Is your bike hip enough for these bike racks?
Because today's bike racks can be quite hip.
A bike rack used to be a pretty simple thing: a rack, for bikes. Like this one ...
Today? They can be works of art. (As well as racks, for bikes.)
Check out the bike racks at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center in Nashville, Tenn., for instance. They are in the form of musical notes.
Nashville Bike Rack
In Salt Lake City, at a public library, the bike rack is spelled out as in: b i k e r a c k …
Locally, we're pedaling too. In Pacific Beach there are bike racks in the shape of surf boards. Fitting, yes, but so would bike racks shaped as beer bottles.
In Balboa Park, bike racks look like old-fashioned bikes.
Balboa Park Bike Rack
San Diego is in the process of installing bike racks in the downtown area. They are sleek, stainless steel semi-circles. Personally, we wonder why they aren't modeled after condominium towers ...
Circles Bike Rack
Coronado recently installed new bike racks that are pretty cool-looking too. But if they looked like aircraft carriers or destroyers, they'd be even cooler.
Coronado Bike Rack
So what's with this trend?
Well, biking is getting more popular and more bike racks are needed. But the old ones didn't exactly have much wow factor. That's changed. Many bike racks are in trendy urban environments, and so they got to be trendy too.
“Biking is art,” said Andy Hanshaw, executive director of the San Diego County Bicycle Coalition. “And we all need secure places to lock up.”
Yeah, but what's worth more? The bikes? Or the bike racks?
In 2010, in Roanoke, Va., a contest was held by city's arts commission for the most creative bike rack design. A bike rack shaped as a comb — yes, a comb — won. It weighs 400 pounds. It was hand-crafted. The bike rack was designed by Knowhow Shop, a fabrication laboratory and design studio in Los Angeles.
Comb Bike Rack
It also makes Knot Bike Racks. It explains the bike rack this way: “Knot Bike Racks make use of a standard 'wave rack' and completely custom cast knots creating an object that is fully functional as bike locking infrastructure, but also references the diversity of knots and their culture, as well as the potential for multiple readings of common objects and materials.”
See. This is deep stuff. If only Andy Warhol were still alive … and a cyclist.
For instance, here are bike racks shaped like parts of a bike chain. They are at the Geffen Contemporary Museum in Los Angeles.
Chain Bike Rack
But some racks are so, well, artistic, it's hard to tell they're bike racks. Check out this one, also in Los Angeles. Yes, that's a bike rack. Leave it to L.A.
Something Bike Rack
Some promote businesses. Take this one in front of an eye-doctor's office in New Orleans. The owner could have also gone the E D F C Z P (um, eye chart) route, as well.
Glasses Bike Rack
Last year, the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia and the City of Philadelphia Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy held a contest for bike rack designs and got 150 designs from 83 individuals and teams, from 21 states. Entries even came from the Netherlands and Poland.
Apparently, even in Poland, this is a trend. Here's a bike rack from that nation.
Orange Bike Rack
Obviously, a lot of people get inspired when it comes to bike racks. But the organizers in Philadelphia were not surprised by the response.
“I feel there is a large overlap in mentality between designers and artists, and people who value the importance of urban bicycling,” said Nicholas Mirra, communications manager for the bike coalition. “It seems like a project that many designers would be naturally inclined to tackle.”
One of the finalists was called “Bike Park” and looks like blades of grass sprouting from the sidewalk. Another finalist was a collection of weather related bike racks. One, for instance, is a partly sunny bike rack, in the shape of a cloud with a sun peeking over it. (And we thought it was always sunny in Philadelphia …)
Philadelphia Bike Rack
They're to be installed soon.
“In a big bicycling city like Philadelphia, bike racks are everywhere,” Mirra noted. “If they can still be functional, why not also make them interesting to look at? That said, art bike racks help make our streets more distinctive, and helps make the infrastructure side of bicycling even more of a net positive for the city.”
That seems to be New York City's take as. Six years ago it ran its contest for an urban bike rack and this one won.
But, this being New York, it went a bit further. It installed a number of bike racks designed by musician David Byrne, an avid bicyclist.
Check out this one on Wall Street.
Wallstreet Bike Rack
Girl Bike Rack
“It is fair to say this is now the coolest place to park your bike in New York City,” said Brooklyn Academy of Music President Karen Brooks Hopkins, at one of the unveilings of Byrne's work in Brooklyn, according to the website, Co.Exist.
We're not sure.
We really dig the comb.