Ferrum College Assistant Professor of Art Jacob “Jake” Smith participated in a ribbon cutting ceremony hosted by Roanoke Parks and Recreation, welcoming his new giant bike statues at the entrance to Mill Mountain Park in Roanoke, VA on April 22. The Big Ol’ Bikes were permanently fixed at this location on April 9.
The idea for the giant bikes was hatched by Patrick Boas, recreation manager for Roanoke Parks and Recreation. He found sponsors to fund the project and teamed up with Smith to create the bikes. Although similar in their vast size, each bike is a bit different: one is geared to trail enthusiasts; the other, to road-bikers vying for the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Smith worked on the project for nearly a year, beginning construction in May 2018. He enlisted the help of his fiancée, along with others, particularly for the construction of the tires. “This was a complex procedure that required placing flexible tubing around the rims and using fiberglass to coat them,” explained Smith. “During this process I relied on a lot of people who helped out grinding, sanding, and painting. It took longer to do this than it took to weld together the structure.”
In addition to the Big Ol’ Bikes, Smith has worked on other massive-scale projects: a 60-foot-tall bowling bin located in Fredericksburg, VA; a 16-foot-long fish for a Maryland pier; faux concrete panels for a concentration camp exhibit at the Holocaust Museum and Education Center in Skokie, IL; a circus themed children’s exhibit about human parasites; and a six-foot-tall medal of honor for the Pentagon’s Hall of Heroes.
Read more about the April 22 ribbon cutting ceremony on the Roanoke Parks and Recreation website: https://www.playroanoke.com/new-bike-statues-at-home-on-mill-mountain/.
Learn more about Ferrum College’s art department here: https://www.ferrum.edu/artsandhumanities/school-of-arts-and-humanities/art/.