Project steels itself to create hand-made bike

Bike Event in Barkers Pool as part of the Grand Depart Tour De France Project.Pictured is Rachel Boyce with her Bike Decoration Workshop
Bike Event in Barkers Pool as part of the Grand Depart Tour De France Project.Pictured is Rachel Boyce with her Bike Decoration Workshop
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Bikes were made beautiful during a Sheffield event organised as part of the countdown to the arrival of the Tour de France.

People brought their bikes to be customised with bright decorations or be given rigorous safety checks by members of the Sheffield Steel Peleton project.

The Barker’s Pool get together in the city centre was the first of seven events and workshops taking place in the weeks leading up to Le Grand Départ in July.

The peleton project is bringing together local artists, film makers and the public to highlight the history of Sheffield’s greatest export – steel.

For the centrepiece of the event, locally-extracted iron ore will be turned into a working hand-built steel bike using the best of the city’s design, craft and engineering skills.

An ambitious experimental archaeology project will look at whether local iron ore can be successfully smelted into iron using a traditional bloomery furnace.

A workshop will later feature a blacksmith working with a forge, hammer and anvil, creating iron and steel tools and other products through traditional methods used over the centuries.

Experts will also craft a specially-designed bicycle head badge to commemorate the arrival of the Tour.

The project will be filmed for a documentary to be screened in public locations later this summer charting the progress of the peleton.

Mark Bull, one of the project co-ordinators, said: “Creating the bike will be a metaphor for the power and history of manufacturing in Sheffield and the wider South Yorkshire area.

“We want the film to reflect that heritage, so if you or anyone you know has a story to tell about manufacturing in Sheffield we’d like to meet you.”

The climax of the initiative will come on Saturday, July 5 – the day before the Tour arrives in Sheffield – when a cavalcade of bikes will be ridden up and down Division Street. It is hoped at least 200 people will take part.

The next peleton event is on Saturday at the Sheffield Adventure Film Festival at the South Street Park amphitheatre near Park Hill flats.