My First Bike


As a kid I had a dream – I wanted to own my own bicycle.  When I got the bike I must have been the happiest boy in Liverpool, maybe the world.  I lived for that bike.  Most kids left their bike in the backyard at night.  Not me.  I insisted on taking mine indoors, and the first night I even kept it in my bed – John Lennon



book cover of early comic novel by HG Wells


After your first day of cycling, one dream is inevitable.  A memory of motion lingers in the muscles of your legs, and round and round they seem to go.  You ride through Dreamland on wonderful dream bicycles that change and grow – H.G. Wells ‘The Wheels of Chance’





Post it note reads: Buying a bike for your child as a present is just as exciting as getting one yourself



When I was a kid I used to pray every night for a new bicycle. Then I realised the Lord doesn’t work that way, so I stole one and asked Him to forgive me – Emo Philips




The Installation
My First Bike is on the wall of 60 The Old High St, Folkestone.
As the Poet Paradox says elsewhere, ‘First bikes are born at Christmas,’ and people never forget the excitement of that first bike – the unwrapping, the colour, the speed, the freedom. This installation was so tiny & cute, it felt a real pull to leave it alone on the wall!

green painted child's bike on the wall of a building along a narrow road in Folkestone

20 bikes, 1 car space

Apparently you can fit 20 bikes into 1 car parking space. This is a well used statistic, but is it possible? We decided to find out as part of one of our residencies at Cycle Recycle, Margate. But, the more bikes we pulled out from the workshop, the less possible it looked…

The Freedom of Flying


reads:  I don't have to wait for a bus, or a train.  Don't have to worry if there's petrol in the tank, just get on & go!


When the spirits are low, when the day appears dark, when work becomes monotonous, when hope hardly seems worth having, just mount a bicycle and go out for a spin down the road, without thought on anything but the ride you are taking – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle


The Installation
Located high up on a wall above the Number One Community Centre, next to Showfields Library in Tunbridge Wells.  Residents were convinced local kids would have removed them before the end of the night, but they didn’t and this was one of the most viewed pages of the project.

Two green bikes 'sit' at the top of a brick wall

Racing round Kent

‘When you’re racing its like being in the cavalry… you attack people, you’re swinging in & out of corners, you’re climbing, you’re going down through descents, its a real cavalier sport.  A fabulous feeling’



The Installation
Sevenoaks district hosted the Paralympic Road Cycling Events, so it seemed only fitting the installation focused on racing.

A green mountain bike tries to overtake a green racing bike at the top of a brick wall

Stop Thief!


post it note, in child's handwriting, reads:  Once while we were on holiday, one of dad's bikes got stolen.  It was worth £800, the one they didn't steal was £2,500!

Bicycle padlocked with perhaps 100 bike locks

Sculpture by Dustin Sacks in Vancouver


The Installation
Stop Thief! was locked to the  bike rack of Tri the Bike Shop, Windmill St, Gravesend.
An estimated half a million bikes were stolen last year (2011) – including 30 from Tri the Bike Shop – that’s about one a minute.  80% of cyclists have had at least one bike stolen, and 10% four or more.  Stop Thief! features an audio track of interviews highlighting the humour, resignation and impact on cyclists of this two wheeled, crime wave.

Green painted bike wheel locked to another bike

Learning to Fly


It is great when we parents at last see the small feet of a trainee cyclist pedalling at speed and the bike launched into independent orbit.  After weeks of sprinting bent double like Groucho Marx doing a runner, we get our backs back. The downside is that the child seat on the parental bike will be empty from now on.  Those companiable times on the same two wheels have reached the end of the road.
Jonathan Sale, Guardian Sat 7 April 2012


The Installation
On the balcony of Marine Studios, 17 Albert Terrace, Margate.
Two children’s bikes perch on the balcony, facing out to sea, like fledgling birds about to take their first flight.  Many people clearly remember that first magical moment of freedom, pedalling off down the road on first bikes, leaving parents, siblings or friends behind.  A feeling of liberation, ‘almost the closest sensation of flying.’

Two green painted child's bikes perched on a bright red balcony, facing out to sea

The Seven Wonders of Cycling

a symmetrical image of four green bikes, two on each side of the white facade of Budgens in Whitstable High St facing towards the centre

Cycling means Green
And pleasant lands, where shiny happy people hold up their hands
Proclaiming ‘Earth. Air. Fire. Water. We’re your biggest fans!’

Cycling means Speed
Couriers unlock gridlock zip whizzing from A to B to Z
While Olympians, tourers and teens meet a deep genetic need

Cycling means Fitness
Lung bursting, calorie burning, thigh sapping, cardio maxing
figure hugging, good looking, god/goddess on two wheels

Cycling means Adventure
Where do you want to go today? ‘Far far away’
London to Brighton? Torquay to Timbuktu?
Remember to pack your passport, your bike and you

Cycling means Freedom
Bus fare, train fair, petrol costs, road tax, failed your M.O.T.
Wind in your hair, before you know it, you’re there
And it was absolutely free

Cycling means Meditation
In the life of a cyclist, lie the cycles of life and death
Needing eyes in the back of the head,
Completely centred in the now, when all around are seeing red

Cycling means Fun
Mum Dad daughter son
laughing along the lanes of some little hampton
mates having a lark, BMXers in the park
empty road nightriders after dark
all with still spinning wheels and last laughing hearts

by Chris Paradox
developed following a poetry workshop and collaborative session in Margate


