Leaving your mark

A long while ago I came across a fun idea that would literally leave your – colourful – mark as you cycled along streets and roads. I kept meaning to post here, mostly as a future reference for myself.

Image via Coolhunting – click on it for its original link source

The ‘device’ is Contrail designed and made by Industrial Designer and Mechanical Engineer Pepin Gelardi and Teresa Herrmann.

Contrail is “a public art project that celebrates shared spaces, helps make bicycling safer and more fun.” as the designers say, and it simply allows the chalk to mark the rear wheel which then leaves a trail of you and your bike on road surfaces.

Images copyrights (c)Contrail

I enjoy the visual and semi-permanent presence that it can create of bikes, and I think it would great fun to walk, cycle or drive down a road marked of a multitude of coloured lines.

Also it’s nice to see that it’s not just a fancy, passing gadget, but that the designers see the idea as a promotion of:

  1. Encouraging more people to start biking
  2. Giving bicycling a stronger presence
  3. Helping cities rethink the use of public spaces

I think that it would be possible to recreate this in a less sophisticated DIY solution, so I am not posting about this as a product per se, but I really appreciated the idea of giving a more permanent (albeit easily washed off by a light rain) presence of bikes on our streets and roads.

Sometimes, or often, the continuous lack of support by local authorities in the development of a cycling culture can be truly disheartening, as things seem to move at snail pace, especially when on a regular basis cycling is treated as a sport and not as transport. I can imagine how wonderful the streets of Manchester would look if all the bikes that are used as transport would be equipped with some coloured chalk! Or just imagine if all the cyclists, who take part to Critical Mass, were able to leave a tangible mark! The possibilities are endless!


3 responses to “Leaving your mark

  1. This is a really fun idea and I love the angle of increasing the presence of bikes on city streets (even after the bikes have gone by). After reading more about it on their website, I think it would be fun for the occasional fun group ride. But I would have to use 1 liter for my bike commute and I would probably be stopped and questioned by the police. 🙂

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