A statue of a high-wheel cyclist to be installed in Port Byron, Illinois, was en route before it was sent back to Sparta, Wisconsin, on July 30. Despite Port Byron Mayor Larry Bay’s enthusiasm for the 30-foot-tall bike and rider, someone informed the Canadian Pacific Railroad that the statue was to be erected six feet within he railroad’s 50-foot right-of-way.
The statue, named “Will B. Rollin,” is a replica of the statute “Ben Bikin” in Sparta that identifies that town as “the Bicycling Capital of America.” The Port Byron version is intended to stand along the Great River Trail bike path and across Main Street from the public library.
“The railroad claims a wider right-of-way than we thought,” Bay told the Quad City-Times. “They are saying they have a 50-foot right-of-way, and we were under the impression it was 25 feet. We can’t resolve the legal issue immediately, obviously, so we sent the statue back to Sparta until we can.”
Bay said the cost of the statue, slab and lighting – a gift to the city from he and his wife, Carol – was $60,000.
If an agreement with the railroad can’t be reached or erecting the statue in that location proves too controversial, Bay said he has other plans.
“It will be in Port Byron somewhere,” he said, according to the newspaper. “Even if it ends up as a lawn ornament in my front yard, it’ll be here. I am on Route 84, so it wouldn’t be a total loss. People will still be able to see it.”