Scott White, Cynwyd Recumbent Tricycle

Scott White, Cynwyd Recumbent Tricycle, Bike pARTS, Art in City Hall, Philadelphia

Bike pARTs

March 17– June 13, 2014. Exhibition sites: Art Gallery at City Hall and display cases on 1st and 2nd Floors, NE corner. Art Gallery at City Hall, Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy, 116 City Hall, Philadelphia, PA 19107, (215) 686-9912 email:

Art in City Hall issued a call for artists for the Bike pARTs exhibition in historic City Hall. Did you know that of the 10 largest cities in the United States, Philadelphia has the most bicycle commuters per capita? We also have over 200 miles of designated bike lanes, and a goal of installing thousands of new bike racks in the coming years. Recently, the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia in partnership with the City’s Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy received a Knights Arts Challenge grant to install artist-designed bike racks in six locations throughout Center City. The Art Gallery at City Hall will feature those designs this spring. To complement this presentation and support Philadelphia’s growing bicycle culture, artists from the region are invited to submit art that utilizes bicycle parts and explore themes of sustainability, health and the urban environment. Found object and kinetic sculpture, two dimensional designs, and works that explore the mechanics of movement are encouraged.”

Bike pARTS is all about bikes and Scott White is all about trikes. The Cynwyd Recumbent Tricycle is a work of art, engineering, life style design, ecological memes and aspirational human design. The designer talked to DoN about his winning entry the artist dubbed the Cynwyd Heritage Trail Recumbent Tricycle. The sleek design is elegant, the cabin is made of silk, the three wheeler is steered with the back wheel and is designed for rides on the bike trail system around Philadelphia. The Cynwyd Heritage Trail is connecting to the Schuylkill River Trail, a fairly flat bike path that runs all the way to Valley Forge. Artist and designer Scott White explained his transport hybrid concept to DoNArTNeWs:

“The Cynwyd Heritage Trail Recumbent Tricycle is electric. At this stage, it’s an electric tricycle. A recumbent for use exclusively on trails at this point. I hope that it will evolve into a bike that you can take on the trail or on the streets and then fold it up, collapse to take onto public transportation, trains and busses. So creating this connection with the bike trails has…I’m very interested in the Rails to Trails Initiative…and hope to, I hope these bikes will promote a way of commuting and travel using the bikes.

I’ve been sort of writing about how to promote them. One thought I had recently is when your child asks, let them know that everyone bikes. When I was a child I can’t think of anyone who didn’t know how to ride a bike. Or didn’t have a bike that they rode all the time. And then you reach a certain age and suddenly that transportation turns into either the transportation of choice, the automobile, or trains. And so, I hope to, with my bikes, rejuvenate the joy of biking. People have forgotten that it’s enjoyable, it’s good exercise, it’s eco-friendly. It could help get less cars or the road and more people biking.”

Scott White, Cynwyd Recumbent Tricycle

Scott WhiteCynwyd Recumbent Tricycle, Bike pARTSArt in City Hall, Philadelphia

Tell us a little bit about your process. Where did this idea come from? Did it just pop into your head?

“I have always been interested in bikes. I grew up to be a BMX biker and a free-styler, I also did a lot of road biking and mountain biking. It’s in my blood, it’s part of me. I love to bike. There’s a certain freedom when it’s just you and your bicycle. You don’t need anything else, really. And I’m a sculptor and my artwork sort of evolved into pieces that were mechanical in nature, I love to build things. And I love building things that have a function. So, a lot of my sculpture ended up being about building objects that make energy. My research in my sculpture evolved into, ‘How can I use sound waves to generate mechanical energy?’ And I did some research on that and found that it had actually been done already.

As everything has been. But? I think the pivotal piece for me was when I took a clock mechanism and converted it into a generator. I took a clock mechanism and a series of weights to generate electricity and I thought, from there, what do I do? And bikes became the, no pun intended, the vehicle for promoting green technologies, if I can put it that way? And I also I love designing and building things that I can use. Transportation fascinates me.”

Bike pARTSArt in City Hall, Philadelphia City Hall.

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Written and photographed by DoN Brewer except where noted.

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