I would like to believe that all bikes are made to be ridden, cherished, and enjoyed, but I know this is not the case. Some bikes are not made to last and some riders do not maintain their whips the way they should. The result is often bikes that are tossed aside, damaged beyond repair, or unwanted. This is not all bad news though, some unloved bikes can be repurposed for other enjoyment/utility.
Reader Tyler contacted with a cool story about a community that had a need, a need he helped fulfill by repurposing some old bikes. Readers with repurposing stories are always welcome to contact us. Take it away Tyler . . .
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
I have built up a gate made entirely out of bicycles. The gate is 17 feet long and about 7 feet high, it is composed of many old bike frames welded together along many old wheels of varying size to fill in the gaps. The wheels are held in place using bike chain. The gate is fully functional (opens and closes) and incorporates a full bike on the end that you use to open the gate (push on the handlebars and wheel it open.)
It is located in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, Canada. It was built for a community garden and uses all recycled materials except for the threaded gate hinge bolts which were bought new. I was approached to build a gate by one of the individuals spearheading the construction of the garden and I jumped at the chance. I don't happen live in the neighbourhood that the garden is being constructed, but I wanted to be a part of the project for several reasons.
Yellowknife is a pretty remote place with a relatively harsh climate, and to live our modern day, first world, conveience-driven lives up here is not exactly a sustainable practice. I wanted to build the bike gate as a supportive gesture to all the people who are willing to raise a garden in the sub-arctic area in which we happen to find ourselves. I was more than willing to donate my time to create a piece of functional art.
The gate consist of over a dozen frames and a bunch of wheels of varving size. The rims that are in between the rear triangles of the sets of bikes can spin for a fun effect. The other rims that fill the gaps are held in place using bike chain.
The bikes were all junkers that had been either fished out of the nearby lake, donated by members of the community or found at the local dump. The only items that were purchased were the threaded hinge bolts and accompanying washers/nuts.
The total time for this project was about 24 hours. Several hours were spent stripping all the rusted parts off of the bikes. About 12 hours were spent cutting, grinding and welding it together, with the remaining time spent hanging it.