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A group of pedal-powered artists are set to dazzle audiences with their skills on two wheels at this year’s Mintfest.Bikes are riding the crest of popularity at the moment, but not many people think of cycling as an art, as well as a sport.
Local project Biked Up does just that. Not only is it a stunt-bike-dance for young talent, it also relies on the audience to pedal a hand-built eight- bike generator to create the sound.
an Shorrock of Lakes Alive, organisers of Mintfest, said: “This is a very exciting and interesting project that has engaged young people who have come together to work on lots of different aspects of the show. Its great to have a community-led show and we hope lots of people come to watch their performance at this year’s Mintfest.”
Biked Up is the brainchild of Creative Transition, a sub-group of South Lakes Action on Climate Change. It’s the first time that young people have been involved in running a Transition project, which is about trying to live more sustainably. It’s success has depended on working with lots of partners across the South Lakes - including professional artists and the dance team from the Brewery Arts Centre.
They are running workshops through August to make a recycled set and costumes as well as choreographing the dance.
Bronny Salter has just finished at Dallam School and she’s taking a year off before applying to do animation at college next year. She’s particularly inspired by Mintfest.
“It’s the sort of thing you’d expect in Edinburgh, not Kendal,” she said.
Jools Hirons is another of the young producers. He’s involved because he’s a passionate mountain biker, but also a drummer. Jools lives in Holme, and comes into Kendal by bus for meetings.
He said: “I’m performing, but I also want to create some of the music for the piece. The rehearsals last for a week though, so we can experiment with that a bit.”
Local cyclists Chris Buxton and Nigel Wadsworth have been engineering and building the bike-generator. Though there are a few round the country, none of them were quite up to the standards they wanted. Other bike-generators rely on the audience pedalling carefully, because the extreme bursts of power from pedalling risk blowing the system. As a renewable energy technologist though, Nigel was able to engineer a system that ‘smooths’ the power, making it audience-proof. The model, which is sponsored by Baywind and Exa Networks so far, is already planned to be reproduced by Queen Katherine School’s technology department.
Young Cumbria, through Kendal Lads and Girls Club have made a great link between the project and local bmx-ers, who they’ve been working with on the skatepark which is opening this summer. Lads from the club been joined by Luke Clarke and Lee Clark who were approached for the project whilst they were doing tricks on the street. They show perfectly the commitment, skill and physical prowess that stunt-biking can demonstrate.
Biked Up is also a first for Mintfest. The community hasn’t created a show for the festival before.
Kendal’s mayor John Willshaw says: “Biked Up is a really exciting, enterprising project. It’s a great way to get across messages about sustainability and fitness – all the while giving young people a chance to develop and show off their skills.”
After the show the group plan to use the bike-generator for events and festivals around Kendal with a first provisional booking to power Kendal’s Christmas tree lights. People who want to use the bike generator and make the most of this rich creative talent should get in touch by calling Mandy Barnett on 07706 384275.