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Neon orange art bike gives rise to the Rob Ford–approved Good Bike Project

This bike inspired a public art project (Image: Morgan Passi)

Earlier this month, Caroline Macfarlane and Vanessa Nicholas caused quite a stir when they decided to give a retired Raleigh locked outside the OCAD Student Gallery on Dundas Street West a much-needed makeover, turning the abandoned and rusting bicycle into a neon orange work of public art. At first, the city responded by slapping a removal notice on the bike for the two artists’ efforts. But then local councillor Adam Vaughan stepped in to save the day, and apparently the bike will remain where it currently stands. Now, that little orange bike has spawned an entire public art movement—The Good Bike Project—and even Rob Ford is behind it.

The National Post has the details:

Mayor Rob Ford threw cycling and public art enthusiasts a curveball on Wednesday by boarding a neon bike that had garnered attention when the city ordered the art project removed from a downtown street.

Mugging for cameras in council chamber, Mr. Ford’s impromptu photo op came following the launch of “The Good Bike Project,” which will reclaim abandoned two wheelers, paint them bright colours and place them around the city.

We think it’s about time public art caught a break. As Ford’s clean-walls crusaders continue to purge the city’s concrete canvases of graffiti tags and commissioned murals alike, we like to think the Good Bike Project is something of a coup for artist-rebels against the paint-removing powers that be. Heck, even Ford took the neon piece of public vandalism for a spin at city hall, jolly grin and all. Score one for the rebellion.

Mayor Ford on board ‘Good Bike Project’ [National Post]

  • perpetualbubble

    painting an abandoned bicycle is a much better idea then what many cities do…paint hideous polyeurethane cows etc.

  • shokatoe

    I’m not impressed, although I agree that it is a way better way than celebrating cities with cows. There are organizations that take bikes and rehab them for disadvantaged children to fix up and use.

  • Tony Wolfaardt

    My wife just past away last year after a brave fight for 16 months with Breast Cancer. I would like to donate my wife Barbara’s bike to Caroline, and she can spruce it up in beautifull pink in memories of all those brave “Cancer Warriors”in Toronto.

    Look at our website under Fantasy Airbrush “Cancer Warriors:” page and then you can see what she did for the Cancer fundraising events. You are welcome to contact me by phone as well 905-7998292

    This could be great for the Carolines art and great for the Cancer fight.Please try and get this to Caroline.

    Thank you

  • somegirl90

    Tony, that is a wonderful idea, and a great way to commemorate your wife, even if it is a small way. I hope Caroline gets in touch with you.

    I am not sure this should be a project in itself. I love Toronto for its little quirks and I would consider this to be one of them, but it’s not as exciting when it get a name like “the good bike poject” and get politicized in this way.

    It was the OCAD students’ idea… Just because you’re not opposing it doesn’t mean you should steal it! I don’t see this as an improvement on Ford’s part. what is good about trying to own even the minutest forms of “art.” Or in this case just some goodwill idea to make a sidewalk a little happier.

    Even though he let it be, in my mind, Ford stole the orange bike’s spirit.