Why are these bikes in a tree?
April 14, 2016 5:44 PM   Subscribe

A friend sent me this photo of bikes locked up in a tree: http://imgur.com/JFvAVoN. Any guesses on what's going on here?
posted by morninj to Grab Bag (19 answers total)
That looks a lot harder to steal without being really obvious than three bikes just locked to a bike rack.
posted by griphus at 5:52 PM on April 14, 2016 [4 favorites]

Since you're asking for guesses...

I'd guess that the bike rack was full (or undesirable for some reason) and the people needed a place to lock their bikes.
posted by primethyme at 5:52 PM on April 14, 2016 [1 favorite]

IDK man, that looks like the kind of art installations some of my friends from Berkeley or Humboldt would do around their neighborhoods occasionally...
posted by Hermione Granger at 5:56 PM on April 14, 2016 [2 favorites]

One person did it for inscrutable, irrational reasons. The other two did it because the first bike made them think it was a worthwhile strategy - like in the USSR with the reporter who was able to provoke a massive line of people to form just by standing on the street looking like he was waiting for something.
posted by SMPA at 5:58 PM on April 14, 2016 [6 favorites]

I've locked my bike in trees before, usually at festivals in Golden Gate Park, where there are plenty of trees and not many bike racks, and Hardly Strictly's going on. This looks like Golden Gate Park, but not the part festivals happen in. Plus, that lone cable lock is practically cheesecake for a bike thief. I bet the owners are lazing on a picnic blanket nearby.
posted by tapir-whorf at 8:15 PM on April 14, 2016

I've seen people lock bikes this way on a fence. I mean, on the top of a fence, suspended above the ground. In that case, it was because there were a ton of bikes parked in all the usual spaces – the actual bike locking posts and street signs and parking meters – and there was no better place to park it at the time.
posted by deathpanels at 8:44 PM on April 14, 2016

People lock their bikes up high because they can. I do it sometimes for no particular reason other than because the fence - or tree - is there.
posted by sacrifix at 9:06 PM on April 14, 2016 [1 favorite]

My friends and I used to always lock our bikes in giant piles around things like trees. We called them a "bike pile" and we did it because we thought it was funny.
posted by special agent conrad uno at 10:45 PM on April 14, 2016

On the right side of the photo, there is a bike rack with available space.

I'm guessing either an art installation or someone's idea of a goof.
posted by 26.2 at 11:36 PM on April 14, 2016

> On the right side of the photo, there is a bike rack with available space

at the time the photo was taken. Maybe not at the time the the bikes were locked up.
posted by gorcha at 12:28 AM on April 15, 2016 [3 favorites]

My bike chain isn't long enough to go around the tree trunk but could deffo go around the branch. This would influence my bike locking up height in the absence of a rack or lamp post.

And also make me laugh my guts out because, tree.
posted by taff at 12:29 AM on April 15, 2016 [3 favorites]

The bike rack was full at the time, and the tree wasn't.
They weren't locked around the base because it was too big, or bikes aren't supposed to be on the sidewalk.
It was funny.

If they were older bikes, and it was around here, it'd be something like a shoe tree. (Where shoes go to die. There's one at the local skate park.)
Speaking of the local skate park... shoes, clothing, and boards that are on/in the trees are free for the taking. Doesn't look like that applies here, though, since they're locked.
posted by stormyteal at 12:48 AM on April 15, 2016

those bikes look new to me. maybe there's some kind of gathering to the right (say, in a park) and a local bike shop has decided to have a display of bikes.

on the other hand, they're three different makes, and i think the middle one, at least, is sold at walmart or similar, so perhaps i am just underestimating how rich and new and shiny everything is in the usa.
posted by andrewcooke at 3:23 AM on April 15, 2016

Maybe it's the beginning of a new art installation, to be viewed 50 years from now. Bikes In Trees.
posted by CathyG at 6:55 AM on April 15, 2016 [1 favorite]

If you hang your bike from a fence or tree, then it's much more obvious if someone were to try and steal parts from your bike. If it's on the ground, a thief might just be someone fixing their bike. No one would do work on a hanging bike.

I've seen this done in plenty of places. More than can be accounted for by kookiness. This along with lack of space at the time of locking up are my theories.
posted by cmoj at 9:30 AM on April 15, 2016

When I was working at Texas A&M (2009-2012, but not necessarily limited to that time period), this was a thing to do on campus. It was just chalked up to student goofs afaik.
posted by pepper bird at 9:30 AM on April 15, 2016 [1 favorite]

People do odd things for all kinds of reasons. Perhaps somebody just wanted to add a dash of harmless absurdity to the day. Nothing wrong with a little dada.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 10:19 AM on April 15, 2016

looks like some type of art installation 
posted by nathanm at 10:54 PM on April 15, 2016

It's to keep the bears from getting them, right?
posted by mon-ma-tron at 7:54 PM on April 16, 2016

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