Things are moving quickly with the Conservancy’s Bike Gate project…and they’re getting a lot more colorful, too!
Artist Tylur French and several volunteers have started painting the components of the bike sculpture in bold, bright hues. They’ve experimented with different ways to apply the paint, and slow and steady seems to win the race. At first, it seemed easier to paint the individual bike parts before attaching them to the frame. However, Tylur and his crew quickly noticed that they could be more precise about juxtaposing colors and shapes if the bikes were already arranged in their final configuration.
“It makes it easier to play with something like having a blue frame attached to an orange wheel, which gives the sculpture a more varied visual interest,” Tylur says. “It also makes it really challenging to paint, because you have to maneuver in all these small spaces.”
While the sculpture gets a coat of paint (or two, or three), the Conservancy is in the process of selecting a contractor to build the new bike plaza along East Parkway. We’ll make our selection next week, and construction should begin in September.
The plaza, funded by the First Tennessee Foundation, will provide a comfortable place for cyclists traveling the Shelby Farms Greenline to take a rest, get some water, and regroup. With the upcoming expansion of the Greenline through the Broad Avenue Arts District, and ultimately to the Harahan Bridge, Overton Park will be an important point along the route. A new trail, funded by the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, will link the Greenline to the Old Forest trails and beyond.
The trail and plaza are the first piece of the Conservancy’s goal for the next several years, which is to improve overall access in the park. Bike Gate will also be a highly visible symbol of Memphians’ embracing an active lifestyle and seeing the city in a new way.
Be a Part of Bike Gate
You can be a permanent part of Bike Gate in a couple of different ways. We have a very limited number of pavers available for sponsorship. These 12-inch square pavers can be engraved with your personalized message, up to six lines. Pavers are already going very quickly, so go ahead and reserve yours today.
Tylur is also still accepting donations of any wheeled object, in any sort of condition. “I’ll add bikes up until the last day!” Tylur laughs. “The more, the merrier.” (Have one you’d like to donate? Email us at [email protected].)