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Blue Bike History

topic posted Thu, August 26, 2004 - 6:47 AM by  beast
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Ummm, where do I start? I was putting out art for anyone to look at or have in the downtown Fort Lauderdale area when as I was driving on Las Olas Blvd I saw an old ladies bike in front of a "Country Store." This gave me the idea to paint bikes one color and put them out around town. I went home and went out on the railroad tracks where I had seen an old bike (sort of an English racer type bike) that would meet my needs. I brought it back to my house and started to look for a good color in my paint stash. I had just recently been out on a job painting lines on handicap parking spaces. This seemed like a great color as it really glows, and is bright plus I had quite a bit left in the can. That was it, a done deal and the first "Blue Bike" was painted and after drying put out in front of Rush Street martini bar. The bike started to draw attention and talk about what it was all about started. I would hear others saying what their take on the bike was and always with them not knowing who was actually the person that had put it out. It was amusing to say the least. The bike was drawing so much attention that more bikes needed to be "installed." They started to multiply and bikes sprung up in some pretty interesting places. More bikes were needed and the local bulk trash pickup was as good a place as any to secure new/old bikes for the project. The paint started to run low and a trip to the paving and parking lot supply was needed. I picked up two more gallons and after returning home tested it on a halfway painted and found that they had changed their formula. I went back to find out if I could get some of the original paint but could not. The lady at the counter couldn't understand the need for the color to be the same just to stripe handicap spaces until I sort of let her know what I was really using it for. She was happy to know that she had, had a hand in the "blue bikes" even if it was a small one at that. Needless to say I went home to take a part off of the half painted bike to have it color matched and it worked well. The original color's integrity was intact. More bikes went out and then the City of Fort Lauderdale and a Broward County code enforcement officer decided that enough was enough. They hauled in about eight bikes and put them in the city yard. They even took bikes from private property where the bikes were welcomed and not a "nuisance" as the code enforcement officer had called them. During all of this a writer at the Sun-Sentinel had been writing stories about the bikes and went to the city, county, and the police dept. to find out why they were taken. She received conflicting stories and a couple of city commissioners and the mayor had them returned to me. I had to keep my identity a secret so I wore a suit and an old Richard Nixon mask to retrieve the bikes. I also borrowed a friends truck so as to throw them off a little more. The bikes were put out that night with the understanding that they would not be chained up to city property and not in the line of sight of drivers. I went so far as to chain them only to bike racks, that way they would be where they belong. This seemed to work and they stayed out much longer except when a bike would start to look kind of run down then it would be replaced with a newly painted one. Nowadays if a bike goes missing you can usually bet that someone grabbed it for a souvenir. Maybe even a part of a bike as a souvenir is taken now. Oh well I hope this answers some of you're questions and enlightens you somewhat. In the name of fun and observation, the project continues........
posted by:
beast
Florida
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  • Unsu...
     
    that's really cool steve!
    How do you decide where to put them??
    Did you ever consider the BCC Downtown Campus bike rack??

    Dominique
    • I originally put them anywhere then the city went out and took about eight of them in to their compound. We discussed it and they said they would not have a problem as long as they were not in the line of sight of traffic. I then figured that as long as they were in a bike rack what could they say. Those earlier pics of bikes everywhere were taken before all this went down. Yes I have as to the BCC location. My real world , you know my job, job has been keeping me busy. Soon when the time is right though I will be back to putting out a few more. I do maintain the ones out there now, like when they get all faded out, it's time to repaint or touch up.
  • hi stephen and everybody in the blue bike tribe.
    great art - love it!
    what is the timeframe of Blue Bike History up to now?
    how long is it already going?
    Did you ever think about doing blue bikes somewhere
    else in the world?
    just have been to Manchester this summer -
    they had the "cows over the city project" running
    and i think it was already the fourth or fifth city
    being exposed to this project...
    same thing there - some cows had already been stolen
    more blue bikes 4 glocality !
    e! / enrico
    • Hey there and welcome to the tribe. The bikes have been around since 1999 and are still out and about. I started the photo album out with the earliest bikes onward to the existing ones. A friend of mine was in Amsterdam and found a bike, then some paint, and after painting the bike blue moved it around and took pictures of it. Unfortunatly I do not have the pictures or access to them. When I started the bikes I had no idea about the cows of Chicago (which were the first outdoor cows I'd heard of) and since then I believe quite a few other cities have jumped on their (Chicago's) bandwagon. Miami has flamingoes, Ocala, FL has horses, Stuart, FL has put out sea turtles, and Fort Lauderdale had their own sailfish. There is one in Boston that was taken up there by an old girlfriend and is still up there. Oh let me tell you, there have been many blue bikes stolen and are in these culprits possessions now. Some have been totally trashed and one was even run down and squished between a building and a limo after the driver had a seizure. I'll post those pictures soon.
      Steve

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