As students made their way across the Washington Avenue Bridge on Friday, a new addition to the rows of bike racks caught their eyes.
A new bike rack, resembling a bright green and orange fish, was donated to the University and installed on the east end of the bridge.
The bike rack was designed by Rolf Scholtz, a former University student and current president of Dero Bike Rack Company.
The fish design, along with many other custom bike racks, had originally been used in the Uptown area. But due to a lack of side street parking, the bike racks were removed, and replaced with smaller bike racks, Scholtz said.
Since biking is an important aspect of transportation throughout campus, the use of custom bike racks is a fun way to
promote biking, said Steve Sanders, Parking and Transportation Services executive assistant.
“It’s a fun, attractive addition to biking on campus, and we are trying to get more people to ride bikes,” Sanders said. “Part of that is providing nice facilities to park their bikes and give students more options.”
The University has approximately 7,000 spaces for bikes, Sanders said.
Students passing the new bike rack found the idea creative.
“I think it’s great that they can integrate art with function, but I would rather not obscure it,” said Jay Parlet, a Medical School student. “I want people to be able to see it, and my ugly bike would throw things off.”
Because the bike rack was given to the University, students are much more enthusiastic about the addition.
“Now students can’t complain about the University spending money on bike racks when we can’t afford more important things,” said Will Nicholson, a Medical School student.
Dero, which has been doing business with the University since 1997, supplies regular, as well as custom, bike racks for the University.
While custom bike racks only amount to 10 percent of Dero’s sales, they are one of the few companies currently making creative and “funky” bike racks, Scholtz said.
“If the bike racks are ugly, businesses put them in
back,” said Scholtz. “We saw a market for functional and attractive bike racks that could put be put in front where they can be used.”
Dero also made the stick-men bike racks outside of the Weisman Art Museum, as
well as the bike-shaped racks
outside the Gortner Avenue Ramp and the Transportation Building.
Overall, the new bike racks have received positive feedback, but the Weisman racks
have often brought mixed reviews.
“Some people think it’s cool and funky, and some say it’s a distraction from the building itself,” Scholtz said.
With many custom racks only costing the University dollars more per space, Sanders said they will be looking into buying more in the future.
“They should have equal animal representation, or a big bacterium would be cool,” Nicholson joked.
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