Street art:: The Good Bike Project

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Street art: The Good Bike Project (photo by Bernard Weil/Toronto Star)Wandering along the streets of Toronto, you can see lots of abandoned bicycles which stay and rust for years being locked up to bike posts until they are taken away to dumps. These bikes didn’t brighten up the city until the young artists Caroline Macfarlane and Vanessa Nicholas turned them into pieces of art.

Street art: The Good Bike Project (photo by Morgan Passi)

‘The idea for The Good Bike Project came to me as I was cleaning the windows of the OCAD U Student Gallery on Dundas Street West,’ Caroline Macfarlane says, ‘I was lost in thought, staring at this old rusted Raleigh bicycle, which is locked up to the bike post outside the gallery. It occurred to me that I’d never seen that Raleigh moved from that spot. It is a permanent fixture on the street, a gorgeous skeleton of an antique bicycle long forgotten. While I continued to clean the windows, I thought about the bike and generated questions in my mind: Why had someone left such a beautiful bike behind? Who was its owner?  How long had it been there? I began to feel sorry for it, and decided that Vanessa and I should reclaim it. The Student Gallery is on a grey, dismal strip of Dundas overwhelmed by cement and void of an greenery. Vanessa and I agreed to plant some flowers in bike’s basket. Soon the ideas escalated and we were on our way to buy several cans of neon spray paint.’

Street art: The Good Bike Project

This bike near the OCAD U Student Gallery was the first bike that was transformed to ‘good’. It swiftly became an unofficial city landmark which people took photos with. By this time, there are tens of ‘good’ bikes in Toronto.

Street art: The Good Bike Project

Street art: The Good Bike Project

Street art: The Good Bike Project

Street art: The Good Bike Project

Street art: The Good Bike Project

At some time the city authorities have considered such art inappropriate and written out a notice. The paper was stapled to the bike’s orange frame and ran that the bike should be removed within seven days because it is illegal to store bicycles on public property. However, the young team asked the public for support. With the help of hundreds of letters and thousands of messages on the Internet they managed to overcome the bureaucratic barriers and the project became valid. As a result, the city authorities changed their minds. Passing a special law which allowed considering an abandoned for a long time bicycle a city property, they suggested using them to brighten up the city.

Street art: The Good Bike Project

Street art: The Good Bike Project

Street art: The Good Bike Project

Street art: The Good Bike Project

Street art: The Good Bike Project

Street art: The Good Bike Project

Photographs by Bernard Weil/Toronto Star, Morgan Passi, Alistair Wilson and The Good Bike Project

 

3 Comments

  • Reply September 8, 2011

    Jessica

    I like the idea and look but in the end would be annoyed that the bike is taking up a good bike parking space. Would rather see it them moved off those scarce spots and made into art or donated to a shop that maybe rehabs those bikes and gives to underprivileged kids a la West Town Bikes in Chicago

  • Reply September 8, 2011

    Anneke Short

    Amazing! I love it! Anyone up for doing this in London? Although there aren’t as many abandoned bikes so much as bike frames, wheels and the odd mud-flap… :)

  • Reply September 14, 2011

    Alistair Wilson

    Love it! I found my first one on monday : http://www.flickr.com/photos/afwrite/6146695853/in/photostream

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