Simon Starling was last night awarded the prestigious Turner Prize, pocketing £25 000. Previous winners of the British art prize have included Damien Hirst and Gilbert & George. One of Starling's works is Tabernas Desert Run 2004, an improvised electric/fuel cell bicycle. The fuel cell and electrics were supplied by Glasgow bike shop Kinetics and the secondhand Raleigh bike was supplied for £75 from Common Wheel, also of Glasgow.

Fuel cell bike artist wins Turner Prize

Starling crossed the Tabernas desert in Spain on his electric bicycle. He collected the water emitted by the motor and used it to paint an illustration of a cactus.

"The contrast between the supremely efficient cactus and the contrived efforts of man is both comic and insightful, highlighting the commercial exploitation of natural resources in the region," said a statement from Tate Britain art gallery.

Recumbent and electric bike specialist Ben Cooper of Kinetics, Glasgow, provided the motor, controller and battery, and got it all working together on a 25 inch Raleigh Winner bicycle supplied by Common Wheel.

"The fuel cell can put out over 1kw, but it takes a few seconds to fire up, so it can’t respond instantly to the throttle. Instead, it’s used to recharge a NiMH battery, which then drives the motor," said Cooper.

"That way you get instant acceleration, and the fuel cell can run more efficiently. Kind of like a hybrid car."

Starling was shortlisted for his exhibitions at The Modern Institute, Glasgow and the Fundació Joan Miró, Barcelona.

His other displayed works included a shed which he made into a boat, took on the water, and then made it back into a shed.…/2005…/simonstarling.htm

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