Appleton Bike Corral Gets Rained On With Love

Yarn bombed.

Appleton’s first bike corral was controversial. Months of committee meetings resulted in a showdown at the city council, but the project won approval on a cold winter night. I was there with Bike Fed member Rob Gusky and his band of dedicated bike advocates to witness the victory.

The corral was installed in front of the Harmony Café in May and it has gotten steady use ever since. But nobody expected what happened to the corral last week. As Rob described it, the corral was “fiber bombed.” The local Appleton arts group Fiber Rain knitted what can only be described as bike rack cozies. They were done by fiber artist Leah Laczny.

This senseless act of beauty says a lot about Appleton and about where biking is headed in general. The corral generated some concern and it was the source of some divisiveness when it was only a concept. But after it was installed people began to understand that it was just another pleasant downtown amenity and one that helped local businesses. Now the racks are also works of art.

The fiber art wrapping just confirms the good feeling. It was a yarn nice thing to do.

About Dave Cieslewicz, Executive Director

Dave Cieslewicz served two terms as mayor of Madison where he set the city on a path for Platinum status as one of the best biking cities in North America. Before that he started his own nonprofit, 1000 Friends of Wisconsin, which focuses on land use and transportation policy. He has been an adjunct professor at the UW Madison's Department of Urban and Regional Planning where he teaches a class called Bikes, Pedestrians and Cities. He pronounces his name chess LEV ich, but nobody else does.

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