University of Kansas

This KU bike rack looks like 'CRAP,' some say. But they have it all backward.

The bike rack at KU's new outdoor campus was designed to read "PARC" — but some see "CRAP."
The bike rack at KU's new outdoor campus was designed to read "PARC" — but some see "CRAP." Nicholas Lerner, Facebook

The four letters making up the stands of the new, student-built bike rack at the University of Kansas can be read two ways — but only one was intentional.

The other way that some are reading the bike rack is, well, a little-bit CRAP-py.

When facing "the right way," the metal bike stand reads PARC — an acronym for Prairie Acre Ribbon Classroom.

The architecture students who designed it even posted a photo of the bike stand before "creative minds" got to work.

"PARC Bike rack handy for stopping by for a break from your ride," the photo caption says.

And yes, it really does read "PARC."

The same can't be said for those who read the acronym from the other direction.


Former KU communications student Nicholas Lerner posted a photo of "CRAP" to the public Facebook group, "MAN !!!! LOOK AT THIS THING I SAW IN A LAWRENCE, KANSAS ALLEY !!!" The group's description says it is dedicated to admiring "all things cool, bizarre, filthy, dumb, dead, hilarious, and/or just all-around interesting found in the many alleys, streets, and byways of Lawrence."

"The mischievous part of me wanted to sneak up the hill and rearrange the Prairie Acre Ribbon Classroom sign lettering," Lerner wrote. "I didn’t get a chance before they were installed, though upon seeing the finished product, I didn’t have to. I think it looks like.... "

He let group members fill in what the bike rack looks like. Though, right below the text was a photo of the bike stand that read "CRAP" — not "PARC."

The photo posted on May 13 quickly caught Lawrence residents' attention.

One person replied that it was legendary. Another just said "Oops."

Richard Brown asked who "proofread" the sculpture. Mariah Sanford doesn't understand how nobody had noticed the two-meaning bike stand.

Regardless, Michael Branden said "It'll make a fine bike rack. Crap a diem!"

Then, on Friday, the Lawrence Journal-World tweeted a photo of the statue — looking like "CRAP" — along with the words "Wait, what does that spell? Some think a bike rack at KU's PARC looks like ... "

Project PARC KU replied to the newspaper that same day.

"This was a student led design-build project and the sign stands for Prairie Acre Ribbon Classroom (P.A.R.C.)," the tweet says. "The photograph shown is not the intended vantage point, nor is it the message of our project."

The student group also tweeted that “creative minds” came up with their own interpretations of the bike stand.

Just days before the official unveiling of the outdoor classroom and bike rack, PARC students had posted a photo of the not-quite-complete bike rack. The photo shows "AP" — which would soon read "CRAP" from that same angle.

A spokesperson with KU did not immediately respond to a request for comment regarding the bike stand and if any adjustments have — or will — be made to clear up the "CRAP."

The PARC Project was part of a student-led effort to design KU's first outdoor classroom, according to Launch KU.

"It is our mission to create a space that caters to both group and individual study, and achieving accessibility for patrons, students, faculty or visitors to campus," the project description says.

The outdoor campus was unveiled May 9.