A trail unlike any other.
The Billings #LightBikeTrail is a mapped and walkable trail of 10 wall mounted LED-lit bicycles, each paired with beautiful and unique, painted murals. The trail runs through a number of downtown Billings alleyways. The project creates a landscape of clean and inviting alleyways for future alley-scape projects. *Additional locations may be added to the #LightBikeTrail in the future.
The project was inspired by a 2019 Downtown Billings Alliance public art installation. The inspired mural, on the south alley wall of the Pub Station, was designed by Molly Schiltz (Current event manager at the Yellowstone Art Museum) depicts an artistically interpreted aerial view of interconnecting roads, walkways, bike trails, even alleyways transposed on the topographical view of our landscape with hills and mountains. The network of pathways is shown in the wake of an illuminated bicycle, one of Billings’ most signature and beloved modes of transport, recreation and community.
That initial mural’s design is meant to show how connected our community really is both through our shared culture, as well as physically, from the bike trails off of the rims and river. The illuminated blue wheels of that initial LightBike drew a lot of attention to a once overlooked alley space while its connected mural has found its way into hundreds of photoshoots and memories. This initial public art installation did more than depict how connected we are, it became a place of connection and a catalyst for the creation of the #LightBikeTrail that further connects our community.
The second LightBike was mounted in April 2021 on the North Wall of the Hedden Empire Building in the spacious N. 29th Street Alley. This second bicycle installation was not only paired with two new large scale murals but also partnered with an overhead lighting installation (a project partly funded by a 2020 Space2Place Grant).
The community started to notice the positive impact the transformation of the two downtown alleyways made on the perception of safety. The once dark and overlooked spaces were now lit and inviting, it didn’t take long before more property owners and businesses wanted their alleyways included in the project. At the end of 2022 the #LightBikeTrail was awarded a $40,000 Montana MainStreet Grant from the department of commerce to complete the project. Downtown Billings visitors can explore the #LightBikeTrail with the aid of a digital and physical map. A QR codes placed on the walls of each location offers information about each of the murals.