A Toronto artist repainted an abandoned bike that had been locked in front of a storefront gallery for years, sanding it and spraypainting it eyepopping pink and adding a flower-basket. This eyesore-to-sculpture transition was well-loved in the neighbourhood, but the City of Toronto decided that the act of decorating the bike has converted it from abandoned trash to "a bike stored on public property" and is now threatening fines if someone doesn't angle-grind the lock off and haul the bike away.
On the only day that it wasn't raining last week, I set myself to work on the Raleigh. I sanded it (a laborious task since the entire frame of the bike was covered in rust) and then I primed it. As the bike went from rusted brown to white people began to ask me about it. What was I doing? Was it a memorial? The long forgotten bike was creating some buzz. Once the primer was dry, I spray painted the bike neon orange. A colour Vanessa and I picked out together at Montana Colours, aka The Bomb Shelter.RE-CYCLING (Thanks, Tlowden!)
The bike was glowing and so was I. It looked better than I had imagined. It looked fucking incredible (excuse me, but the F- word is absolutely necessary here). When Vanessa came to see the finished result, the two of us danced around the gallery squealing for joy. We agreed that this would be the first of an ongoing project called the "really-fucking-cool-urban-street-project" or just "the neon bike project."...
Yesterday, I arrived to the gallery with flowers, ready to plant them in the basket, only to find a notice from the city stapled to our neon bike. It turns out it is illegal to store bicycles on public property, and that we have seven days to remove it before we are fined and it is taken away to be destroyed. The funny thing is that this bike has been sitting in the same place for years, unnoticed by the city. However, once it is brightened and made beautiful, it's got to go. I am determined to save the neon bike that makes so many people happy. Please help my by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org with your reason(s) why the neon bike is A GOOD THING, and why it should remain! We've got 6 days!!!!
I write books. My latest is a YA science fiction novel called Homeland (it's the sequel to Little Brother). More books: Rapture of the Nerds (a novel, with Charlie Stross); With a Little Help (short stories); and The Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow (novella and nonfic). I speak all over the place and I tweet and tumble, too.