Regan Appleton

In a world that deems it fit to stuff and preserve dead pets, this isn't that bizarre.

When a bike finally breaks down after years of good service, what are you going to do with it? Scrap it for parts, toss it into the shed to quietly decompose into rust?

Sure, you could do those things. Or, like a big ol' weirdo, you could chop off its handlebars and mount them on the wall like antlers from a 12-point buck. That's what the U.K.'s Regan Appleton has done with his family's old bicycles, transforming them into works of "taxidermy" that will look down upon generations of pedal-pumping Appletons to come.

Appleton got the idea for preserving decrepit bikes while studying at London's Royal College of Art, where he found himself pining for the chilly outdoor air of the Scottish Highlands. To give his nostalgia a material form, he took his father's mountain and road cycles and lopped off their heads, so to speak, and fixed them to attractive wooden plaques. Below each "kill" he put an engraved epitaph. "The Yorkshire moors shall she forever roam," reads the wistful inscription below a Hetchins Vade Mecum, born 1972, died 1984. For a Specialised G39, which lasted from 1994 to 2012, Appleton wrote: "The highland beast, put out to pasture on London fields."

On his website – motto: "The loving and lasting solution for your mechanical bereavement" – Appleton offers his taxidermy service to the public, selling bleached or burnt wooden plaques with mounts installed and waiting for a fresh two-wheeled trophy. Fitting a consumer culture that values the ultra-local details, the artist says that his stainless-steel epitaph plates are etched by someone in Argyll, Scotland, and the wood is sourced from European oak gathered by a London joiner named "Mick."

Examples of Appleton's memento chrome-mori:

Images courtesy of Regan Appleton at Bicycle Taxidermy.

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. Equity

    The Last Daycares Standing

    In places where most child cares and schools have closed, in-home family daycares that remain open aren’t seeing the demand  — or the support — they expected.

  2. Equity

    We'll Need To Reopen Our Cities. But Not Without Making Changes First.

    We must prepare for a protracted battle with coronavirus. But there are changes we can make now to prepare locked-down cities for what’s next.

  3. An African healthcare worker takes her time washing her hands due to a virus outbreak/.
    Coronavirus

    Why You Should Stop Joking That Black People Are Immune to Coronavirus

    There’s a fatal history behind the claim that African Americans are more resistant to diseases like Covid-19 or yellow fever.

  4. photo: a For Rent sign in a window in San Francisco.
    Coronavirus

    Do Landlords Deserve a Coronavirus Bailout, Too?

    Some renters and homeowners are getting financial assistance during the economic disruption from the coronavirus pandemic. What about landlords?

  5. photo: South Korean soldiers attempt to disinfect the sidewalks of Seoul's Gagnam district in response to the spread of COVID-19.
    Coronavirus

    Pandemics Are Also an Urban Planning Problem

    Will COVID-19 change how cities are designed? Michele Acuto of the Connected Cities Lab talks about density, urbanization and pandemic preparation.  

×