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Bike beautiful?

I like bikes. Great for transportation, great for exercise, fun for the kids, what’s not to like?

Unfortunately, I’ve found a fault with bikes in the past week which I can’t seem to shake.

It started a few months ago when I cleaned out my garage so well I could fit a car into it…as long as the bikes were vacated. No problem, we hung hooks on the ceiling and hoisted the “spare” bikes up to the ceiling, and put the two daily-use bikes in the semi-covered atrium near the front of our house. The atrium is secure yet makes for faster bike entry and exit compared to the garage or the side yard. As a result, moving the bikes has had an unexpected side benefit — we use them more because they’re right there, ready to go. But the new location also has an unexpected consequence: the bikes are quite visible through a big glass window, from every part of the living room. There they sit, just leaning against the plants. Ick.

Then this past week, we reorganized the TerraPass office space. A by-product of the reorganization is that all the bike commuters now have their desks in the same large room. The same large room where I have my desk, in fact. Since we have an open space with no cubicles or dividers, the bikes are, shall we say, prominent aspects of the room’s décor. Everywhere you look you see a bike hung with locks, train tags, helmets and sometimes clothing. It’s not unusual to have a half a dozen bikes strewn around the big room. Ick again. To me, it makes the place look like a either a parking lot or a dump.

Which brings me to the challenge. Is there no way to beautify a parked bicycle?

I scoured the internet for creative, interesting ways to store bicycles at home and found next to nothing. Most solutions — hooks, trees, cables — were described as “perfect for the garage” and at least as ugly as a bicycle. I looked for cool bike racks, and found a few great examples (see here and here and here), though most are designed for commercial applications and none of which would work inside an office.

As the bikers start to arrive at the office this morning, I notice that they park their bikes behind their desks, out of their sightline (but directly in mine). Even the diehards would rather not look at them.

Anyone have good ideas for beautiful bike parking? I’m looking…

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