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Bike Boneyard

December 15, 2011

Nothing saddens a bike lover like seeing the skeletal remains of some forgotten bicycle. All that lingers are the bones picked away by the vultures. The rusty chain leaves no indication that this bike was once a part of someone’s livelihood, once an extension of someone’s mobile freedom, once cared for.

Note the ominous montome coloring - spooky

But besides a potential personal lose this bike represents, it’s bad for the community (both the non-biking and bike). Yes, it’s an eyesore. Similar to abandoned cars or boarded-up buildings, these bike bones have the potential to be a catalyst signaling a cascade of urban disorder and further vandalism (Let’s grab that front tire, the bike’s just garbage). Eventually, when there’s nothing left to pick through, the vultures, now proficient at bike part removal, may move on to nearby bicycles (Sure, it may technically belong to someone, but after we take what we want it’ll be just another abandoned piece of metal). Don’t question my logic – it’s sound (I was once a logicistian, which makes me an expert is logic, right?).

For a cyclist, seeing bike remains is like stumbling upon the sun-bleached animal skull in the desert. It’s a sign to keep moving, this place isn’t safe. That’s a problem when you’re trying to promote a bike culture. Additionally, with rack space at a premium, the usual group of polite cyclists (at least I like to think we’re all polite, looking out for one another) will become aggressive (i.e. like car-people). It’s unlikely that the owner of the blue bike below is going to return and be upset about the new scuff in his bike due to the Magna’s parking job. But, while Magna-owner was slamming wedging his bike into this spot, he could have carelessly accidentally done some damage to the bike next to him. And that’s like, not cool, man.

No respect for the dead

I get it, Magna needs to find a secure space somewhere and racks are limited. Scraps take up limited space, cyclist try to creatively engineer a way to secure their bikes with no regard for bike’s around them. Disorder will lead to disorder. It’s a valuable service when a city has bike frame removal from public spaces (just as graffiti clean-up is). DC does have this program but every time I walk/ride past the sorry remains of a bicycle I wonder why there’s not more red stickers out there.

Like some lame sci-fi movie, this one's been tagged for termination

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