COLUMBIA — A crowd formed as Lisa McGill rode her bicycle on Saturday through Flat Branch Park.
Her bicycle looked like the body of a car, complete with rearview mirrors.
Monday Skate Party; 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., Empire Roller Rink Bicycle Maintenance and Commuting Tips; 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., GetAbout Columbia office Tuesday Spring Health & Fitness Expo and Awards; 5:30 to 8 p.m., the ARC Wednesday GetAbout Columbia Open House; 4 to 7 p.m. Women’s Bike Repair and Maintenance; 6:30 to 8 p.m., Tryathletics Thursday Columbia Try Transit Day; Free city bus rides all day PedNet Scavenger Hunt, 6 to 8 p.m. starting at Grill One 5; $10 entry fee Friday Breakfast Station Day; 7 to 9 a.m. at various locations Saturday Mother’s Day Weekend Ride; 11 a.m., Twin Lakes For a more information visit getaboutcolumbia.com or artinthepark.missouri.org To register for the event, visit pednet.org or getaboutcolumbia.com or call the GetAbout Columbia office at 442-7189.
To build the bicycle named “Re-Cycle,” McGill dug through Columbia’s salvage yards and re-purposed parts of old cars.
“I crawled all over and cut parts off of cars, and then I used some welding equipment,” she said. “It was so much fun to work on and to see it all come together.”
The Columbia Art League commissioned McGill to build the bicycle, or ArtCycle, which was featured at the city’s seventh annual Bike, Walk, and Wheel Week that began on Saturday afternoon.
Hundreds gathered at the park to promote non-motorized transportation at the week’s kickoff, where Mayor Darwin Hindman helped open the event with a greeting to the crowd.
“It’s a sight for sore eyes to see all these orange T-shirts,” said Hindman, referring to crowd of people wearing T-shirts handed out for the event.
Hindman competed in the Mayor’s Challenge for the seventh year, this time against city manager Bill Watkins. In the challenge, pairs raced against each other to run errands, one on a bike and one in a car. Hindman raced on a bike.
Aside from informational booths and cycling activities, many came to the park to enjoy the good weather.
Steve MacIntyre and Jackie Pearce, participants in the event, credited the warm weather with providing encouragement to participate in Saturday’s event.
“I’m trying to motivate myself to ride my bike to work, and seeing all this support for cycling helps,” Pearce said.
A highlight of Saturday’s activities was the ArtCycle competition.
Diana Moxon, executive director of the Columbia Art League, came up with the idea while driving along West Boulevard. She wants to see art become more prevalent on the streets of Columbia.
“Wouldn’t it be great to make public art, like they had the concrete cows when they painted them and created art around the city,” she said. “But rather than having cows, to have ArtCycles.”
Moxon commissioned ten local artists to create the first ArtCycles that were on display at Flat Branch Park. She said she hopes these flagship cycles will inspire Columbia’s residents to design their own submissions.
Each artist started with a generic bicycle but worked completely differently.
Dennis Murphy, an illustrator, created a CatCycle using his personal experience as a jumping off point. He said the work celebrates cats and raises awareness of the city’s feral population. The bright orange bicycle, decorated with black stripes, featured light-up whiskers.
McGill, who created Re-Cycle, designed her bike after reflecting on her commute from her home on Cherry Hill to her job on Ninth Street by bike each day.
“People will drive three blocks to get to work just to go in their car,” she said. “You could cut out a couple of steps and ride your bike, save the environment and be awesome.”
The ArtCycles will be featured around the city until Sunday, June 8, when the competition will conclude, and the winner will receive a $1,000 prize.
About 3,000 people have registered for Bike, Walk, and Wheel Week, said Chris Walthall, community program coordinator for Columbia. “We’re aiming for 4,000 and we’re hoping for 5,000,” Walthall said.
Last year’s event had over 3,000 participants.
Other events this week include a skate party on Monday and free city bus rides on Thursday. Though it is expected to rain by Wednesday, temperatures are expected to remain in the high 60s and reach up into the mid-70s as Bike, Walk and Wheel week continues.
“What a wonderful idea this is to promote bicycle commuting,” said Linda Romine, a Bike, Walk and Wheel Week volunteer of four years. “It’s good for your health and good for the environment.”