September 18, 2015 – By Amy Lacey, WRIC 8 News
ASHLAND, Va. (WRIC) — In every corner of Ashland, as far as the eye can see, bike gardens line the streets, add color to the roofs of buildings and are full of life.
“The bike gardens are the coolest thing to happen in this town in a while,” says Ashland Main Street Association Executive Director Tom Wulf.
He explains the Association’s Design Committee found inspiration from a public art project in La Grange, Kentucky but put a spin on it to represent this unique town.
“We are eclectic and we are very different and we have all kinds here and we also have lots of things to do,” adds Association Board Member Carolyn Peart.
This effort started with five bike gardens sprinkled throughout the town, but then it took off.
“It was infectious,” says Wulf. “The bike gardens started growing, if you will, spontaneously, and now about 70 of our businesses have bicycles in front of them, and a bunch of our residents have installed them in their front yards as well.”
The businesses are using the bike gardens to draw in people of all ages, who will potentially be in Ashland for the UCI Races. A portion of the course will take cyclists from nearby King’s Dominion down Route 301.
“We’ve got so much to offer, and this brings international attention to us which I think is fantastic,” explains Bartlett Shaw, a barista at the café inside The Caboose Wine & Cheese.
Everyone who has designed a garden or participated in someway hopes the effort hopes to make Ashland a memorable stop.
“It’s sent a message to the world that we wanted to send. We are a great community. We are full of all different colors and shapes and sizes, as in the bike color’s and the sizes and the different flowers,” says Peart with a smile.
The Ashland Hanover Visitor Center has a guide for anyone who would like to see the gardens. There is also a facebook page with photos of many of them.