There is a large cheetah on a black bike hanging in the window of Studio 408 in Buninyong.
Soon there will be a pink pig riding a green bike with a colourful rooster in a side car set up on the main street.
These are two of more than 20 artistic creations to be installed around Buninyong this week.
The art installations are part of a new effort to engage the Buninyong community with the FedUni Road National Championships.
Annie Ross from Studio 408 is part of a group of retailers who were the driving force behind the community engagement project and has helped create the cheetah installation with the Pinarc Disability Support studio arts program.
We want the community to enjoy the town rather than it just be about the cycling and create a festive feel.Annie Ross, Studio 408
The art installations have been created by community groups and schools including Buninyong Primary School, Ballarat Specialist School, the Pinarc Disability Support arts program and Daylesford Dharma School.
All creations will be set up in shops around town by Friday.
The Buninyong Men’s Shed is also working with Buninyong Primary School pupils to paint 30 upcycled bikes to be displayed around town closer to the Road Nationals January start date.
Ms Ross said the combination of community art projects and a new community festive event featuring a film screening, food and face painting on the Saturday evening of the Road Nationals would broaden the interest in the event beyond cycling.
“If community members are not interested in cycling we don’t want them to leave and go up the coast, we want them to stay here and enjoy what the town has to offer,” she said.
Thousands of cycling enthusiasts pack the streets of Buninyong each year for the Road Nationals.
Speculation had mounted two years ago as to whether Ballarat would continue to host the championship race.
A commitment made last year ensured the race which has been centered around Mount Buninyong for 12 years will continue to call Ballarat home until at least 2020.
Road Nationals events director Justin Lane from managing company GTR said increased community engagement was positive for the future of the event.
“I have worked on this event for five years. In the first year the community was very much against the event. This year it has been great to have the community involved and to try to get the locals back into town for it,” he said.
The Road Nationals five day program is set to begin on January 4.