So, bike paint trails round two went great for the paint trail, but the fender did little to keep the bike clean from paint… The neon pink on the matte black bike did look cool though. The last photo is a screenshot from the video we recorded putting down the paint. It went on just like we intended it to and worked for quite a while until the paint ran out.

It was also really fun to have it all working and putting down tracks. It’s definitely been a fun project so far!

(Just in case people were wondering, we’re using washable paint so that it’ll all wash away.)

Some pictures of the latest prototype of our paint-trail-making-bike-device. We don’t have a name for it yet…

How it works: The entire system is gravity fed. Poke a hole in the bottom of the paint bottle and cover with electrical tape. Open bottle cap and invert in the holder on the back of the bike rack. When ready to paint, remove the electrical tape to allow air to escape the top, letting paint drip onto the tire and rub off onto the ground. 

The idea is to allow cyclists to leave their mark as paint trails on the ground. We think this would be a creative way to spark conversation about cycling habits and relationships with other modes of transportation. It’d also allow people to see where bikers go most often and respond to that in a constructive way through changes in social perceptions or even urban infrastructure.

We quickly made a new mount to hold the paint bottle and a fender to protect the bike and rider from paint splatter. The mount was much more solid than the last one, prevented the paint from missing the bike tire when dropping, and allowed the bottle to be easily and quickly changed. The fender was a must after the paint got all over the bike last time we tested it without the fender (the last photo with the old prototype). 

I was finally able to put a chemical wash on the steel to blacken the surface to match the black-oxide hardware I bought for the table. The two close-up photos are of two test pieces I did to figure out how the chemical worked. It took a lot of trial and error to get the pieces how I wanted them. I tried multiple coats, brushing it with steel wool between coats or after the final coat, and different application methods. I honestly still don’t understand what it takes to make this stuff work well because every time I did a test piece, I’d get different results. 

The last picture is my final piece finished. There was a moment of panic when the steel turned yellow after my first coat and I had no clue what had happened. I wanted to take a picture, but was so freaked out because it hadn’t happened on any test pieces. Fortunately, most of the yellow dust that formed, I think through oxidation, easily brushed off. After a second coat of the wash and the final coat of the spray on protector, it looked really nice!