Beautiful bike racks improve cities

Art hits the pavement in a Canadian bike rack design competition.

The environmental crisis has sparked a love affair (superficially, at least) between some North American municipalities and bicycles—and it’s manifesting itself through art and design competitions such as New York’s City Racks and Toronto’s Gateway Bike Stand Challenge. Since last July, bike racks designed by none other than David Byrne, musician and artist, have studded the sidewalks of New York City. Byrne, who was recruited to judge NYC’s competition and has been an avid cyclist for 30 years, caught the bug and ended up designed nine iconographic bike racks himself. They were then installed around the city—serving as a striking example of form meets function, and the power of the bicycle to transform our cities into greener places.

In Toronto, the owner and architect of a downtown property, along with the Ontario College of Art and Design (OCAD), recently held a similar competition: the Gateway Bike Stand Challenge. Its goal? To use the art and design of bike racks to enrich Toronto's urban landscape. Thirty-five OCAD students submitted designs to the competition, which included a $6,000 first prize. Click next>> to see five prize winning designs, including the first prize winner.

Image: A David Byrne-designed bike rack, courtesy of