The amazing Cyclopaedia comes to Nuneaton

Wheels and legs power the amazing 'beast'
Julie Rand's picture

The amazing Cyclopaedia comes to Nuneaton

On Saturday 5 July, Lady Godiva came to Nuneaton for one day to set off a fantastic celebration: 'Nuneaton Lives'. Anne Taylor of Nuneaton CTC took part in the event.

Those of you who remember the giant Godiva puppet making her way by cycle power from her makers in Coventry to the London Olympics will know what an impressive sight she is. A 6-metre high model with realistic moving parts, she made her stately progress from the Ropewalk shopping centre through the busy Saturday market to the astonished gaze of the crowds. 

At several points on her route, she paused to watch street entertainment by local dance and drama groups enacting scenes from 'Silas Marner' to celebrate Nuneaton’s George Eliot, and to admire artworks inspired by Reginald Stanley, adventurer, pioneer and brickmaker.

Our cycle team, made up of members of CTC's Nuneaton Cycle Club, and Nuneaton Triathlon Club, waited impatiently at their station with the Cyclopaedia for the arrival of Godiva. Fortunately, the meeting place was the Community Café, where they collected commemorative T-shirts and enjoyed numerous cuppas.

Mounting excitement

Those who had not had a briefing earlier in the week were told the rules of Cyclopaedia cycling and, with 'mounting' excitement, they watched as Godiva arrived and was manoeuvered into place onto her 'horse'.

Led off by Nuneaton Harriers carrying an Olympic torch (also made locally), we were off!  It was a great moment – cheered by the crowds we pedalled furiously, rang bells and waved; in no time we arrived at the first stop, the Co-op yard in Abbey Street. As we had an extra rider, John followed behind waving a large banner. Although we were expecting to move at a walking pace, it was much quicker and poor John was gasping on arrival at Abbey Street. Here the cycles were unhitched and turned round for the second ride, while Godiva looked on at more street art and entertainment.

Twenty-five bikes - and no pump!

Local art group Art Alert had opened their pop-up gallery to serve tea and cakes, another welcome diversion as the cyclists waited for the next call. With a couple of changes of riders, the team remounted and were about to set off when one bike was found to have a flat tyre. Twenty-five bikes and no-one had a pump!  Fortunately one of the Desford Pedallers, riding behind on their vintage bikes, came to the rescue and duly inflated, we were ready to go.

Sunshine, ice-creams and live entertainment, what more could you ask?"  
Anne Taylor, Nuneaton CTC

More cheers as we turned onto the ring road, but soon we ground mysteriously to a halt. A quick search revealed that one over-enthusiastic rider had accidentally pressed an emergency stop button!  At least we now knew the system worked. Back on the move, we were soon turning into Riversley Park where crowds were gathered in force to greet Godiva and to see the last event of the day, a drama about Godiva meeting a humming bird, followed by an amazing dance display. 

Will Godiva ride again?

Sunshine, ice-creams and live entertainment, what more could you ask?  Well, another ride on the Cyclopaedia seemed to be the general opinion, and we’re told Godiva may make another trip next year from Stratford Memorial Theatre to The Globe in London, so you never know – we might get another chance.

 

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