One small town’s recycling stunt ends in a massive cock-up

Plastic bike artwork shown on the left, and on the right is the artwork rearranged into a penis
Glen Black

A community group hoped to get Ilfracombe in Devon onto the TV with its plastic recycling stunt. And it did hit the news. But for a very different reason.

Penis joke

Plastic Free North Devon created a large bicycle outline on Capstone Hill on 3 September. It used material collected during beach cleans. And the group intended it to represent the efforts of North Devon communities to reduce single-use plastics.

The hill artists chose a bicycle because on 3 September the Tour of Britain passed through Ilfracombe. Plastic Free North Devon said, “it might even win @tourofbritain land art competition”. And the group hoped television cameras would capture its art piece. But bad weather meant the helicopter missed Capstone Hill.

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However, the artwork hit the headlines later, when it became a giant penis. A prankster rearranged the frame and handlebars into a shaft. The wheels remained as balls.

Tom Harwood, a reporter for right-wing website Guido Fawkesclaimed a former housemate was responsible. The enormous willy was warmly received on social media.

Impact of plastic

According to Devon Live, project coordinator Seth Conway said:

The bike was designed to highlight the great work of the Plastic Free North Devon organisation in helping to clean our beaches and encourage people to cut out single use plastic as much as possible.

And on Facebook, the group used the prank to highlight the effect of plastics on male fertility. It linked to a 4 February Telegraph article about a study into Bisophenol A. This chemical is in household items including till receipts, water bottles and containers. And the study, involving Devon students, showed links to decreased sperm count.

Researchers have discovered plastic pollution in our food and even bottled water. And the University of Hawaii recently showed it contributes directly to climate change.

People have now removed the artwork. It’s unknown if the bike or the penis are in the running for the Tour of Britain competition.

Featured image via YouTube / YouTube.

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Glen Black