Monday, July 24, 2006

Tall bike

Yesterday, a few of us were chatting about Floyd Landis's Tour de France win. It spurred a conversation about the Amish and the vast number of sub-cultural groups that exist, and the groups (unlike the Amish) who you aren't remotely aware of until you run into them by chance.

I remembered this conversation today, though thankfully I did not literally "run into" this group.

While driving home, I saw a guy riding a triple decker bike. By triple decker I mean it had 3 bike frames welded together, one atop the other. I was driving down a busy 3-4 lane arterial, and watched him as he tried to cross another busy 4 lane arterial. He was sitting about as high up as if you put a folding chair on top of a full size van. He was wearing shorts and a t-shirt, no helmet. While I admire the ingenuity of this contraption, and his guts to ride it, it also seemed pretty stupid to ride something like this in heavy traffic. If you were close enough to him, you may miss that there's a bike near you, since the rider is well above the top of most cars. And how would he dismount in a hurry without landing on his head? At best and with some luck, he may have a moment to throw one leg over the middle of the frame, and aim to jump on some nearby grass.

When I got home I googled "tall bike" and come up with this wiki on the subject. "Bike hacking" is apparently somewhat common outside of the carnival circles, and there are several clubs in Puget Sound and Portland. Who knew.

It makes me feel very old to dwell on the dangers of this bike and its use on busy city streets. But really, Dude, I respect your bike hacking skills and all, but think about where you're riding next time. And eat your vegetables.

(The bike I saw today was taller than this one.)

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