New York bids to spice up cycling

Quirky new bike racks grace city streets

New York City may already have 5,000 bike racks on its streets, but it evidently feels cycling in the city needs sprucing up a little.

City artist and biking enthusiast David Byrne has created nine new glamorous racks to adorn the Big Apple’s sidewalks, ranging from a guitar to a coffee cup.

Ironically, Byrne was inspired to create his whacky sculptures after being asked by the NYC Department of Transportation (DOT) to judge a bicycle rack competition. The racks are installed at eight locations in Manhattan and one in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

"Regular bike riders have an eagle eye for our current bike racks but these nine installations will capture the attention of all New Yorkers," said DOT commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan. “We’re elevating the profile of cycling, and we believe that more and more people will begin to think about cycling as a mode of transportation, and not just a mode of recreation.”

A further smart element to the designs is that they’ve been placed in contextually relevant locations: a dollar sign on Wall Street, a car near the entrance to Lincoln Tunnel, and the guitar in Williamsburg – one of the city’s most vibrant musical neighbourhoods.

“It was important to me that these new racks be the same thickness and material as the existing racks-to help identify them as practical bike racks and not just modern art,” Byrne said. 

The racks will remain in place for a year, after which they’re expected to be sold off as individual pieces of art.

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