Students unveil first custom, local-style bike rack
Last year, Park City was recognized as a bronze-level Bicycle Friendly Community by the League of American Bicyclists. But Parkites who get around town by bike may find few options for stashing their bikes at their destination.
In an effort to make Park City even more bike-able two Ecker Hill International Middle School students, Kaila Balch and Olivia Miller, are working with Carol Potter, executive director of Mountain Trails Foundation and local businesses to install out-of-the-ordinary bike racks throughout town.
"The bike racks are really abstract. They kind of match the place that they’re put in," Balch said.
The first rack will be unveiled at Right at Home this Friday, May 16, at 5:30 p.m. in honor of National Bike to Work Day. Because Right at Home is a consignment furniture store, they wanted a bike rack designed as a chair.
"In terms of our store, it absolutely fits in because we are a blend of, you know, mountain elegant rustic. We [run] the gamut because we are a shop that sells old and new furniture and accessories, so we wanted something a little bit different," Right at Home owner Marion Boland said.
Along with co-owners Cindy Matsumoto and Eileen Mullane, Boland approved a design by local artist Missy Robbins, who owns the design company Pure Bohemian and specializes in metalwork and fabrics. Robbins was introduced to the women at Right at Home by Potter.
"Park City desperately needs more bike racks and I know Park City Municipal is going to put some in, but I kind of got real enthused about art bike racks," Potter said. "And Missy’s just brilliant and clever and creative and so I went to her and asked her if she’d do it for us."
Working with Double M Enterprises in Salt Lake, Robbins engaged in a hands-on process to design a giant, functioning metal chair and bike rack. It is constructed out of reused materials, what Robbins calls "old, artistic gems." The design accommodates about a dozen bikes.
Robbins worked with shop foreman Kenny Hart and Double M owner Gene Marcum to fabricate the rack. It was then powder-coated in a rustic color, selected by Right at Home.
"You’re really limited by your imagination," Marcum said. "I’ll build anything you can imagine."
The artist and fabricators hope to help with more racks in the future and to turn more Park City ideas into realities. Miller and Balch want businesses to chose bike rack designs that fit their personalities. When asked what a bike rack outside their houses would be, Miller said she would choose a big, red Heeler dog and Balch said a soccer ball.
Both girls are in sixth grade in the blue school at Ecker Hill and enjoy riding their bikes. They plan to continue this project through their next two years at school as part of required community service for the International Baccalaureate (IB) program. They have proposals for bike racks in more locations, including bars and restaurants on Main Street, hoping others follow the lead of Right at Home.
"We’re the first one, so we hope that we’re setting the stage, so to speak, for everyone getting involved in it," Boland said.
To request a bike rack in front of your business, contact Potter at Mountain Trails at (435) 649-6839. Utah Homes and Lands will match your $1,000 donation and two 2-square-inch plaques will be put on the rack; one listing the business that funded the rack and the other listing Mountain Trails and Utah Homes and Lands. The Mountain Trails trail crew will install the rack.
In addition to the dedication of the bike rack at Right at Home, other Bike to Work Day activities include free coffee and breakfast from 7 to 9 a.m. at three locations: The Yarrow in Park City, Basin Recreation at Kimball Junction and the Heber City Municipal Park. Bike mechanics will be at these locations giving free tune ups and cyclists can also register for an opportunity drawing.
At 6 p.m., after the bike rack dedication, there will be a cruiser ride from Cole Sport around Park City to Squatters Roadhouse Grill for dinner on the deck at 7 p.m. At that time, drawing winners will be selected.
Businesses can also register to bike to work as a group. The business with the highest percentage of riders will win a prize. Pre-registration is required and can be done at http://www.mountaintrails.org.
Two people indicated in interviews they are considering mounting campaigns for the Park City Council, a signal the City Hall election could attract an intriguing slate of candidates in a year when the majority of the five seats are on the ballot.