Lisa McKibbin was out for a bit of nature and a dog walk recently when she happened upon a surprise on Healdsburg Ridge above Fox Pond. It was a bike cemetery embellished with brightly colored prayer flags.
"I was totally moved by them," she said. "It was so beautiful and so cool to see this art, prayers for peace, love, respect of nature and, of course, our very much-needed rain."
McKibbin had stumbled across Bike's Peak, an informal monument that dates back to the wildfire that swept through the area in 1988, destroying Tim and Candace Fox's home as well as a rental home inhabited by Paul Draper, a carpenter, handyman and bicycle mechanic.
Draper received a shipment of broken bikes, which he stored on the property and used for spare parts in his bicycle repair business. The fire, which started along the roadside at 16977 Healdsburg Ave., quickly spread, destroying the two homes and rendering the bikes useless.
No one knows just how the bikes became sculpture, but Healdsburg Realtor Eric Drew, who has worked with these properties since the 1970s, takes credit for the name.
Part of the original parcel was sold to the Sonoma County Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District and is now used by the nonprofit LandPaths organization.
Third-grade students participating with LandPaths visit the property four times a year, once in each season, learning to care for the land and give back to the property they have been visiting. They have pulled invasive fennel and planted native grasses, as well as creating the art project.
Colleen Flores' third-grade students at Alexander Valley School added the stewardship flags.
"It's a magical place for the students," said Bree Arthur of LandPaths. "There's something about the circle of bikes that calls to them. Not only did they create their stewardship flags, they 'curated' their exhibit in an artistic manner."
"I love LandPaths, and all they do and are teaching our children," said Nicteha Peline, an Alexander Valley parent volunteer, who has a child in Flores' class.
To learn more, visit landpaths.org.