Bright Bike mod in Brooklyn
In May of 2010 I saw this dark blue-green bike at Flatbush and St. Marks Place in Brooklyn. The design is stripped down to just three bands on the fork, top tube, and seat stays; one band is 1 inch, two are 1/2 inch. I was excited by seeing retroreflective vinyl on a bike in the wild. It seemed like it had to be related to the Bright Bike project.
In August, after a summer away from NYC, I walked in to my local bike shop, and noticed that they had the same configuration of vinyl on all of the ~20 rebuilt vintage bikes they had for sale. Earlier in the year I had brought the shop a couple of sample Bright Bike DIY Kits. When I saw their modification, I talked to the guy the guy in the shop, and he quickly confirmed their origins from those kits. In many respects, this was the goal of the project: get it out there, so that others could take it and make something better out of it. Awesome.
Their mod has much less reflective material, which means it is less visible at night, but also easier to put on, and less visually conspicuous during the day. I could imagine that visual conspicuousness during the day would be a significant factor for someone buying a bike with the kit already installed. It would have to be “tasteful” enough!
The other interesting effect of this distinctive design is it brands the bike as coming from this specific bike shop. They advertise the bicycles as “recycled” rather than “used.” They rebuild the bearings, and put new chains and tires and brake cables on them. They are clearly are trying to separate these bikes from the general used bike market, and their simple vinyl patterns becomes the brand’s mark.
Recycled bicycles at Brooklyn Bike and Board
People: Michael Mandiberg
Tags: daily update, photos, BrightBike, retroreflective