Zine and @Topic Instagram Post
Photography by Samantha Clark and James Tensuan
Google's headquarters in Mountain View spreads out over a grid of leafy streets and looks over the shoreline of the San Francisco Bay. Much of it resembles a park. There are lawn chairs, picnic benches and bikes everywhere.
The bikes are just one of the many perks Google employees enjoy. They take this colorful corporate fleet of two-wheelers both on and off campus, to the movies, transit hubs and restaurants in town.
Technically, only employees can ride them, but Google doesn't bother locking them up. Nor do they really restrict them to the Googleplex. As a result, the bikes end up everywhere like stray shopping carts.
Pedestrians have to step over bikes left lying on the sidewalk. Lovers on dates and tourists wanting a taste of Silicon Valley go to Google and ride the bikes on local trails. And people steal them without knowing the newer bikes have GPS trackers.
In 2007, Google bought 100 bikes. A decade later, there are more than 1,500.
In that time, Google bikes have become a symbol of the tech giant itself and of tech culture. Our goal was to show how they've become part of the landscape here, especially as Google plans to expand its campuses. The bikes are also visual proof of tech's privilege.