Thousands of RAGBRAI riders pedaling into the Waterloo today are being greeted by a whimsical passage built from bicycle parts by a University of Northern Iowa arts alum. 

Victoria Reed (‘10), an accomplished metal sculptor with public art installations throughout the state, told Experience Waterloo that she enjoyed the creative challenge in crafting a piece to welcome the estimated 10,000 cyclists passing through the city.  

“It’s really like pushing your boundaries and try something crazy and new. I would have probably never picked up bicycles, as an art material or medium on my own, but here I am like making something out of bikes,” she said. “So, you know, it’s a challenge, keeps you on your toes.”

The four-piece sculpture, which was installed on Commercial Street in downtown Waterloo this week, will be moved to permanent locations on the city’s bike trails after RAGBRAI. The sculptures join Reed’s other works in Cedar Falls, Coralville and Guttenberg along with a campus installation near the Curris Business Building. 

“Public art is kind of the thing I do because I feel like art is for everybody,” Reed said. “Having something to say to people and then communicating through art, and it’s just a beautiful thing, it’s a unique thing and I love doing it.”

Waterloo Center for Arts Executive Director Kent Shankle told Experience Waterloo that “we wanted to create something substantive that really was a quality piece that people can enjoy after RAGBRAI ends and the riders leave.”

A festival with live music starts today at 3 p.m. in downtown Waterloo. More information is available here.