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Mystery bike stencils pop up around city

Posted by on August 30th, 2006 at 7:29 am

mystery bike symbols (photos by Matt Picio)

Have you noticed these cool little bike stencils popping up on popular bikeways throughout the city? I’ve seen them around the Hawthorne Bridge, on the Springwater Corridor Trail, and several other places.

I have no idea what they’re all about but I’m curious. BikePortland.org reader Matt Picio is curious too so he snapped these photos in hopes someone out there can enlighten us.

mystery bike symbols (photos by Matt Picio)
mystery bike symbols (photos by Matt Picio) mystery bike symbols (photos by Matt Picio)

So, are they someone’s artistic expression, guerilla graffitti, or do they have a deeper meaning?

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  • Dom August 30, 2006 at 7:51 am

    Isnt that the Jewish star in the middle?

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  • Curt August 30, 2006 at 7:56 am

    Jewish star is six-sided. This star is an upside-down pentagram .. the sign of the Devil!

    Hmmm … “Satan was here .. and he was riding a bike.” ???

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  • Ethan August 30, 2006 at 8:07 am

    If satan is now going by bike Dumpster Dave had better keep a close eye on his legendary black Bianchi.

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  • Gregg August 30, 2006 at 8:13 am

    Finally, I understand the meaning of “hell on wheels”.

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  • Tree August 30, 2006 at 9:16 am

    There is one at the bike jog at NE 16th & Tillamook.

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  • Brett August 30, 2006 at 9:16 am

    Well,

    Actually to be a pentagram it would have to have words, pics, symbols, or something else with it. To be a pentacale it would need some kind of a circle around it.

    Yes, because it is upside down it does somewhat infer what the Church of Satan (not Satan) has adopted as it’s symbol… but I think it has more to do with the pictogram looking good. I’d hate to come down on the top tube if it had the point up!

    I saw these the other day and just thought that someone witchy and bikey was expressing themself, I think it’s pretty cool but I hope the general public (which is fairly ignorant about witchcraft) doesn’t form a negative opinion.

    I like em!

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  • T-Rex August 30, 2006 at 9:48 am

    Pagan bicycle cults? Maybe a grafitti marketing campaign by some local bike start up?

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  • the serracho August 30, 2006 at 9:59 am

    it’s the pentabike.

    http://www.pentabike.com/

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  • mikey August 30, 2006 at 10:13 am

    pretty cool on the street until you see one on the back of a street sign. that’s called vandalizm.

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  • gabrielamadeus August 30, 2006 at 10:32 am

    Noooo….

    Could it be time to call upon our great Lord, Bicycle Jesus?

    http://www.deadbabybikes.org/bjjump.htm
    http://myspace.com/bicycle_jesus

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  • gabrielamadeus August 30, 2006 at 10:44 am

    Gimme a break mikey, like the back side of a street sign really needs to stay that even shade of blank silver. I could understand your view with the front side, or private property, but the back of street signs?

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  • Lenny Anderson August 30, 2006 at 10:56 am

    Its ironic, but these seem to be more noticeable than the city’s official bike “dots” which are already hardly legible.

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  • Jim F. August 30, 2006 at 11:19 am

    Quick — someone put that on a t-shirt. I want one.

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  • justa August 30, 2006 at 11:59 am

    heh…i have my suspicions, but i aint sharin’ em on no internet forum.

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  • cupcake August 30, 2006 at 1:37 pm

    perhaps it is a west coast thing to relate that shape to satin.

    where im from, we call it a star.

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  • Donna August 30, 2006 at 2:42 pm

    If the devil is riding a bike in Portland these days, I wonder if he would give us a hand with the motorist road rage problem.

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  • Gregg August 30, 2006 at 2:53 pm

    Yes cupcake, cultural trends in the Pacific Time Zone is are entirely dictated by commenters on this blog!

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  • Matt P. August 30, 2006 at 3:01 pm

    So far, everywhere I’ve seen them is a location where there is some sort of road hazard – either a pillar near the bike path, a trouble spot where merges take place, like the east end of the Hawthorne Bridge, or somewhere where a cyclist is prone to stop in the middle of things, like near the cat food bowls on the Springwater Trail under the Ross Island Bridge, or the one I saw on the sidewalk outside Citybikes Annex.

    So, what’s the deal?

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  • Matt P. August 30, 2006 at 3:02 pm

    Dunno, but it might be easier to do a trackstand on Satan’s bike with that downward-facing balance point. Or maybe that’s Satan’s kickstand?

