‘Private’ Bike Rack, We Hardly Knew Ye

IMG_0217Stephen Rex Brown All that’s left of the rack.

The bike rack on East Fourth Street that a scofflaw cyclist claimed as his own has been removed.

Kyle, the East Fourth Street resident who had his bike stolen from the rack last weekend, noticed that the rack was gone this morning. Sure enough, where once was an arched beam with “Private Bike Rack” painted on it there is now nothing more than six bolts in the sidewalk.

“It’s obviously a bummer that the bike rack had to go, but it’s better than having to put up with someone’s abuses,” said Kyle, who did not wish to give his last name for fear of a confrontation with the rack’s “owner.”

He added, “That guy probably wasn’t going to relent. If it were the bike rack or the guy, the only thing that would have changed is the rack.”

The Local is awaiting a response from The Department of Transportation, regarding whether it removed the rack between Avenues A and B. Back in October the department confirmed that it hadn’t installed the rack, and that it was illegal to claim it as one’s own. In fact, the department can bill whoever installed the rack for the expense of removing it. Of course, that seems unlikely given that the owner has never come forward, though rumors abound.

Update | 4:31 p.m. A spokeswoman for The Department of Transportation confirmed that workers removed the rack today, and that it had received no complaints about it since October.

privateNoah Fecks A note left on a “trespassing” bike last year.

At the root of the renegade rack is the growing popularity of cycling, along with a lack of places to park.

“There aren’t that many racks to lock your bike up on that block,” said George Horstmann, an assistant manager at Landmark Bicycles nearby. “I guess someone in that area was really territorial.”

While fixing a flat tire Mr. Horstmann guessed that he had heard about the particular rack for two summers, and that at least four or five different people had complained about their rides being tampered with while parked there. Some had their tires punctured, others had their bikes locked to the rack.

“It’s honestly a good thing they took it away,” he said. “Someone was going to get in a fight over it.”

But Kyle, who dared to ignore the nasty notes warning him not to park his bike there, didn’t feel like celebrating.

“It won’t bring my bike back,” he said. “I really want my bike back, but I don’t think that’s going to happen.”