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Page last updated at 16:23 GMT, Wednesday, 14 July 2010 17:23 UK
Gavin Turk leads a bike ride from Ipswich to Felixstowe
By Tim Dawson
Resident of Ipswich

Gavin Turk in Essex
Gavin (centre) allows a roadside stop somewhere between Jaywick and Harwich

One of Britain's pioneering artists is leading his own bike ride between Ipswich and Felixstowe.

In the 1990s, Gavin Turk was grouped among the 'Young British Artists' alongside Damien Hirst and Tracey Emin.

The ride, called Les Bikes du Bois Rond, starts on Ipswich waterfront and covers the 17 miles to Landguard Fort.

"I am hoping that our bicycle journey of 20 bikes is somehow an artwork in itself," said Gavin, who'll be leading the ride on Saturday 17 July 2010.

Gavin Turk
Gavin Turk might be taking his bikes to Lille later in 2010

I joined Gavin Turk on another of his bike rides in Essex to find out exactly what happens.

We completed a 26 mile ride from Jaywick to Dovercourt on a route devised by the cycling network Sustrans.

We did it on an amazing collection of bicycles from Gavin's London studio.

"I have called the series of 20 bicycles Le Bikes de Bois Rond," said Gavin. "It is a terrible bit of Franglais, but what I have done is borrowed from a Polish/French artist called André Cadere who made a series of staffs [wooden poles] in the 1970s.

"They are basically made from coloured beads and he used to claim that parading around with these staffs was art and that art was something that didn't have to exist in a gallery.

"He was saying that art could be suggested through context and the process of simply carrying something could be an artwork in itself.

"I wanted to extend the idea and make the bicycle an artwork and maybe we could even make the activity of cycling an artwork."

The bike rides are part of the Fleet: Art in the Haven Ports programme being run by Commissions East throughout the summer of 2010.

The Haven Ports are Ipswich, Felixstowe, Harwich International, Harwich Navyard and Mistley.

"Fleet has been designed to encourage people to visit some of the more unusual coastal attractions," said David Wright, director of Commissions East.

"We have commissioned works from well-known contemporary artists, who will bring a new understanding to these historic places."

Gavin Turk's bike ride in Essex
The bicycles reach Dovercourt near the end of the Essex ride

Going green in the name of art

Needless to say, Gavin is a keen cyclist.

"Cycling is becoming a more important means of transport, as everyone becomes aware of the environmental hazards of driving," he said.

"I am the lead artist on the Fleet projects and the bicycles were the perfect way to join all these experiences together.

"There is an element of cycling which, while not anti-social, returns you to yourself.

"Thinking while you are cycling is a bit like reading between the lines when you are reading a book.

"It is obviously possible to cycle for an amount of time, and then suddenly to go ' Oh, I'm cycling!'

"That's because there has been a moment where you have been able to access other parts of your mind."

The Ipswich-Felixstowe bike ride starts from the Old Custom House on Ipswich waterfront at 2pm, but you can also see the bikes on the town's Cornhill 12noon-1.30pm.

People who want to take part in the ride can book their place and an bicycle in advance via Commissions East on 01353 669094.

You can also just turn up on your own machine.

The bike ride coincides with the opening of the Bun Voyagi exhibition, curated by Gavin, at Ipswich's Town Hall Galleries until 28 August 2010.

For more information about other exhibitions and events visit Fleet: Art in the Haven Ports .

Tim Dawson is a keen cyclist who runs the Cycling Books.com website.

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