop at:

  • Rugby
  • Northampton
  • Milton Keynes
  • Luton
  • Hatfield
  • Waltham Abbey

There's still a slight question mark over Godiva's final destination with the basic plan being to get as close to the Olympic Stadium as 25 cyclists and an oversized puppet can!

Talking of Lady G, she'll be fully animated, with a team of puppeteers manipulating her head and limbs. She'll be dressed in an amazing cloak, incorporating the West Midlands' industrial heritage with undergarments designed by the fabulous Zandra Rhodes.

All in all, I'm clued up, encouraged and impressed, as always, by the friendliness and relaxed style of my wonderful cycling buddies! I'm looking forward to lots of lovely training rides over the summer.

Blog entry January 2011

Image caption Rosie King (second from left) with the team

We now know a bit more about what the finished 'Cyclopedia' will look like.

The engineers have got their hands on the design, and it's changed a bit since the artist's original concept.

They've been experimenting with hitching up a line of Pashley tricycles to a square cart-like structure, which Godiva will sit on as she rides to London.

It's amazingly clever. When we approach a bridge, Godiva and her horse will be able to sink into the cart's base, to reduce her height. It now looks like the cyclists will sit in connected lines before and after the horse, and not elevated as they originally thought.

We had a lot of laughs cycling our linked trikes around the track at the Ricoh, although there's a bit of work still to be done on our steering skills!

The other thing that became clear is how much work I still have to do before the Olympics. I tend to think of myself as pretty fit, but training alongside semi-pro triathletes, and people who cycle for a living, put me properly in my place! Luckily, there are still 18 months for me to get into shape.

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