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Repurposed bikes bring public art to downtown Glen Ellyn

Published: Thursday, June 19, 2014 5:55 p.m. CDT • Updated: Thursday, June 19, 2014 6:21 p.m. CDT
Caption
(Anna Schier - aschier@shawmedia.com)
String Theory Yarn Company's contribution to Glen Ellyn's Bike It! public art installation project is on display on Main Street in downtown Glen Ellyn.

GLEN ELLYN – What has two wheels and creative potential?

For Glen Ellyn, the answer is used bikes that have been transformed from scrap metal into works of art by businesses and residents as part of the village’s Bike It! public outdoor installation project.

More than a dozen pieces are on display throughout the village as part of the initiative, which was the brainchild of Glen Ellyn Environmental Commission member Adrianne Gregory.

“We think it will bring people into downtown Glen Ellyn,” Gregory said.

She came up with the concept after attending a book signing by former urban environmental public servant Sadhu Johnston, where he discussed Vancouver’s “Keys to the Street” endeavor, during which painted pianos were installed throughout the city to rejuvenate the community.

Gregory thought repurposing bikes as art could have a similar effect. She brought the idea to the commission and it was met with a positive response. The project was presented to the Village Board in late April.

The commission’s $300 budget covered the cost of locks and custom bike license plates to execute the undertaking.

Members recruited Glen Ellyn artists, architects and designers for the initiative and the bikes were donated by Glen Ellyn Cyclery, Inc. and Koslow Cycle.

The works were unveiled and installed Sunday and will be locked to locations downtown until July 15.

Interpretations of the project vary widely among contributors. One bike is restored to be completely ridable, another now functions as a movie projector, while a third is coated in faux jewels.

“It was an exciting opportunity,” said Christine Lies, owner and president of The Interior Design Group Ltd. “We had a lot of fun doing it.”

The team at Interior Design collaborated to create a color wheel-themed six-seat tandem bike using paint swatches, pinwheels and duct tape.

“We deal with color a lot,” designer Diane Hansa said. “So it just seemed to make sense.”

The group wanted to build something large that would be eye-catching to drivers outside its Roosevelt Road office.

Other bikes can be viewed downtown on Main Street, Duane Street, Pennsylvania Avenue and Crescent Boulevard.

During the next two Saturday afternoons, commission members will distribute information on Main Street about DuPage County bike paths, bike registration with the village and the benefits of biking in Glen Ellyn.

“People should think about riding their bikes in a community as small as this,” Gregory said. “Hopefully it’ll help people contemplate biking.”

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Bike It! contributing artists

Bottle & Bottega

PPK Architects

Glen Ellyn Environmental Commission

String Theory Yarn Company

Element Multisport

LS + Team

Franklin & Kent

Marcel's Culinary Experience

The Maude Group LLC

Norris Design

The Interior Design Group Ltd.

Glen Ellyn Cyclery, Inc.

Out on a Whim

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