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Building a Bike Gateway, Part 4

Missed our earlier installments?  Catch Part 1 here, Part 2 here, and Part 3 here.

Tylur plans to add the large wheel of this pennyfarthing bike where it will provide maximum visual interest.

Bike Gate continues to roll along, with the shape of the sculpture changing every day as new elements are added.

“Originally, we thought we’d need about 200 bikes,” says artist Tylur French.  “We put the first 60 bikes on the frame, and it looked very substantial.  But then the bigger the arch got, the more bikes it was taking to make a visual impact.  So now we’re looking at needing about 350 bikes, which we’re working to collect.”

The bikes that are already at the studio have been coated with a base neutral paint color as they await their final color scheme.  Tylur met with ANF Architects last week to finalize the palette, which will be bold, vibrant, and playful.  The primary colors will be orange, red, purple, a golden yellow, and teal, with silver highlights and some neutral tones.  Tylur is already thinking of additional artistic elements that will be part of the sculpture, including flags from some older children’s bikes, and about 50 decorative wheels that will spin when the breeze hits them.

Dragonfly on bike
A dragonfly stopped by to bless the project.

Joining Tylur in his shop of late has been Andrew Meers, artist in residence at the National Ornamental Metal Museum.  Tylur says his creative approach to the project has been an excellent asset, and Andrew is allowing the donated bikes to have new life in his art as well.  Since not all the scrap can be used in the Bike Gate project, Andrew has been incorporating extra pieces (like the bike chains) into his own work, which is focused on blacksmithing and blademaking.

Tylur and his crew are building structural integrity by crafting some steel structures that mimic bike parts but are actually stronger.  “You won’t notice that these parts are there because they look like something you’d find on a real bike, but it allows us to build in those solid, reliable steel-to-steel anchors that we can weld things to,” he says.

Tylur is still looking for around 100 more bikes for the project.  If you have a bike you’d like to donate, please get in touch with us at [email protected] and we’ll make dropoff arrangements with you.  If there are enough people who have bikes to donate, we’ll organize another dropoff time in the park.  Thanks to all who have contributed so far!

Jump to Part 5.