Bikes not Bombs

Bikes Not Bombs uses the bicycle for social change to achieve economic mobility for Black and other marginalised people in Boston, USA and the Global South. Each year, they collect roughly 5,000 used bikes and tons of used parts from supporters in Greater Boston and New England.

Creativepool 2022 Shortlisted Nominee

People's Choice 2022

4.Bikes not Bombs

“…more than
hipster posturing.”

Bikes are repurposed through their Youth Programs, where teens learn bicycle safety and mechanics skills in the process of earning bikes to keep for themselves.

“With transportation comes opportunity…”

Room Concept

This room focuses on those who have benefited from the Youth Programme. The bikes in the room represent them, each telling their story in their own words.

This room is just about people, no action or reaction to a cause as such, but a room to tell individual stories of those for whom Bikes Not Bombs helped solve problems and turn things around.
Plinths are arranged randomly to come across as a more relaxed, less formal environment than how it would seem if arranged in regimented rows. Think of art galleries; art put around the room walls causes visitors to subconsciously follow a perceived correct direction with any bottlenecks causing some people to skip past exhibits.
It will also create interaction between visitors as they change their position around the stand.
The swing tags provide some tactile contact, not just learning about the people through technology. It will break down the ‘do not touch’ barrier; it’s a real bike; you can turn the pedals, change the gears, use the brakes.
The LED screen on the opposite side of the tag wall shows information about Bikes Not Bombs. The content is controlled by visitors through a smaller touchscreen.
The Bikes not Bombs Room

Room Experience

Walkthrough: Describing the key points and visual features of the room

The Bikes not Bombs Room
1. Visitors step onto the stand at any point. There’s no furniture to affect flow direction through the display, just the plinths displaying repaired bikes on mechanics work stands. There’s a smell of GT-85 Spray Lubricant in the air!
The swing tag
2. Each bike has a swing tag hanging on the handlebars with a quote from someone who has experienced the Bikes Not Bombs Youth Programme. Bikes Not Bombs label their bikes in the workshop in the same way.
The Bikes not Bombs Room listening points
3. The quote encourages the visitor to listen to that person telling their own story, the path they were on before joining the youth programme and the one they are on as a result. Name, age and time on the programme are printed beside the headphones.
The Bikes not Bombs Name Tags
4. To illustrate the number of people helped by Bikes Not Bombs, the central wall is filled with rows of these swing tags; visitors are encouraged to add them to their scrapbooks.
The listening points
5. To add contrast between each side, opposite to the small paper swing-tags, the wall is a large-scale LED screen displaying a showreel about Bikes Not Bombs. The headphones used at the standpoints block out the sound from the showreel.
The listening points
6. The showreel gives information about Bikes Not Bombs and their work. Content is controlled by the user of the touchscreen in front of the wall. It also puts faces to names of those telling their stories from the workshop stands...
The Bikes not Bombs Room

Above: The view from the floor showing the bike stands and the swing tags hanging along the central wall.

The Bikes not Bombs Room

Above: The view of the opposite side of the wall, the LED screen display.

©1973–2023 Tony Clarkson
&Something Studio is a design studio based, but no way trapped, in Shrewsbury. Shrewsbury has trains and roads which lead both in and out.