You can fight City Hall, sometimes. In this lovely little story, a Toronto woman decided to paint and spruce up an old bicycle that had been locked to a pole and abandoned for ages.
In an act of civic disobedience, she painted it neon red and planted the basket. Result: a parking ticket saying it had to be removed or destroyed. But brave citizens revolted and campaigned and protested...and out of that grew The Good Bike Project.
Now, not only has the ticket been withdrawn, but the artists and a local councillor have started "The Good Bike Project" that will take the idea across the city.
Instead of a parking ticket, it has become a ticket to see dozens of locations decorated with dozens of variations of the bike.
It has become a community project and a discussion about street art, bicycles and public art in Toronto. The City has hundreds of abandoned bikes and these are being made available for painting and decorating. The Mayor has begrudgingly said "it certainly will be exciting when these bikes appear around Toronto this summer." However the artists want to make it clear that he did not commission or donate City funds to the project.
Photo: the good bike project
Soon the bikes will be popping up all over, with the help of young artists that are transforming them. In order to make it more local and relevant, each bike will mark a site that promotes "the ethos of regeneration and community that sparked our creativity in the first place."
So there is a pink and blue one in front of a community centre, a green one where there used to be bicycle lanes, a blue one at the subway and on it goes.
The two artists are delighted and see it as an outcry by the public against the forces of conservatism in the city: "The positive reaction that the bike has received is certainly evidence of the thirst for public art in Toronto."