The day before NYE, we met at the Waygood Harkers Building to sort out bikes and riders. Sadly, one of them was out because of sickness. It was two late to source another bike and find another rider, so our team became five.
It was major trouble shooting mode, a few of the spokepovs didn’t work as well as expected (dim LEDs or no communication-maybe due to the soldering being put under stress when the boards were installed), so we needed to swap them out. Installing spokepovs can be quite arduous, threading the units inside the spokes and securing them. In order to get good sensor readings, gaffa tape, washers, bolts and nuts were used. A great learning process, and next time it will be much easier.
The day of the glowmobiles we met at the Waygood-Harker building for some final adjustments. We had five riders, Pete, Alan, Topsy, Andy and I.
Topsy prepared a warming curry while Pete and I made sure the spoke povs were attached securely and working.
We were due to arrive at Saltwell Park, Gateshead by 3pm, and so set off at a pace (set by the speedy Andy!). We got there just in time to see the art cars leaving, met the crew from Walk the Plank and received our instructions to proceed to the Baltic. We made our way down there and met a few other people with the art cars, and also Stella, who commissioned us.
There was a tv crew down from Tyneside TV, and they got some footage of us going round and round on the Baltic square (while we were doing this some conscientious person threw out our teas and coffees!). It was nice to see the bike culture is still alive with the children; we also had some young kids chasing us on foot.
It was then off to the Center for Life, where we were on with the Brain Car from the Netherlands. This car is amazing; we saw it play a little bit before we needed to depart for the staging area near Greys Monument.
Here we met the lovely Illuminated Men on Bikes, and felt a little inadequate because our devices only work when we are moving, and moving fairly fast. They had amazing suits with embedded led lighting that looked good whether or not they moved. It’s a thought for next time, a bit more attention on the performance side…..still I think we were entertaining, and compared to the slow moving cars, dynamic. We were behind the milk car converted to play techno music on milk bottles (Tone Float). It was using a sequencer that activated pistons that hit the seventy or so bottles arranges around the back of the three wheeled vehicle. The other floats were cool too, particularly the angels on segways..but we didn’t get such a chance to see the others as we were working.
We got a bit of a chance to ride fast on the parade route at the end, just before the fireworks. There is something to be said for the freedom of riding, and feeling of community when riding in groups. We plan to take some spokepovs down to the next critical mass.