10 May 2010

Trunk route: Collect elephants on a jumbo bike tour

Any excuse for a ride around London... 250 life-size baby plastic painted elephants have been placed around the city, each painted individually by various artists. A fine bike tour in the making.

They're on display until until mid-June, and are there to raise awareness and money for conservation projects aiming to save the animal from extinction.

After all, its natural space is being eroded, it's under constant attack, and though it seems to be thriving in some areas, overall its numbers are struggling. As cyclists we know the feeling.

Many are round City Hall, Green Park, Trafalgar Square and the Eye, with a few adventurous individuals out at Heathrow Terminal 5, the Museum of London in Docklands, St Pancras, and of course the Elephant and Castle (where many of them were painted).

One of our favourites is this one (right) at City Hall. Peer inside through its portholes, and you see a plastic melange of London architecture, roamed by more elephants.

There's a map and location list at elephantparadelondon.org. Collecting the set would make a set of bike trips you'd never forget.

They'll be herded together at the Royal Hospital grounds, Chelsea from 24 June to 4 July. On 3 July they'll be auctioned off, so you can have your very own elephant in the room.


  1. So the implication is .. bicyclists endanger elephants due to their propensity for being eaten by trucks unfettered by underrum barriers at the Elephant and Castle roundabout?
    Surely London has misplaced its priorities in this propoganda piece.

  2. Totally by chance this morning, a pink elephant in Canada - http://www.cyclestreets.net/location/22619/

  3. Whilst these elephants do like kind of fun and funky, it's worth bearing in mind the anti-cycling attitude of the man behind them (who also happens to be Camilla Parker-Bowles's brother).

    This quotation from a recent ES article:

    Each elephant has required a separate lengthy planning permission, while Shand himself has squabbled with the Mayor's office over some of London's most desirable pavement locations. “Boris wants bloody bicycle racks everywhere! We want elephants. Elephants are much nicer.”



  4. @Owen - thanks for pointing that out. Given the problems the London Bike Hire scheme has had in getting planning permission for some of its sites, perhaps this suggests a way to get them through: paint the docking stations in bright colours and add a few plastic infant megafauna...