ST. GEORGE – Nothing quite pops out at passing motorists along a busy roadway like a bright orange bike set against a dull red brick wall.
One such bike, completely spray-painted orange upon closer inspection, appeared on River Road just south of 200 South. The bike was chained to a light pole with no clue as to its origin or purpose.
Is it meant to be some kind of art piece? St. George certainly isn’t lacking for those. Or maybe it’s supposed to be some kind of reminder to motorists to share the road with cyclists? That might be the case if it were National Bike Safety Awareness Month, but that’s during May. So what is it and what’s the point of it?
The orange bike, along with a handful of others that have been spotted around St. George, are part of a guerrilla marketing campaign for Orangetheory Fitness, a new gym what will be opening near the new Smith’s grocery store off Mall Drive.
The marketing campaign appears to reach back to 2011 or slightly earlier in Florida following Orangetheory Fitness’s formation the year prior.
In December 2011, Patch.com reported orange-painted bikes started showing up in Tampa, Florida, as a way to herald the coming of an Orangetheory Fitness gym to the community – once people actually found out the reason for the bikes that is.
The gym’s owner told Patch.com that, “The orange bikes symbolize energy, fitness, affordability and fun.”
In St. George, however, the sightings of the orange bikes will evidently be short-lived as the way they are being used isn’t allowed under city code, Marc Mortensen, support services director for the City of St. George, said Friday afternoon.
City code does not allow signs to be posted on public property, such as power and light poles and the orange bikes fell into that category, Mortensen said.
Originally unaware of the orange bikes’ existence, city officials began getting calls from people asking about them, Mortensen said.
The answer came from a quick Google search that revealed the Orangetheory Fitness marketing strategy.
City officials contacted the incoming gym’s owners about the ordinance, of which they had previously been unaware. The situation was easily resolved with the owners planning to remove the bikes over the weekend, Mortensen said.
Attempts by St. George News to contact Orangetheory Fitness for comment Friday were unsuccessful.
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