On Monday, April 22, Roanoke Parks and Recreation hosted a ribbon cutting for the new bike statues, Big Ol’ Bikes, on top of Mill Mountain. The ceremony was held at the Mill Mountain spur where the road turns to head up to Mill Mountain Park to celebrate the addition of new artwork in one of the City’s parks.
Patrick Boas, the Recreation Manager for the department, first got the idea for these pieces while reading Outside Magazine. “There was an ad with a cyclist standing on a gigantic bicycle with another large bike in the background. I have no clue where those bicycles are located but thought it would be fantastic to have a pair here in Roanoke on Mill Mountain.” Boas worked with local artists to generate an estimate and reached out to potential sponsors to secure funding for the project. He then teamed up with artist Jacob Smith, a fellow outdoor enthusiast, to create the structures. They wanted to cater to both cycling crowds in Roanoke, so they designed two bike statues — one mountain bike representing the trail enthusiasts and another representing the road-biking warriors heading out towards the Blue Ridge Parkway.
On April 9, the statues were transported to their new home on top of Mill Mountain, just in time for the Blue Ridge Marathon. “It is with great joy that I am able to see the bikes move to their home on Mill Mountain,” Boas said.
These bikes, however, are not meant to be ridden. They are not built to withstand the weight of a person, so the department asks that people refrain from climbing on them. “We’re glad people love them, but we ask that you don’t love them to death,” Boas said.
And one of the best parts about the ceremony? The vast majority of attendees rode their bikes!