When Deputy BJ Myers saw a hand-made bike rack with a sheriff’s star sitting on the sidewalk outside the King County Sheriff’s storefront deputy’s office, he went looking for the scoundrels who did it.
He interrogated people at some local businesses until he learned the truth: It was part of a local business conspiracy — led in part by the revolutionaries at Proletariat Pizza — to provide safe and unique bike parking that encourages travel by bike and celebrates community pride.
The deputy told the White Center Herald how he brought the criminals to justice:
Tonight, my wife and I were in White Center for a slice of pizza and I noticed one of Matt’s racks was installed in front of the storefront! The rack is customized with a silver star in the middle and looks great. I stopped in at a couple businesses and asked if anyone knew anything about it. Word quickly got back to Matt that I was looking for him so he came and found me at Proletariat. He said that a couple weeks ago a group consisting of people from Full Tilt, Company Bar, and Proletariat, and perhaps others pitched in to buy the materials for a bike rack to put in front of the Sheriff’s Office White Center Store front. Matt said he and an accomplice installed the rack late last night. They even had a group of people volunteering to be lookouts for patrol cars that might catch them!
The bike rack looks great and I believe it associates us with others in the neighborhood behind the cause of encouraging bicycle transportation. I am also moved by the way in which they did it. What a great community to be a part of.
The deputy loves the new bike racks in town, designed and hand-crafted by Matthew Tilton of Tilton Fine Metalsmithing in South Delridge. There are also racks in front of Proletariat Pizza — which shares a space with Cranksgiving sponsor Caffe Delia — and Full Tilt Ice Cream.
Despite there being a dense business core near 16th Ave SW and SW Roxbury, there was very little bike parking available. White Center, just south of the Seattle border, does not have the same bike network and bike parking programs Seattle has. But there is a strong group of citizens and business owners who are trying change that.
DubSea Bikes has been organizing monthly bike tune-up events with the dream that the area will get some kind of bike shop or co-op soon. Today, there are few nearby options for getting a broken ride rolling again. Bike Works has also been rumored to be considering White Center as a future location for their adult basic bike repair class.
By taking matters into their own hands, these community members are creating a bike culture in White Center that is unique and exciting. It’s about affordable, easy and healthy transportation, and it’s about supporting the local economy. It’s a practical and fun message, and it says a lot about deputy Myers that he has chosen to embrace and support it (especially compared to yesterday’s total downer of a story from Seattle).
According to Matt Weiner of Caffe Delia, more racks are planned despite their murky-yet-law-enforcement-pleasing legal status:
Pretty cool for a bunch of illegally installed guerrilla bike racks. Or, are they illegal? I don’t really know. Either way, law enforcement down here loves’em.