the rainbow, by John Burfitt - 1st February 2007
Sydney Star Observer)
The Sydney Mody Art Bike Ride weaves a human rainbow
through the streets of Sydney of Eastern Sydney for
is a sight Jake Lloyd-Jones will never forget. After
spending months organising the first Body Art Ride
in 2005, he often wondered whether his efforts would
lead to anything.
on that inaugural ride, as the pack of 250 brightly
painted cyclists finally took off from the University
of NSW and headed for South Maroubra Beach, Jake paused
as he reached the crest of a hill to look at the sight
when the tears began to flow.
always remember getting to the top of that hill, looking
back and seeing these hundreds of painted people coming
up behind me. Thats when I just cried,
was the most amazing sight and there is something
quite magic about it quite unreal actually.
It had all paid off and come together. I also think
there might have been some nervous exhaustion in there,
but I was glad it had begun.
who is a producer on the satirical ABC TV series The
Chaser, said the idea for the ride first came to him
when he was previously working on The7.30 Report.
calls himself a cycling advocate and recalls
the day, during a production meeting on the current
affairs program, he suggested painting a group of
cyclists and then letting them ride down to the beach
as part of a story.
was joking, but they liked the idea and it seemed
to take off, he says. I then also looked
at it as an experiment to see if one person with the
internet and some media contacts could make it all
Sydney Body Art Ride has now become one of the biggest
annual cycling days in the city, and one of the most
colourful events on the Mardi Gras calendar.
years ride attracted 360 riders and raised over
$11,000 for childrens cancer research.
either turn up in outfits in the colours of the rainbow,
or have their bodies coloured by a team of painters.
Riders are then separated into various colour groups
before the pack takes off in rainbow formation.
is a bit like a religious procession for secular people,
as its like the tradition of taking the idol
down to the water, Jake says. For us,
we are taking our rainbow down to the water and then
we wash it in the ocean.
rainbow represents everything people love unity,
diversity and hope. It is all about humanity, and
the fact it is for sick children is part of the open-hearted
compassion. That becomes the symbolism of the art
straight man and the father of two young girls, Jake
adds it has always been important for him that the
Body Art Ride be included in the Mardi Gras season.
Gras is one of the things that makes me proud of Sydney.
Whenever I go to Mardi Gras, I have a huge swelling
heart about what a wonderful city we have.
also hate prejudice and bigots and, anything that
upsets them, I will do. That is half the reason we
do the Sydney Body Art Ride to upset the wowsers
on their way to church on a Sunday morning. But it
is also quite a magic sight.
Body Art Ride is on Sunday 11 February at 10am, assembling
at the Physics Lawn of the UNSW. Details at www.sydneybodyartride.org
Sydney Body Art Bike Ride