PIQUA — Visitors to downtown Piqua will begin to see what looks like pieces of art, but are actually new, unique bike racks. The effort was coordinated and lead by Bike Piqua.
“When we knew we were going to have the Cycle Summit in May of 2015, we began planning different things,” Jim Hemmert, president of Bike Piqua, said. “I thought a specialized bike rack put downtown would be a neat thing to do.”
By “specialized,” Hemmert explained he was interested in seeing a bike rack specific to Piqua. The bike racks have Piqua’s name and logo on them. They are also “two-dimensional,” meaning one bike goes on each side of them.
“When we decided on locations, due to sidewalk restrictions, with the sidewalk, traffic on the sidewalks, we couldn’t use those four-wide typical bike racks,” Hemmert said. “We didn’t want to obstruct pedestrian traffic.”
These bike racks have been in the works since about late summer 2014. It was collaborative effort that included the donation of materials from Jackson Tube and J & J Enterprises in Piqua, and fabrications services by the Upper Valley Career Center (UVCC) welding and painting classes and SMT Industries in Sidney, according to Piqua City Planner Chris Schmiesing.
“We started in July or August of 2014 because we had to wait until the (Upper Valley) Career Center had their teachers and curriculum ready,” Hemmert said. “Once they got back in school, then they told us yes, they would like to get on this project.”
According to Hemmert, Jackson Tube donated tubing, J & J Enterprises donated paint, SMT bent the tubes, and UVCC welding and painting classes did the finish work.
The bike racks were installed throughout the downtown on Thursday by the city of Piqua Public Works Department.
“We don’t want people looking at these as art,” Hemmert said. Hemmert encouraged others to take advantage of them and use them as a place to park their bikes.
“These were strategically placed where bicyclists would be very welcomed,” Hemmert said. They were placed near where bicyclists would be likely to frequent.
“They were designed with Piqua in mind, with bicyclists in mind, and with the ability to ride your bike to certain locations as an alternate means of transportation,” Hemmert said.
Promoting alternate means of transportation is part of what Bike Piqua is all about. Bike Piqua, which emerged after the 2015 Miami Valley Cycling Summit, is a local chapter of Bike Miami Valley.
“Bike Piqua is an advocate group of bicyclists who want to promote and create opportunities for all forms of safe and healthy transportation,” Hemmert said. “We’re out there, and we’re looking for other enthusiast bicyclists that would like to join us and help us promote safe bicycling and alternative means of transportation.”
Those interested in getting involved in Bike Piqua are encouraged to first sign up with Bike Miami Valley or go to the Piqua Facebook page for more information. More information about Bike Miami Valley can be found at www.bikemiamivalley.org.
Locations of the initial bike rack installation on North Main Street are at the Water Street intersection (Lighthouse Café), the Ash Street intersection (Knobby’s), and the Greene Street intersection (Hallmark).
New bike rack locations on North Wayne Street are at the Ash Street intersection (Z’s) and the Market Street intersection (Post Office).
There is also a new bike rack located on West High Street at the Main Street intersection (Mulligan’s).
Reach Sam Wildow at (937) 451-3336 or on Twitter@TheDailyCall