And one of the collaborative poems created in that workshop session

The Seven Wonders of Cycling

Feeling the need for speed
Dreaming the feeling of freedom
As Green as the trees
Setting off on an adventure

Skill, power, exhilaration
Racing through to exhaustion
Each ride a Tour de Somewhere
A training for the next Olympics
Four years to accustom to Brazilian heat

And the steep climb to where Christ prevails
Upon the mountain where Mohammed wails
From where Buddhamind hails
Meditation on wheels, the Now of the road
Fully alive, an enlightened load

Look! Look at me
Fun and Fitness, all for free
Faster than walking, a heart pumping journey
Riding around all day, & still plenty of energy

The wondrous turning of the wheel of life
In the central park of paradise
Where friends can meet and ride to their liking
Oh how I love the wonders of cycling

Collaboratively composed by:
Hannah Willis
Nicole Turrell
Liz Mincer
Peter Mincer
David Mincer
Kelly Veasey
David Robert
Karen P
Ray Gibson
Chris Paradox

Here’s a couple of the group poems created during the workshop at Thanet Cycle Recycle in Margate, from which The Seven Wonders of Cycling emerged.

Group poem made in a Margate workshop.  Click image to listen

Click here to listen: I flew out of my flat urgently, And into a south westerly wind


Group poem made in a Margate workshop. Click image to listen

Click here to listen: Flying through the streets, Free as a bird

A bicycle does get you there and more… And there is always the thin edge of danger to keep you alert and comfortably apprehensive.  Dogs become dogs again and snap at your raincoat; potholes become personal.  And getting there is all the fun – Bill Emerson

The Seven Deadly Road Sins


Seven green painted bikes, 'leap' from the top of the boundary fence between Cyclopark and the A2

The Seven Deadly Road Sins

Stationed at number one is Impatience
Cos let’s face it, that’s its statistical status
Crazy cyclists one way, wrong way weaving and racing
Running red lights and sending drivers raging

Straight in at number two is Self Absorption
A deadly narcissism negating driver caution
Blindly opening doors and forcing cyclist into death jaws
Leaning on horns and driving so close coronaries are caused

Three is the magic number of astonishing Myopia
“I’m so sorry, I just didn’t see her”
Short sighted road planners causing cyclists to live in fear
Of giant drains and bike lanes that simply disappear
Just before the kind of gyratory designed to end your cycling career

Stewing at number four is good old fashioned Hate
A bitter and twisted anti-cyclist state
Ugly spittle filled invective on the A138
Or a brand new bike vandalised and left to its fate

Tying its shoelaces together at number five is rank Stupidity
Of course examples of this approach infinity
With frightening cyclist, motorist and pedestrian consistency
But top of the pops is that idiotic idiosyncrasy
Of riding a bike at night with no lights totally obliviously

Hanging around aimlessly at number six is Neglect
You’ve got a racer, mountain bike, hybrid, the full set
But they never leave the shed cos you prefer to drive instead
Politically incorrect you leave your Ridgeback on the station bike rack for weeks on end,
poor little reject

Last but not least Intolerance is the seventh deadly sin
Look at him, cutting in, think they own the road, can’t let em win
But the line between road users is wafer thin
So if we can’t make room for each other…. the outlook’s grim

Chris Paradox


The Installation
The Seven Deadly Road Sins installation on the boundary fence between Cyclopark and the A2.

Seven bikes appear to leap from the fence, but the virtual installation is far from sitting there, examining the deadly sins of both cyclists and motorists.

Seven green painted bikes in a line on top of the boundary fence between Cyclopark and the A2

The Seven Ages of Bike


The Seven Ages of Bike
Small green painted child's bike with stabilisers

Like Jesus, first bikes are born at Christmas, sometimes white
But always bright and shiny bold
A dream come true in a bow of ribboned gold
Tall tales of Santa Claus are told
As tiny trike holds
Our furiously pedalling little soul


small green painted child's bike

Now iddy biddy baby bikes come of age and stabilisers leave the stage
Replaced by the hunched back running daddy phase
With independence the goal
Wobbling like a new born foal
Daddy lets go and gravity takes its toll
But fearless hearts try try again
And now look out little soul is on a roll

And before you know it, it’s flips and kicks and tricks
And yeah you fall and take some licks
But you don’t care cos your new BMX is SICK!Green painted racing bike overlooks Gravesend

Then after years of knees that bleed
You discover a teenage need for speed
You’re a racer
A slim slick slippery trailblazer
See you later, Alligator

Green painted shopper against the sky


But as earth orbits the Sun
Now you’ve given birth to one
And you sprout a bike rack behind your bum
and a basket for the daily shopping run


Green painted mountain bike against the skyInto the sunset you rode like the wind
As you leave behind youth’s fountain
You arrive atop a mountain
And wheels get fat and rugged with stubble
And now you start to look for trouble
For hills n dales n rocks n rubble


green painted adult's trike against an aerial view of GravesendAnd as you pedal through middle age sedately
And gratefully reach the stately age of 80
You ride on three wheels once again
but this time, somewhat more gracefully

Chris Paradox


The Installation
The Seven Ages of Bike was sited on the rooftop of Gravesham Civic Centre.
The seven green painted bikes reference the way that bikes grow alongside their owners and, with the virtual installation, parodies Shakespeare’s famous ‘Seven Ages of Man‘ speech.

Seven green painted bikes fan out on the Civic Centre rooftop.  At one end a child's bike with stabilisers and at the other, an adult trike