Around Town

Plaza Midwood stands on the cutting edge of bike rack art

In the boom of Charlotte development, a new kind of art is cropping up: Bike rack art.

Bikers, rejoice: The landscape of your biking commute may soon change. You may not have to worry about how safe your bike is, if it’s adequately locked up. Soon you may have more options about where to park your bike, beyond drab, gray bike racks that can easily be dismantled.

Juli Ghazi, owner of the farm-to-fork Pure Pizza pizzeria, collaborated with Terry Bopp, local welder, to create a bike rack art piece at her restaurant’s new location. Pure Pizza’s Plaza-Midwood expansion at 1911 Central Ave. will now bring an extra pop to your commute.

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The bike rack art is modeled after nature — it is a tree made entirely out of recycled car and bike parts. Edison lights hang from the leaves to illuminate the structure long after nightfall.

“The tree that sprouts out of the concrete is a bit about the urban landscape we live in,” Ghazi said. “The tree is a connection back to nature.”

Why bike art?

Ghazi hopes the rack lets members of the biking community know “they’re celebrated and honored.”

“In any world class city, one of the common denominators are art, food and commuting,” Ghazi said. “Biking is a form of commuting and when you look at environmental problems — how much we’re using and oil consumption, more cars being added — biking just offers a clean, environmental way to get around.

“We want people to walk and bike to us — it’s important.”

Ghazi is pioneering a new wave of bike rack art, a wave that Dianna Ward, executive director of Charlotte B-cycle and owner of Charlotte NC Tours, said is very necessary.

“That’s an example of someone taking their passion and integrating it into the work that they do,” Ward said. “… Everyone needs to get with the program and bring bike racks in front of their establishments.”

The aim

There’s room for improvement within the realm of bike rack art, Ward said. She said that more bike rack art could spur people to bike around town, which could help combat issues of congestion and lack of parking amid ever-increasing development.

“When you add art, it becomes noticeable, it really stands out,” Ward said. “It’s inviting.”

Ward added, “You have people complaining about parking all the time. You can’t create more land. You can definitely add bike racks.”

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Ghazi and Bopp hope the art will encourage residents to live healthier, more environmentally aware lifestyles. They believe that art like this will inspire the community to be more rider-friendly, in the midst of an ever-growing concrete jungle.

Other bike rack art around town

Bike rack art is relatively sparse in Charlotte at the moment, but Plaza Midwood is on the cutting edge of the movement.

– Alicia Roskind, owner of both Gumbo: The Store, a men’s and women’s clothing store specializing in athletic apparel, and Okra, a yoga studio, has two pieces of bike rack art outside both of her storefronts.

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– Roskind said some of her other favorite bike racks around the area can be found by the Healthy Home MarketPint Central and The Thirsty Beaver.

Keep a look out the next time you go for a ride.

Photos courtesy of Juli Ghazi and Alicia Roskind. 


Madysan Foltz

Madysan Foltz remembers her first bicycle. Now, it’s her preferred transportation of choice. Have a story tip? Tweet her @MadysanFoltz.

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