Searching “cool bike racks” on the internet will lead to a plethora of the most creative, unique, weird-looking, genius bike rack installations around the world. Imagine chaining your two-wheeler to a street sculpture in the shape of a squid, an alien, a popular clip art, and all sorts of unusual shapes and forms. There’s even a bike rack equipped with a table so you can have coffee while on a break from biking.
Not to be outdone, the City of Manila now also has its own signature bike rack art installations. The racks are designed by Mark Wesley Pahate, an advocate of street art and graduate of Advertising Arts at the University of Santo Tomas. He was an associate creative director at McCann World Group and Harrison Communications prior to starting his own boutique agency, Eggshell.
One of the bike racks he designed is called Tabak which he says is a nod to the bravery of our Katipuneros. It’s placed strategically near the monument of Andres Bonifacio holding a tabak, also called the Kartilya ng Katipunan, in Ermita, Manila. Another bike rack called Maya was inspired by the bird that once flew in abundance over the city’s parks and churches.
At Rajah Sulayman Park, where one can see Manila Bay from across Roxas Boulevard, the Alon bike rack stands as a tribute to the city’s historic bay and beautiful sunset. Meanwhile, the Kalesa bike rack at Plaza Roma in front of the Manila Cathedral in Intramuros is a reminder of how the horse-drawn carriage used to rule the streets during Manila’s early years.
The goals of the installation project are manifold. The bike racks encourage a culture of cycling, which reduces traffic congestion and greenhouse emissions apart from being a sustainable solution to the mobility problem brought about by the pandemic. This is according to Alexander Grenz, president and chief executive officer of Allianz PNB Life, which spearheaded the project. The racks are also public art which can entice more people to experience Manila, said Laura Oexle, German Embassy Deputy Head of Mission, who’s supporting the advocacy.
Anton Siy, Pasig City’s chief transport planner, lauds the project, pointing out the importance of having more public art visible in the city. “Artful designs can be pleasant components of a comprehensive city-wide bike parking program!” he says.
Popular biking influencer @conyo.biker has posted a review of the bike racks on his Instagram story and seemed generally happy with the installations. He and his friend expressed a little concern though about the functionality of the Maya bike rack which they said is “kinda low.” They like the Kalesa bike rack the most as it fits any type of bicycle.
For those who don’t know yet how to correctly use the bike racks, Allianz PNB Life has released some photographs to show the steps. Meanwhile, Grenz is happy to share with ANCX that they are currently exploring partnerships with three other local government units, and are looking to bring Allianz Ride Safe to other parts of the Philippines, hopefully next year. “We are also supporting cycling groups and advocates to have stronger reach in pushing a Filipino cycling culture,” he adds.
Photos courtesy of Allianz PNB Life