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New designs compete on the street

Bike racks have got a whole lot cooler in New York over the past week with the finalists in the city’s competition to create a new design being trialled on the pavements… sorry, sidewalks. New York announced the international competition back in March as part of its plans to encourage more cycling, which is already booming in the city. “We need something that is functional while simultaneously capturing the attention and imagination of New Yorkers,” said Department of Transport Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan. Fair enough. “[The competition] represents an important step forward in re-envisioning the New York cycling experience and the streetscape of our City.” Ooo-kay... “The winning design will have a far-reaching impact not only on the sidewalks and streets of the greatest city in the world, but on how our City thinks about transportation and the environment.” Enough already, as they say on Friends. The American-speak might be a bit OTT but you can’t argue with the sentiment and some of the 10 designs – which have been out there since 30 September being tested by cyclists and vandals alike – knock existing efforts into a cocked hat. They include a Y design from British duo Andrew Lang and Harry Dobbs; a funky coil effort from Florence-based architects Baroni & Valeriani; and our personal favourite, an amazing blobby design from Francis Anthony Bitonti. Hey, we don’t know much about art, but we know what we like… although we reserve the right to withdraw our endorsement if you can’t get a standard U-lock exactly where you need it. And it’s not all form above function. One of the rules of the competition is that all designs must have a minimum of two connection points between the bike and the rack so that the frame as well as at least one wheel can be secured. The judges include Steve Madden, Editor-in-Chief of US mag Bicycling, and David Byrne – yep, him who used to be in new wave band Talking Heads – and they’ll announce the winner on 24 October. To see all the designs and add your own comments go to http://nycityracks.wordpress.com/

Mat has worked for loads of bike magazines over 20+ years, and been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. He's been road.cc technical editor for eight years, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a past winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer.