Coventry & Warwickshire

London 2012: Godiva Awakes Cyclopedia unveiled

A specially built, pedal-powered vehicle has been unveiled as part of Coventry's Olympic celebrations.

The 50-seat Cyclopedia will carry a 10m (33ft) high puppet of Lady Godiva from the city to London.

Funded by the Arts Council, the Godiva Awakes project will represent the West Midlands region at the 2012 Games.

More than 1,000 people have been involved in the project, which is one of 12 commissioned across the country to mark the Cultural Olympiad.

Lady Godiva famously rode naked on horseback through Coventry in protest against high taxes, but the marionette puppet will be clothed.

The puppet's coat will be designed by artists from across the region, led by fashion designer Zandra Rhodes.

A team of 100 cyclists will power the Cyclopedia on its week-long journey from Coventry from 29 July.

The cyclists have been chosen through a public ballot and from cycling clubs across the region.

'Fantastic challenge'

The vehicle has been designed by Coventry-based NP Aerospace and built in Rugby by engineering company Shaw Sheet Metal.

Roger Medwell, from NP Aerospace, described the project as a "fantastic challenge" for the design team.

Image caption The Cyclopedia will take a week to transport the 10m high Godiva puppet from Coventry to London

"I hope the project will prove an inspiration... demonstrating that engineering is behind some of the most innovative designs."

Supported by Coventry City Council, it is claimed that more than 100 jobs in the region have also been created through the project.

Organisers said Godiva was both "rooted in history, but absolutely of 2012", with the manufacturing and artistic skills of the West Midlands celebrated in its creation.

The puppet is due to visit Rugby, Northampton, Milton Keynes, Luton, Hatfield and Waltham Abbey during its journey.

Before she leaves, Godiva will "awake" from a chamber in Coventry in a one-off show on 28 July, which will feature pyrotechnics and more than 2,000 musicians, dancers and carnival performers.

The chamber, containing stained glass, will go on to become a permanent landmark in the city.

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