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He Makes Giant Bicycles From Old Farm Machinery
Dennis Baker of Carlisle, Pa., takes old farm machinery and turns it into a work of art. His self-taught hobby of building giant 2 and 3-wheeler bicycles makes use of everything from cast iron seats to barn hinges, disk spools, cow stanchions, etc.
  The bicycles range in size from a 2-ft. high tricycle to a maroon 3-wheeler with handlebars more than 6 ft. high. About half the models are painted.
  The 4-ft. high rubber wheel on front of the giant maroon bicycle is off an old Ontario grain drill while the 1 1/2-ft. high rear wheels are off a grain elevator. A silo blower was used to make the front wheel fender. The cast iron seat is mounted on an old barn hinge, and disk spools serve as the pedals.
One bike is painted Deere green and yellow and has a 4-ft. high steel front wheel off an old Oliver grain drill. The frame was built from an old barn stanchion and the seat is off an old potato harvester.
"I think of them not as lawn ornaments but as recycled farm art," says Baker, who displays the bicycles in front of his house. "I don't live on a main road, but a lot of people still find their way here to look at them and take photos. They're a lot of fun to build and also bring back some history. A lot of old farm machinery is disappearing fast. My biggest bicycle has rubber wheels but all the others have steel wheels. I get more compliments on the rust-colored, unpainted models than on the painted ones."
"High bicycles, or high-wheelers, were popular in the 1800's. The bikes had a large front wheel, some with a diameter of more than 60 inches, and small back wheels to keep it steady when you got on and off. The large wheel made it possible to travel farther with each push of the pedal. It also helped make bumps less noticeable. I stick a steel pin through the spokes on the front wheel of my bikes so people won't try to ride them."
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Dennis Baker, 35 Lime Kiln Road, