I was in Newcastle this week, with bike, obviously, researching routes, obviously. I like Newcastle, and the way it makes me feel so over-dressed and under-tattooed.
More about the Toon soon, but first, the Angel of the North (right). Antony Gormley’s iconic statue is three miles or so south of the Tyne bridges, a straight cycle down the A167 Durham Road through Gateshead to Low Fell.
The cycle route is barely adequate – a mishmash of on- and off-road lanes and tracks – so it’s quite a bit better than the rest of Newcastletynesagegateshead or whatever the marketeers call it these days.
There’s a path up to the base of the Angel (right), and a splendid thing it is too. Heavier than you think, good-looking in a lumpy kind of way, and ageing gently in the northern rain, it reminds me a lot of me.
But it’s not my favourite Gormley. At least, not for its bike-interactive possibilities.
I was very fond of the temporary statues – simulacra of the artist himself – that stood naked on and around Waterloo Bridge a few years ago.
We were very excited by their potential use as cycle parking (right).
But the top Gormley statue for cyclists, or non-cyclists, has to be Another Place (right) at Crosby (just off the Trans Pennine Trail).
I think it looks rather better with a bike in hand. It helps me relate to the statue that bit more. Especially as it’s standing in a puddle looking lost.