Bicycles painted a glaring fluorescent orange — tires and all — are popping up around town, propped against trees and poles.
They're anchored to the ground, and even if you could get them loose, they don't work.
The bikes are promotions for Orangetheory Fitness, a health club with centers in St. Petersburg, New Tampa and one soon to be opened in South Tampa.
Club co-founder Terry Blachek said the marketing strategy is working. It draws the attention of people driving and walking, and creates a buzz. After a while, wheel covers or signs are put on the bikes announcing the opening of a new Orangetheory Fitness club in the area.
"We do it as a teaser campaign," Blachek said. "When we are opening up a new property, we put 12 to 15 bikes out in community. They are fluorescent orange and a lot of people start asking questions. It creates a lot of excitement."
He said he began using the bikes as mysterious advertisements in May before opening a club in Fort Lauderdale. They were brought to the Tampa Bay area when the Orangetheory Fitness club opened in St. Petersburg. They typically are placed on private property, not in the right of way, to avoid legal problems, he said.
"We're trying to separate ourselves out from every other health club and fitness center in the country," he said.
Unique marketing is one way to do that.
The newest club, at 115 S. Dale Mabry Highway, should open within the next couple of months, he said.
Blachek said he buys the bikes from thrift stores for $10 each and paints them himself.
"None of them actually works," he said.