Tour de Lincoln, our city’s first public art project, took place in 2003 when 71 bike sculptures were created, emphasizing the value placed on public art by our community. Lincoln also realizes how integral bikes are to our quality of life and is proud of its 134 miles of trails that criss-cross our city and have garnered national attention.
During the 27-month time period of the initial project, the Tour de Lincoln committee was learning how to do a public art project, and money for future maintenance for the bikes was not factored in. According to Mike Zeleny, Tour de Lincoln committee member and treasurer, “We had no idea at the time of planning that the bikes would be embraced by our community in such a powerful way, and we know that Lincoln does not want the sculptures to disappear from our city because of lack of maintenance.”
For those reasons, Liz Shea-McCoy, project director of Tour de Lincoln, continues her work to refurbish the bikes, one by one, according to need. Estimates for the refurbishment work on each bicycle range from $350 to $2,200, depending on the time, labor and materials necessary. Liz begins by asking the individual(s), organization or business that either sponsored the bike or purchased it at the auction for a refurbishment donation. Sometimes, it is necessary to collect a check or monetary promises, one by one, until the restoration amount has been attained.
In the case of “Color Wheel,” a call was made to Woods & Aitken LLP, which had purchased the sculpture at the auction in 2003 and installed it in front of the Cornhusker Hotel. Ed Tricker (attorney at Woods & Aitken) and his wife, Sue, stepped forward to refurbish “Color Wheel” and requested its new installation site to be within a Lincoln Public School. As a result, the most recent Tour de Lincoln bike to be restored was “Color Wheel,” which was installed inside Marilyn Moore Middle School.
According to Ed, “Our opportunity to give back to Lincoln by assisting in the restoration of “Color Wheel” was itself rewarding; however, the excitement that we experienced during the unveiling greatly exceeded our expectations. We believe that its placement at the entrance to Moore Middle School’s media center will create magical moments for the students, school personnel and visitors for many years to come.”