Bike racks double as public art in East Atlanta 

The towering iron posies outside the East Atlanta Florist and the giant teacup at the entryway to Sacred Grounds aren't meant to send East Atlanta Village patrons on an imaginary trip akin to Alice in Wonderland.

The sculptures -- and 11 others throughout the Village -- are actually part public art project, part bike rack.

In response to the Village's pitiful absence of places to hitch a bike -- evidenced by cycles tethered to burglary bars and the area's few trees -- SouthStar Community Development Corporation and South East Atlanta Bike Users Group raised more than $8,000 to build the racks. The racks were installed over the past month at a cost of $700 each, which included a stipend for the artist. Along with the posies and the teacup, there's the mod wood-and-metal rack outside the Flatiron and an actual antique bike near the Echo Lounge, among others.

"At first, people didn't know they were racks," says Sharon Bagatel, head of SEABUG.

Bagatel got the idea for the racks when she and fellow cyclists would meet at Sacred Grounds for SEABUG meetings. They never had anywhere to lock their bikes.

"Out of that, the whole idea for the bike rack project was born," she says.

Bagatel is hoping the racks will promote more cycling to the Village, a good idea considering how difficult it is to find parking on weekend nights -- and given the heavy PBR consumption at The Earl.

To raise money for the last of the 13 bike racks, SEABUG is hosting a Fun Ride Sun., Oct. 20. For details, call 404-881-1112.


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