Bicycle Recycling with a Twist

12 May

Students painting and decorating bikes in the sculpture studio, Wednesday Dec. 2, 2015. (Photo by Norm Shafer,

Despite working in Fredericksburg (at the University of Mary Washington) I tend to be partial to Richmond as my adopted hometown.  But Fredericksburg gets some bike-related things right in ways that Richmonders could learn from.  For example, the shared lane markings or “sharrows” in Fredericksburg are accompanied by a rather helpful sign that reads: “Bikes may use full lane.”

A really awesome idea I came across recently is a project called Recycled Cycles started by Carole Garmon in the Department of Art and Art History at the University of Mary Washington.  Garmon’s students salvage abandoned bicycles on campus that, according to the article, would usually end up — that’s right, in the trash!  They refurbish and spruce up the bikes, making them into functional art objects that are then placed around campus.

Does anyone know what VCU does with its abandoned bikes?  I know artists are all about originality, but there’s got to be something that art students or somebody else could do with those bikes!  Rag and Bones Co-op takes donations, but I’m not sure if they could handle the volume that VCU probably generates.  I’m sure there are plenty of low-income Richmonders or students would love a low-cost or free set of wheels.  If somebody is already doing something with these bikes, I’d love to know about it.


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