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Posted on Mon, Nov 16, 2009 : 3 p.m.

Purple cardboard (f) attached to downtown (art) bicycle hoops in guerrilla act of civic art defiance

By Edward Vielmetti


An unauthorized purple cardboard lower case "f" graces the left side of an "art" bicycle hoop in front of Downtown Home and Garden on Ashley Street in Ann Arbor. (Photo: Adrian Cleypool)

An unknown artist has edited Ann Arbor's iconic "art" bicycle hoops. received the following manifesto as a news release on Friday night, passed on by Adrian's T-Shirt Printery owner Adrian Cleypool:

"Local art critics launched a guerrilla attack on a recent street art project. Dozens of the colorful, recently installed, bicycle Hitching Posts were modified by the addition of the purple cardboard letter F.
The F, attached with a single zip tie, dramatically perverts the message of the flat cut steel letters within the frame's tubular circular structure."

We asked a variety of people to comment, either by telephone or e-mail, on this outrageous work of art.

Susan Pollay, executive director of the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority, noticed these when she was out shopping and emailed this to me:

"Someone did a FABULOUS job fabricating f's to the perfect size, shape + color - we now have farts all over the downtown sidewalks. Why I love Ann Arbor!"

Roger Rayle, Research Associate, Community Systems Foundation

"The parking meter Mickey Mouse shadows were more subtle."

Adrian Cleypool, T-shirt printer, Adrian's T-Shirt Printery

"I love the whimsical nature of the commentary on the installations. We need more advantages for people hitching their bikes up. But it ain't art."

Edward Vielmetti can see two of the undecorated orange art hoops from his office at in downtown Ann Arbor. You can reach him at or 734-330-2465.



Wed, Nov 17, 2010 : 2:46 p.m.


Mon, Nov 30, 2009 : 9:17 p.m.

I don't get why they had to identify themselves as "art." Why not identify themselves as, I don't know, maybe bike racks?

delete this profile

Mon, Nov 30, 2009 : 6:15 p.m.

I saw a few of those and have to agree that it was a great improvement. Those racks are just plain ugly!

peter sabbagh

Mon, Nov 23, 2009 : 12:56 p.m.

Howard Stern and his group would have some interesting things to say about this issue. It may give the topic some national coverage.

Mike Mosher

Fri, Nov 20, 2009 : 7:42 a.m.

In summer '78 my Punk band the Windbreakers sang "'Scuse Me (While I Cut One, Baby)" on Dan Gunning's WCBN show. As an upstate Art professor now, I'm relieved to see flatulent performance art has lasting cultural impact in our mothertreetown. Vielmetti's right: "Thwart" would've been bookishly delightful too.


Thu, Nov 19, 2009 : 1:58 p.m.

Contrast the "this is art, because it says so!" approach to bike racks, with actual designed art that they used in downtown Louisville: Even Mt Clemens has artistic bike racks, based on this article: Of course, if you're a visitor from out of town you don't realize they are bike racks until you see a bike locked on one... And since they cost more than a standard rack, it would bring out the complainers who hate to see money spent on anything except their pet projects (although maybe the city could use the 1% for art fund if they did something like this!)


Tue, Nov 17, 2009 : 7:38 p.m.

Now that's funny!

Wystan Stevens

Tue, Nov 17, 2009 : 4:48 p.m.

I've been wondering if these hoops conform to OSHA requirements for street furniture. They are too low, for one thing. What will happen when blind people and drunks begin tripping over them?


Tue, Nov 17, 2009 : 12:17 p.m.

I don't like the originals either but how about a more classy modification.

Anonymous Due to Bigotry

Tue, Nov 17, 2009 : 4:44 a.m.

They should have made them of steel and welded them on.

Dug Song

Mon, Nov 16, 2009 : 4:14 p.m.

it looks like an elephant


Mon, Nov 16, 2009 : 3:43 p.m.

I saw this over at Kerrytown as well, and I thought it an apt improvement to the ugly design of these things.