The End point at Roker --- Venerable Bede inspires cycle artwork

Plans were approved for a major new artwork to mark the end of the two main cycle routes in Sunderland, the C2C and the W2W.

Each year around 15,000 people cycle the C2C, a 140-mile coast to coast route from Workington or Whitehaven in Cumbria to Sunderland, with many other cyclists taking on the challenge of cycling the W2W - or Walney to Wear - which stretches between Walney Island, just outside Barrow-in-Furness on Cumbria’s Irish Sea coast to Wearmouth in Sunderland (153 miles) on the North Sea coast.

Many celebrate by dipping their front wheel in the North Sea. There is now a focal point to identify the end point of this popular cycle way, known simply as "C", cyclists completing the routes are now able to record their achievement with an impressive photo opportunity.

Artwork for the end of the C2C and the W2W was created by Liverpool based artist, Andrew Small. The end piece, titled ‘C’ is located on the seafront at Roker, on the Roker promenade near to the Adventure Sunderland activities centre(SatNav :- nearest postcode SR6 0PL). Designed as a large granite monolith, the work frames Roker Lighthouse and places the end of the route firmly in Sunderland. The mirror-polished finish, reflecting surroundings and people nearby, has star constellations etched into the surface. The work was inspired by ideas relating to Bede, Europe’s greatest 8th Century scholar, who calculated the motion of the Sun and the Moon to set the date of Easter, the method which is still in use today.

"C"

Andrew Small explained: “Bede’s ideas about astronomy influenced the thinking early on in the project and then I read a quote by a Swiss Monk, Notker the Stammerer, who lived and worked in the 9th Century. He said that Bede was so influential that God made him ‘…rise from the west as a new sun to illuminate the whole earth’. This forms the theme for the artworks I have created and relates the cycle routes to Wearmouth-Jarrow, home of Bede, and the UK nomination for World Heritage Site status in 2010, as requested in the brief for this project”.

'C' is one of three artworks that was created by Andrew to create a sense of celebration and anticipation as cyclists approach the end of the route.

The first work, named 'Second Sun', greets cyclists as they reach the final leg of their journey under the Wearmouth Bridge.This artwork consists of an aluminium sphere supported on 3 legs featuring animated images of a bubbling and flaring sun taken by NASA from their solar satellite.

"Second Sun"

A series of waymarkers are placed along the final mile of the C2C and W2W, each featuring images of orbiting planets in the solar system and sited at relative distances from the Sun with a countdown to the end of the route. This will create memorable points of interest for cyclists and others - walking or cycling along the riverside.

An Example Waymarker

Landscaping works between Wearmouth Bridge and the beach at Roker are also underway to improve the environment together with the installation of interpretation signs, cycle parking and regular monitoring of the route by a team of voluntary Wearside Sustrans Rangers.