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Building a Bike Gateway, Part 9

Missed our earlier installments?  Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3 / Part 4 / Part 5 / Part 6 / Part 7 / Part 8

Installing Bike Gate Tuesday morningTry as it might, the mud couldn’t stop Bike Gate. Set it back a day, sure. Attempt to swallow a crane whole…why not? But in the pre-dawn hours of Wednesday, February 12, Bike Gate successfully arrived at its final destination.

Tylur French and the Youngblood Studio team began working on the installation on Tuesday morning. Despite temperatures in the twenties, we had a nice audience for the proceedings, who kept warm by jumping rope, flying kites, and sipping hot chocolate. The crane arrived at 10:00 a.m., and Tylur and the crew climbed the arch and fastened it to the crane with ropes.  Shortly after that, we had liftoff, and the crew began removing the small support beams (kind of like kickstands, to use a bike analogy) that had been holding the arch up in the parking lot.

Moving the arch on the flatbed truckThen the crane floated the arch over onto a waiting flatbed truck, and Tylur untied the ropes to disconnect from the crane and make the short drive over to the new plaza. The crane headed in before the truck, only to rapidly discover that the nicely frozen ground of an hour ago was now a mud pit. So after several hours in the cold, Tuesday turned slightly anticlimactic. Tylur and the team from Oldham Crane decided to try again as early as possible the next day to make sure the ground stayed frozen.

So Tylur and his team arrived at 2:30a.m. on Wednesday to begin preparing the site, and the crane followed at 4:00a.m.  The arch went up without a hitch, so the morning commuters had a nice surprise waiting for them during rush hour. The ground did indeed stay frozen, except for the crane, which had thawed the ground underneath itself and sunk in to halfway up its wheels. A good deal of ingenuity (and torque) later, the crane was liberated from the mud.

Installing Bike Gate at 4:00AMSo what’s next? The structure is currently a rust-brown color, but that’s just a primer coat. The final color will be closer to a stone look, but we have to wait for the temperature to reach a certain level of warmth before the paint will hold. The paint on the bikes will be touched up as well. There will also be some finishing touches, such as decorative elements, lighting, and acknowledgment of the project’s sponsor, First Tennessee. All of that will happen in the coming weeks, but for now we’re so excited to finally have this unique piece of art in the park.

Construction on the connector path from the plaza to the Old Forest roads will begin soon, and we’re targeting early April as the official grand opening date for the plaza.  We’ll post here as soon as we confirm the date!

* Please note: the bike plaza is still a closed construction site. Please admire from afar until the project is completed!

Bike Gate and plaza bollard