Urban Tribe - Ride with your kids in front.

Businesses get into the art of bike racks

Posted by on February 16th, 2010 at 10:47 am

More and more local businesses are eschewing the utilitarian and mundane City-issue bike racks and opting instead for a more artistic version. There are a lot of reasons this might be happening: Perhaps it’s a way stand out in the crowd (now that bike parking is no longer a novelty); or maybe it’s a way to do some clever branding.

Whatever the reason. I like it.

Who says vehicle parking has to be all function and no form? Here are a few examples I’ve seen around town recently:

In front of Planned Parenthood.
(Photo: Gant Enderle)

The racks above — in the shape of gender symbols — are in front of the newly opened Planned Parenthood Regional Service Center at 3727 NE Martin Luther King Jr., Blvd. Gant Enderle of B & G Builders Inc., sent in the photo. He tells us that project designer Gunnar Langhus came up with the plan for the racks (they were fabricated by B&G). On a side note, B & G is also behind Bike Gallery’s eco-friendly Beaverton store.

In front of Lovejoy Bakery.
(Photo: Jennifer Jako)

This beautiful rack is in front of Lovejoy Bakery at 939 Northwest 10th Ave. in the Pearl District. It was created by Fix, a North Portland-based design studio. Jennifer Jako from Fix sent in the photo and said the inspiration came from Dan Griffin, the head baker. “He’s an avid cyclist and requested a rack that would accommodate a lot of bikes.”

This nifty rack is in front of a dentist’s office on the corner of N. Interstate and Jessup. I don’t much about it but I do know that it’s my kid’s favorite rack — tooth fairy parking! (That is, when she too tired to fly.)

If you’re a business owner and want to install an art rack, visit the City of Portland’s “Non-Standard Bicycle Racks” website. They’ve got all the details on the process, getting the permit, finding the racks, and so on.

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  • Grimm February 16, 2010 at 10:53 am

    II saw one that looked like an Anvil up near MLK and Breeze to pair it with the building’s branding, and there is a school in SE on 92nd or something with an awesome dinosaur bike rack. Im down for most anything that is functional yet beautiful.

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  • Thom February 16, 2010 at 11:07 am

    There are a couple of pretty cool ones in the Hollywood district as well, an eyeglass shaped rack by an optometrist’s office, and a stethescope at a doctor’s.

    I saw antoher one shaped like the front of a car, forget just where.

    Neat stuff. I like functional street art.

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  • Yeoh February 16, 2010 at 11:13 am

    I donlt have a photo, but what about the great eye glasses off Sandy in Hollywood?

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  • Steven Vance February 16, 2010 at 11:36 am

    The tooth looks like the backside of someone who’s bending over 🙂

    The Planned Parenthood racks seem 100% functional compared to a standard staple rack. I have some suspicions about the bike racks in front of the Lovejoy Bakery though.

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  • todd February 16, 2010 at 11:46 am

    note that david byrne’s racks, well, the Committee kiboshed: http://journal.davidbyrne.com/2010/02/020110-the-good-news-and-the-bad-news-and-the-good-news.html

    portland: 1; nyc: 0

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  • Andrew Plambeck February 16, 2010 at 12:02 pm

    I was just thinking about this! My bus goes down NE 42nd past a different dental office with two toothbrushes bound by a winding steel cable as a bike rack. I’ve been meaning to take a photo and send it to you.

    Great minds, eh?

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  • Ralley February 16, 2010 at 12:16 pm

    Grimm #1,

    The school with the awesome dinosaur bike rack is Lent School K-8 on 97th. The kids at Lent have also been filmed for a bike movie and the school has a great history of biking and bike programs.

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  • Options Guy February 16, 2010 at 12:31 pm

    Re: #6 –
    You can see a low-res picture of the Toothbrushes-&-Floss rack at the PBOT webpage (click my screen name to view).

    If you get a better shot, please share!

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  • SteveD February 16, 2010 at 12:49 pm

    Here is a local company (Vancouver) who produces bike racks of all kinds.

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  • Rex Marx February 16, 2010 at 1:58 pm

    Would it inappropriate to note that none of the racks are in use?

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  • becky February 16, 2010 at 2:30 pm

    My eye doctor has glasses!

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  • whoopsie February 16, 2010 at 4:07 pm

    looks like planned parenthood forgot about the folks outside of the gender binary.

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  • Joe Adamski February 16, 2010 at 4:14 pm

    On N John St, just north of Lombard is a stylized St Johns Bridge arch, in front of a new business development. It actually gets my approval because it is not too unlike the standard staple. Staples are the gold standard for utility, although they lack much style.

    Creativity aside, being able to use the darn things trumps everything else. So many creative styles, esp that monstrosity seen in front of many businesses, the ‘wave’ style. Totally useless. The only thing worse is the back wheel racks at Burgerville, where your back wheel fits in a slot,but there is no other support.
    Streetsblogs did a story a couple years ago on a rack design contest. I still like the staple best http://www.streetsblog.org/2008/10/01/weigh-in-on-the-future-of-city-bike-racks/

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  • Michael M. February 16, 2010 at 4:27 pm

    I love the cat and dog bike racks at the Oregon Humane Society on NE Columbia Blvd.

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  • Matti February 16, 2010 at 7:06 pm

    Here is my contrary vote for understatement. I think the first task of a rack is to accommodate a bike well. In my opinion, many of the racks that carry a visual message are goofy and trite, often at the expense of function. Like my preference in bikes, I like a rack that does its job in quiet elegant manner. I don’t need a rack to clamor for my attention like a billboard. Our environment is too full of visual “noise” as it is. If you are an business owner of an artistic rack, you are certainly entitled to be as expressive as you wish, but it just doesn’t do anything for me.

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  • Doug Klotz February 16, 2010 at 10:03 pm

    I’d take it a step further than Matti. I don’t think it’s appropriate for bike racks to become an allowed form of advertising in the right-of-way. First it’s just a pair of glasses. Then McDonalds wants to put a couple of arches (they’d make good racks, right?) Then Burger King complains “If they can have their logo, why can’t I have mine?”

    I agree with the assessment as goofy and trite, and, thinking of the miniature Fremont Bridge on NW Lovejoy at about 12th, I’d add another category: Things that don’t even look like bike racks, and thus people don’t think of using them as such.

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  • are February 16, 2010 at 10:07 pm

    i don’t see how the rack in front of lovejoy bakery could hold “a lot of bikes.” while it does seem that many people in portland simply clip the top tube to the horizontal element of the typical staple rack, inviting the theft of wheels, in fact the useful segment is the vertical, of which there are relatively few on this rack, three of them too close to the wall . . .

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  • Clarence February 16, 2010 at 11:14 pm

    Love that one in front of PP!

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  • Howard Bales February 18, 2010 at 6:58 am

    NYC is ahead of us in this art controversy. Check out bike transportation hero David Byrne’s blog post. http://journal.davidbyrne.com/2010/02/020110-the-good-news-and-the-bad-news-and-the-good-news.html

    I suggest we offer to install DB’s NYC rejects in Portland. I’d figure out a way to lock my bike to these!

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