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  • Clayton August 30, 2006 at 4:11 pm

    Hello,
    This design was created in Denver Colorado by a messanger named Dave Strunck. It was created several years ago. It has a name which is his radio number… Pentabike 685. You can buy t-shirt in denver with this design made by a local artist(Sam Turner) with permision from Dave.
    Thanks
    Clayton

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  • Clayton August 30, 2006 at 4:14 pm

    P.S.
    I can forward requests for the T-Shirt… Be the first one in Portland with the real story.

    Clayton

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  • Matt P. August 30, 2006 at 4:29 pm

    Well, if that’s the case, you might want to let him know that Even stole his design:

    evan@pentabike.com
    http://www.pentabike.com

    (Don’t know why I didn’t connect the lines and figure out “pentabike” previously)

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  • Matt P. August 30, 2006 at 4:30 pm

    Evan, not Even (%$#%$# need a spell-check)

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  • Kirsty August 30, 2006 at 5:23 pm

    I’d like it to mean that bikers are simply stars!

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  • drew August 30, 2006 at 5:39 pm

    Just more bad artwork by another pdx dirtbag.

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  • jami August 30, 2006 at 6:12 pm

    there’s one on the bus stop bench eastbound on hawthorne.

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  • jami August 30, 2006 at 6:13 pm

    grr. it’s on the hawthorne bridge bus stop going eastbound. i should not comment while starving.

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  • Dave D August 30, 2006 at 10:14 pm

    OTO maybe? What is this pentabike thing anyway?

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  • lianagan August 31, 2006 at 1:13 am

    Dave (and/or Evan) was here.. Is he still here or just passing through? It would be nice to hear his story. I wonder what biking is like in Denver.

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  • Clayton August 31, 2006 at 5:28 am

    The legend of Pentabike 685. Dave strunk Denver bicycle messenger and ridding nut began Pentabike tagging in about 19990 as a fun little joke. He would carve, paint, draw pentabikes everywhere… No stencil required. It is not real hard to draw… Dave is no Devil worshiper but he may be atheist at best, at the time. But anyone who knows Dave it is about fun and F the cars and car people. He tagged so many time the security gard in high rises called him Star Man. 685 was his radio number as a messanger so in respect people put a 685 under the pentabike symbol.

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  • vj August 31, 2006 at 10:20 am

    If you go to the pentabike web site, you’ll find a stencil, and Evan also has buttons and stickers you can get. I know nothing more than this… but the stencilled designs don’t necessarily mean that Dave or Evan were here. Just that folks dig it.

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  • Hawthorne rider August 31, 2006 at 10:33 am

    Speaking of interesting graffiti, right before I started noticing the bike pentagram thingys, there appeared a painted outline of a body on a speed bump (it’s crime-scene chalkoutline style). Has anyone else noticed this? It’s on SE Lincoln or Harrison, somewhere in the 40′s, I think? Sorry for the vague locale – I just know it’s on my route – I think it’s the speed bumps right before the crossing at SE 39th, when you’re headed west. It’s pretty large, and i thought maybe an interesting statement on pedestrian safety?? There’s also one of the bike symbols discussed here on that same stretch, so I was wondering at first if they were related or just coincidence.

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  • Randy August 31, 2006 at 11:16 am

    The large stenciled bodies represent the scene of a pedestrian or cyclist fatality. The one just off 39th on Lincoln or Harrison (not sure which myself) represents a pedestrian fatality that occurred about a year ago.

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  • Robert Ping August 31, 2006 at 3:28 pm

    There are some on the Steel Bridgs, too.

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  • Hawthorne rider August 31, 2006 at 4:25 pm

    Ah, thanks, guys, so the “chalk” outlines are much like the white bikes project.

    Wow – I didn’t know about the fatality on Lincoln/Harrison – it “seems” so safe. Although as a regular rider of it, I do know that street can give us all false security sometimes – I find it can be dangerous due to speeding cars and lurchers at stop signs.

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  • Liz September 2, 2006 at 8:58 pm

    I saw one at New Seasons on 33rd the other day. I assumed it to be a church of satan thing too and being where it was it cracked me up. I like ‘em.

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  • 685 October 3, 2006 at 7:02 am

    ALL THIS DEBATE…..

    THANKS TO CLAYTON AND EVAN FOR THE REAL STORY.

    YEAH IT’S ORIGIN IS ABOUT 1990 OR SO.

    THE ORIGINAL PENTABIKE, AS IT HAS NOW BECOME KNOWN, IS ON THE INSIDE OF MY COURIER BAG FLAP.

    IT IS POSTED ON E-BAY FOR $666.00 DOLLARS IF ANYONE WANTS TO BUY IT.

