Circus / coronavirus

The Happy Heart Bike bringing smiles to Bristol’s streets

By lowie trevena, Friday Jun 5, 2020

A circus performer is bringing smiles to Bristol, cycling around the city on his #HappyHeartBike.

Matt Pang converted his unused mountain bike into a moving sculpture and cycling around the city’s streets to bring some happiness to people during lockdown.

A “cross between a kinetic sculpture and a rolling ball sculpture, built onto a bike”, Matt came up with the idea for the #HappyHeartBike one week into lockdown.

“I wanted to use my skills as a performer and maker to put some smiles on faces and provide something for people to look forward to whilst we were all stuck at home,” Matt, who is the artistic director of Bristol-based circus company PanGottic, says.

“The response has been really, really positive – plenty of smiles, and of course some confused expressions! I’ve had lots of messages of appreciation and requests to visit lots of streets. It’s been great!”

Matt, who lives in Hanham, created the bike in his workshop using only recycled materials and scraps that would otherwise be thrown away.

“Over the years I’ve built lots of props and contraptions to use in my shows and in doing so have taught myself to weld and use other engineering techniques to make the things I’ve needed,” he says.

The bike took five weeks to build, and Matt has been cycling routes requested by the public each Sunday.

“The #HappyHeartBike has been created as a response to the Covid-19 pandemic to continue delivering outdoor arts to local communities, putting smiles on faces and providing inspiration during a time of crisis,” Matt explains.

Matt Pang created #HappyHeartBike to bring joy to people during lockdown. Photo: Matt Pang

People across Bristol have been requesting a visit from the performer and, as lockdown has been easing, Matt has been contacted by organisations working with people in residential care, with dementia or who are staying at home, so the 33-year-old plans on bringing smiles to people throughout Bristol for a while yet.

Main photo: Matt Pang

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