Because CicLAvia’s happening on Sunday I’ve got bikes on my mind — and was delightfully surprised when I found out about a knitted bike parked on Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica at Blogging.la. Sean Bonner, who snapped the photo for the local blog, noted that a similar bike had been seen in New York.
That got me googling for answers.
Thanks to Google, I discovered that the wooly bike actually isn’t knitted — it’s crocheted. In fact, it’s crocheted by an artist called Olek who currently has a show called “Knitting is For Pus****” at the Christopher Henry Gallery in New York City.
Olek’s bikes have been installed in streets all over New York — and the crocheting performance artist has even let New York audiences watch her create these bikes at art events — “socially conscious public ‘actions’ that shape, inform and transform the dialogue between performer, observer and participant,” according to 3rd Streaming, a creative space that hosted one of Olek’s events.
In an interview with Crushable‘s Drew Grant, Olek says that her street-installed bikes slowly fall apart — but that the disintegration doesn’t bother her. “The bike for me really represents, you know, the essence of New York. It’s falling apart, but for me it’s a beautiful piece.”
Of course, from that disintegration comes regeneration, something Olek illustrates through her work, which is often created from recycled materials. The bio on her website says Olek is “aggressively re-weaving the world as she sees fit.”
Now Olek’s street installations have arrived in Los Angeles, just in time for CicLAvia -- though granted, the one spotted bike I know of so far is in Santa Monica, not L.A., and not anywhere close to the 7-mile CicLAvia route. Apparently the soft bikes will also make stops in San Francisco and Las Vegas, according to According to G.
As a bicycle rider who knits and crochets — often with upcycled, pre-loved yarn, no less — Olek’s work brings together a lot of ideas how creative reuse and adaptation can make for colorful, human-scale urban spaces. Have you seen Olek’s bikes around?