Londoners have become used to their distinctive blue "Boris bikes", but from today, a much more outlandish fleet of two-wheelers will be available. Called WOW Bikes, they have been customised by top creatives and after being used by visitors to a West End hotel for the next 10 weeks, they will be auctioned to raise money for the Elton John Aids Foundation.
The basic bicycles are the work of a London-based, designer, Benedict Radcliffe, who once created a pedal version of a Lamborghini. They have been customised by the designer Ron Arad, singer Paloma Faith, illustrator Natasha Law and fashion designers Patrick Cox and Alice Temperley.
Faith's bike "oozes vintage glamour and music", according to Radcliffe. Piano keys feature on the mudguard, a Fifties radio is set into the handlebars and the whole bike is covered in a feather design. Arad "uses biomorphic shapes created from his favoured medium, steel... reinventing the wheel, quite literally". Cox's bike is "based on an old-school three-wheeled, two wheels at the front Miami ice-cream bike... the fact that there is a big box on the front means things can be hidden in there – a 12-volt battery powering the music system, fluoro lighting and a coffee machine."
The bikes will be based at W London in Leicester Square. The auction will be held at www.facebook.com/wlondonhotel. Bidding from 11 August