    THE SECURITY GUARD AT 1050 17TH STREET GOT REAL PISSED WHEN IT WAS SCRAWLED INTO THE PRECIOUS STAINLESS STEEL ELEVATOR WALLS.

    ….SO YEAH, CALL IT GRAFFITI IF YOU LIKE.

    MARK D. AND DRUNKINGHAM KNOW THE STORY TOO.
    SO DOES SWEET DADDY WOODRUFF.

    ORDER YOUR PLATINUM NECKLACE WITH DIAMOND ENCRUSTED PENTABIKE NOW…..YOU KNOW YOU FUCKING WANT ONE

    -685-

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  • DaveO January 6, 2007 at 10:52 am

    Yep..Thats Dave Strunks baby.

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  • Trashmouth Grouch February 12, 2007 at 1:25 pm

    It’s great to see I’m not alone in representing denver cycling on the west coast! There’s now cycling caps, patches, shirts ect. Dont quote me, but I’m pretty sure these will be available on the http://www.eleventooth.com website soon (site currently under construction). More of Sam’s stuff will be for sale too. I crashed a couple month ago wearing a Pentabike “Fuck you Car” shirt. The xray tech was highly ammused. 5280 fo’ life!

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  • 685 June 1, 2007 at 11:40 am

    JUST SO YOU KNOW THE PENTABIKE LOGO IS COPYRIGHTED AS OF APRIL 1, 2007.

    THIS REALLY MEANS NOTHING TO ANYONE EXCEPT THOSE WHO ARE LOOKING TO MASS PRODUCE AND MARKET ITEMS WITH THE LOGO ON IT FOR HUGE PROFIT….LIMITED RUNS OF STICKERS, HATS, AND SUCH ARE NO PROBLEM.

    WOULD LOVE TO WORK WITH SWOBO TO ARRANGE SOMETHING COOL

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  • YogiPhil July 2, 2007 at 10:22 am

    I hope that means that Dave got the Copyright.
    Yeah D-Town (Blah Blah Blah)

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  • 685 August 27, 2007 at 1:19 pm

    dave-indeed is the holder of said copyright. thanks for the support.

    -685-

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  • Pento-Graham September 2, 2007 at 8:34 am

    With the blessing of 685 himself, The Sockguywill have a limited run of pentabike socks available around the time of the trade show. Keep your eyes open, and your mouth shut.

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  • (A) September 12, 2007 at 1:06 pm

    For anyone who chances upon this–one year after the fact–the real story behind the PDX Pentabike is as follows:

    While living in Portland between 2005 and 2007, I had a roommate from Denver. Saying he was an avid cyclist would be an understatement. He knew the Pentabike from the Denver cycling community, and has been sporting them on hats for years. I liked the design, and decided to spread some bike love around the wonderful city of Portland, OR.

    It wasn\’t until months afterward that a friend showed me this blog, and all the comments it generated.

    Keep your eyes open for them elsewhere around the country.

    peace. love. bikes.

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  • 685 September 13, 2007 at 9:08 am

    The socks will no doubt look particularly alluring with grease, taco sauce and blood stains on them.

    the revolution will not be televised.

    -685-

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  • 685 September 28, 2007 at 7:50 am

    PENATBIKE SOCKS HAVE BEEN RELEASED AT INTERBIKE!!!!!

    THEY ARE BROWN AND BABY BLUE.

    DRUNKINGHAM @ SWOBO IS WEARING A PAIR RIGHT NOW.

    CAST HEAD TUBE BADGES ARE ALSO AVAAILABLE FOR AOBUT 40 BUCKS.

    -685-

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  • Anonymous October 22, 2007 at 8:27 pm

    Pentabike head tube badges.

    jennifer makes the goods in pennsylvania.

    http://www.headbadges.com/id74.html

    -685

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  • 685 September 16, 2008 at 9:19 am

    Yo-

    Just though I\’d let your readers know that the lads at Stroker-Ace screen printing in Minneapolis are going to go into full production of Pentabike t-shirts very soon.

    http://stroker-ace.com/

    additionally The Sock Guy has wool pentabike socks available.

    http://www.sockguy.com/product1087.html

    also.

    my good buddy Stevil at Swobo has a site called How To Avoid The Bummer Life that would be of interest to all your fixies, MTB, road and cyclists in general.

    He is also a gifted artist and has similar dysfunctional styling as Mr. Sam Turner….

    http://www.howtoavoidthebummerlife.com/weblog/

    Just thought I\’d drop a line to you and give you heads up.

    -685-

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  • Anonymous February 11, 2009 at 11:15 am

    want t-shirts, head tube badges, stickers or socks?

    check

    685pentabike.blogspot.com

    this is the original.

    -kiss the goat-
    -685-

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