‘Crossroads’ – New bike arch added to city landmarks

Published 7:10 am Friday, July 6, 2018

A new piece of art rolled its way into the city earlier this week.

The Bike Arch was installed on Tuesday, with assistance from Austin Public Works. A large arch with two red and two blue bicycles riding over a segment of the Austin City Trails near the Lions Shelter, which is visible from Oakland Avenue, now stands as a visible landmark for those coming and going through the city.

Steve Kime, chairman of the Vision 2020 Biking and Walking Committee, said this project’s location was believed to be the “crossroads” of the town, and that its unique physical characteristics may prompt more people to stop by and take a look.

Email newsletter signup

“It’s just a great spot,” Kime said. “It’s something that we’ve envisioned as a place where people can stop and take a picture with the iconic bike markings, and symbols. It’s really fun so everybody knows where you are.”

Nancy Schnable of Discover Austin expressed her delight after seeing the arch for the first time on Thursday afternoon. It was a project that was conceptualized from partnerships among several parties such as Vision 2020, the city of Austin, Extreme Powder Coating in Blooming Prairie and Riverland Community College, to name a few.

To celebrate the new landmark, Schnable said the ribbon cutting ceremony is scheduled at 4 p.m. on July 20. The public is encouraged to attend with their bikes and to take a ride.

“Austin is known as a biking destination, and is recognized for being bike-friendly and we really love the sense of community here,” Schnable said. “This sculpture sends a message throughout Austin the sense of family and community. It’s very inviting.”

So far, the arch was well-received, according to Schnable. She shared that majority of the comments on the new piece of art—as well as a land marker—gives Austin another type of attraction for tourists and visitors to mark their destination.

“A lot of projects sometimes fly under the radar, but residents have made so many overwhelming, positive comments,” Schnable said. “It’s beautiful and very exciting to see it come into completion.”

A bicyclist rides on the Austin City Trails in front of the newly installed Bike Arch, which is now a city landmark for visitors, tourists and residents. Hannah Yang/hannah.yang@austindailyherald.com

‘It makes a statement’

The Bike Arch was suggested several years ago with Vision 2020, and had lived in the back of Kime’s mind. It was a couple months ago when someone brought the idea around again and, this time, the project began taking shape.

“It’s been in progress for a few months,” he said. “It’s been a great team effort on that.”

Kime shared that the four bikes on the arch were actually donated through the Red Bike Program, and Bob Bender, an industrial welding program instructor over at Riverland Community College on the Albert Lea campus, began his work on the arch with welding, sandblasting and painting, with additional help from Extreme Powder Coating in Blooming Prairie.

Eventually, the city donated two lamp posts as bases for the arch, and Austin Public Works installed the arch on July 3. Previously, the Austin City Council had approved placing the Bike Arch at the Lions Shelter, which was developed by the Vision 2020 Biking and Walking Committee and was comprised of old bicycle frames that were welded together end to end.

“It kind of makes a statement,” Kime said. “I’m in Austin, Minnesota. It’s something that stands out as symbolic of Austin. When I look at (the arch) I see it depicts a ride with Mom, Dad and two little kids with the two bigger and two smaller bikes. It’s a bike ride as a family, and I think it’s a great message.”