The News Desk is a collection of news, notes and breaking items affecting the Fredericksburg community.
That’s not a bike rack, it’s a coveted work of art
The next time you’re at Hyperion Espresso in downtown Fredericksburg, check out the bike rack at the side of the shop.
At first glance, you may think it’s just an ordinary rack.
But look a little longer and you’ll realize that it’s actually a work of art. The top of the steel bike rack on Princess Anne Street features a silhouette of a downtown scene—complete with a church steeple, trees and bike riders.
“Just done with a torch,” says Orlando Davidson. “That was one of the first racks I made for the city.”
Davidson, 58, has been a welder for Fredericksburg’s Public Works Department for almost seven years. To say he’s resourceful would be an understatement.
Remember the big pineapple that was dropped during the city’s New Year’s celebration as 2009 became 2010? That was all him.
And the bike rack by the Dorothy Hart Community Center with the cannon silhouette? That was him, too.
He also makes more practical items. Recently, for instance, he welded compartments to the outside of a bucket truck for storing traffic-light lenses.
“Custom-building for the guys,” Davidson says.
“It’s impressive,” said city traffic signal tech James Haegele. “It’s nice to have someone that can just draw something up, build it and make it work.”
A Fredericksburg native and resident of Spotsylvania County, Davidson has held a laundry list of hands-on jobs—from assembly-line worker to repairer of roller-coaster tracks at King’s Dominion.
His first welding job was making stoves for General Products in the 1970s. A friend taught him how to weld, but he’s since received a host of certifications in the field.
Davidson has also worked at local plants run by FMC Corp. and Insteel Industries, both of which have closed.
Meanwhile, he’s managed to receive a patent for a product that allows people to attach messages or designs to their shoelaces. It’s called Letter Lace, and he’s looking for an investor.
“I’m into invention—on my own, not just for the city,” Davidson said.
If that’s not enough, he’s also raising birds that he hopes to sell for weddings.
And did we mention that he has experience as a comedian, singer and actor?
If Tyler Perry is reading this, Davidson wants you to know that he wrote a script that he thinks you would like.
“You’d be surprised, man,” he said. “I’ve done a lot of things.”
He says he was in a play with Judge Reinhold while the two attended James Monroe High School in the early ’70s. Reinhold, who went on to star in “Beverly Hills Cop” and other movies, played Frankenstein, and Davidson was the mad scientist.
No matter what he does, Davidson says he holds himself to high standards.
His then-boss’s reaction to the bike rack near Hyperion Espresso is a testament to that work ethic.
“He said, ‘Oh my God, everybody downtown is going to want a bike rack!’” Davidson recalled with a smile.
Jeff Branscome: 540/374-5402