Countless albums are released every year, but few stand the test of time. If there’s one album that became an anthem for a generation of discontented and questioning youth, it’s Nirvana’s Nevermind. The album artwork alone is iconic, but the songs themselves are even more profound. As Cobain sings “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and “Come As You Are”, the intimacy of such emotional warfare speaks to our soul. It’s hard to believe that 30 years has elapsed since the album was released but for Adelaide Hills cyclist and Nirvana fan Peter Stokes, it presented an opportunity to pay homage to the album with a trail of his own.
Stokes recreated the album’s famous cover art – the baby swimming towards a dollar note – with the help of popular fitness-tracking app, Strava. Using GPS, he was able to trace the artwork using the streets of Adelaide as his canvas. The result: a Nirvana tribute artwork of sorts, complete with orange markings set atop green open spaces and raised white to indicate streets and buildings.
How long did such a journey take, you might ask? Stokes completed the entire 150km trek in eight hours, and told ABC that he listened to the Nevermind soundtrack for the duration of the journey. “Definitely it was something I’d thought about a lot and been quite keen to do, to be a tribute to what I think is a really great album,” he said.
“Earlier in the year [I was] going through my old record collection and going, ‘Oh my god, that album’s 30 years old this year’, and just thinking, ‘You know what, that deserves its own little piece’,” said Stokes.
The album was officially released on September 24, 1991 and Stokes timed his tribute to coincide with the 30th anniversary date. He embarked on his tour of Adelaide with a ride that took him from Campbelltown in the north-east to Plympton in the south-west. As for what the toughest part of the ride was, for Stokes it all came down to the face. “The face was really difficult…but it’s good enough,” he said.
“We’ve got so much green space, so many parks which, from my point of view for doing this, are great to be able to cut through and take shortcuts.”
It’s not the first artwork Stokes has done via his cycling log on Strava. Previously, he’s also completed a depiction of composer Ludwig van Beethoven. To do such a thing requires a lot of tight turns and sharp corners, and for Stokes that means waking up early to get out on the road before traffic. Usually he starts such a ride at 3am or 4am, “Then it’s really just having the map on a little screen on a phone on my bike and tracing that route around – and stopping for coffees or at bakeries wherever I need to,” he added.