Tour of Britain bike art turned into giant hillside penis

Last year's fans in Nottinghamshire created a giant bicycle made of sheep. In Devon, they opted for a giant phallus

Image: Cal J Stephenson

A giant bicycle designed to celebrate the Tour of Britain has been transformed into an even more disproportionately sized hillside penis, after tricksters tampered with the design.

The structure, adorning Capstone Hill in Devon and made from cardboard and reclaimed plastic, was altered overnight and revealed amid the glory of Tuesday morning.

The artwork in Ilfracombe celebrated stage two, which ran from Cranbrook to Barnstaple.

Creating massive bikes to liven up TV footage and stir some excitement amongst crowds has long been a part of bicycle races.

Last year, fans in Coddington, Nottinghamshire went to huge efforts to create a dynamic bicycle made of sheep  - but for this year's race it seems the temptation to lower the tone was just too great.

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Pranksters repurposed the creation with expertise, leaving the wheels in place and having their way with the frame of the bicycle.

The original artwork was created to draw attention to the work of  Plastic Free North Devon.

Seth Conway, project co-ordinator, saw the funny side, and told Devon Live: "They've shown some creativity but it'll be the bike that's remembered."

He added: "[It] was designed to highlight the great work of the Plastic Free North Devon organisation in helping to clean our beaches and encourage people to cut out single use plastic as much as possible. It was going to have been taken down today anyway but someone got there first."

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The Southern coastal areas have form already with giant phallic depictions - the Cerne Abbas Giant has adorned the hill overlooking Cerne Abbas village in Dorset from as far back as the 17th century.

The 180 ft high nude male has long been standing to attention in more ways than one and local folklore associates the friendly giant with fertility.

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Michelle Arthurs-Brennan

Michelle Arthurs-Brennan is a traditional journalist by trade, having begun her career working for a local newspaper, where highlights included interviewing a very irate Freddie Star (and an even more irate theatre owner), as well as 'the one about the stolen chickens'.

Previous to joining the Cycling Weekly team, Michelle was Editor at Total Women's Cycling. She joined CW as an 'SEO Analyst', but couldn't keep her nose out of journalism and in the spreadsheets, eventually taking on the role of Tech Editor before her latest appointment as Digital Editor. 

Michelle is a road racer who also enjoys track riding and the occasional time trial, though dabbles in off-road riding too (either on a mountain bike, or a 'gravel bike'). She is passionate about supporting grassroots women's racing and founded the women's road race team 1904rt.

Michelle is on maternity leave from July 8 2022, until April 2023.