ONE WHEELY BIG BIKE: REVOLVING MUSEUM IN FITCHBURG HAS PLANS TO PROMOTE LONGSJO CLASSIC IN A MAMMOTH WAY
By Anna Burgess, email@example.com
FITCHBURG — The upcoming Longsjo Classic bike race is a big deal for the North Central
Massachusetts region, and this year, the Fitchburg Revolving Museum has created a bicycle sculpture as big and impressive as the race itself.
The huge, colorful bike was commissioned by the Longsjo Foundation, created by the Revolving Museum, and paid for by Wyman’s Liquors.
Starting this week, it will be put onto a trailer by local business owner Rick Ruberti and driven around the three cities that will host the Longsjo race — Fitchburg, Leominster and Worcester.
The bike will serve as a promotion for the race, but will also appear at each day of the race itself.
“In some ways, having this bike travel around the three cities is a fabulous way to tie our region together,” said Jerry Beck, the Revolving Museum’s founder and artistic director.
Local Arthur Longsjo Foundation member Donn Ingemie said he approached Beck several months ago about creating something to promote the race.
“We had the idea that we wanted to do something extravagant,” Ingemie said. “Jerry said, ‘Let me think about it,’ and then came back and said, ‘Let’s do a giant bike.’ This year, we’re having a lot of kids races, and Jerry said (his) artworks are all constructed by students in the three cities, and I said that’s perfect.”
Beck’s bike, which was completed Monday evening after four days of work, is an impressive 9 1/2 feet tall and 12 feet long.
It’s made entirely out of recycled bike parts, Beck said, some of which he and his volunteers found on city streets and some of which were donated by Gear Works Cyclery.
The recycled components were welded together with the help of labor and materials from Bri-Co Welding, and then covered with recycled, colored tape. Though the bike can’t actually function, Beck said it “does have some spinning, kinetic pieces to it.”
Beck was assisted with the project by about 25 local students and community members from Fitchburg, Leominster and Worcester.
“They were really great help, very enthusiastic,” he said.
Several Goodrich Academy students created colorful, abstract designs to decorate the bike’s wheel spokes. Three students — Bow L’Ecuyer, Dylan Lydick and Ayana Brodieur — helped Beck on all three days of his bike-construction workshop.
Ingemie said the students’ involvement fits well with the idea of the event.
“Kids’ races have always been a part of it, but this year we’re really pumping it up,” he said.
Local volunteers for the foundation are passing out thousands of fliers to Leominster and Fitchburg students this week, encouraging them to register for the races. There will also be more races for children than in past years, and all children participating will receive medals.
Ingemie said he’s happy with how the bike turned out.
“Jerry did a great job,” he said. “I was blown away when I first went to his driveway and saw the bike.”
Beck, for his part, is excited for the Revolving Museum to be part of the historic Longsjo Classic.
“Using public art as a catalyst to get people creative and inspired is a wonderful way to market the region and to raise the visibility of the race and get young people involved in riding bikes,” Beck said. “It’s fantastic synergy between the race and the Revolving Museum.”