Pedal power

Great to know the Tour of Britain cycle race is passing through Bath in September and it solves the mystery – l am led to believe – of why there are individual bikes hanging on the facades of some of our city’s most iconic architectural urban spaces.

The bike on the north side of Queen Square – and on the exterior of the house architect John Wood once lived in!

As a Mayor’s Guide, l spotted the first one after bringing my group of eager-to-learn-about-this-World-Heritage-city tourists up into Queen Square.

They pointed out the one hanging in front of  the grand north side – a marvellous Georgian structure – once described  by architectural guides historian Sir Nicholas Pevsner as ‘one of the finest Palladian compositions in England designed before 1730’.


I spotted the next one – roped to the parapet in The Circus.

While l share the city’s excitement – and its involvement in a major sporting event – l can’t help but wonder if this is the best way of showing off some of our most iconic spaces to some of the four million plus people who visit us every year.

A bit of Tour of Britain cycle race advertising in The Circus.

My little group were lost for words as to how we could so nonchalantly use the fabric of two John Wood masterpieces in this way.

It’s also a ‘novelty’ form of advertising that is wasted on them as they are just passing through.

You expect to see an inventive display of cycle power in the Southgate Shopping Centre – and it is well done too!

Commerce attracts and expects such innovative installations. It draws the crowds to fuel business – but surely the architectural showpieces that people come to see, promote themselves by shape, form and decoration and are made less by such temporary adornments. It’s a way of scarring their stone faces and this is a ‘rash’ that may spread?

I never thought l would say l prefer street stencils. What do others think?