For at least a year, my bike commute route has taken me past a speckled white contraption located outside a brick building in the Cambridgeport neighborhood of Cambridge.

Bike hood 1

At first I thought it might be a type of sculpture (right down the road is a stone sculpture that reminds me of a dragon’s hindquarters.) Then I decided, since it’s vaguely bike-shaped, it must be a hood intended to protect bikes from weather. But that seemed impractical: what institution, business, or city-living individual would go through the trouble of purchasing and mounting such a bulky apparatus for the benefit of just one or two bikes?

Bike hood 2

So I decided, despite my hunches, that I really had no clue what it was. Today, I was getting my hair trimmed in that same neighborhood and grabbed at the opportunity to satisfy my curiosity.

Bike hood instructions

That’s right, folks: a bike lid.