Sunday, September 7, 2008

creative bicycle mechanics

Phoenix Bikes is probably one of the most cost-effective educational institutions anywhere:
Our vision is to provide a fun, safe, and challenging environment for local youth through building & running great community bike shops. We believe this is a unique way for young leaders to learn teamwork, explore social entrepreneurship, develop business and leadership skills, and serve others.

Our shop also provides affordable bikes and bike repair services for our community.
Anyone who knows teenage boys can recognize the appeal and value of this endeavor. Phoenix Bikes has displayed some of their bikes at various Arlington community events. I especially remember an awesome double-height bike at the last Arlington Neighborhood Day parade.

At the recent Planet Arlington World Music Festival, two amazing creations from Phoenix Bikes were on display. Local artists Rob Lindsay and Luke Idziak worked with youth mechanics at Phoenix Bikes to create two pedalable sculptures, Charger and A Cosmic Egg.

As described on an informational flyer, Charger is a "giant self-illuminating rhinoceros." Apart from its horns, it looks to me more like a friendly mole. Charger comes out of the dark in response to a Led Zeppelin tune in my Planet Arlington video report. The plastic tubing that forms the body of Charger is recycled from the Arlington art installation CO2LED.

A Cosmic Egg is described as a "life-size cyborg bursting forth from the center of the earth." A Cosmic Egg has some artistic affinity with Butch Anthony's Rosslyn Bicycle Kiosk. The latter, sadly, no longer exists. A Cosmic Egg radiates bike power. This is imaginatively pleasing, especially since as a cyclist I tend to cower on the far edge of the road and hope that I won't be killed by some driver engrossed in a cell-phone conversation.

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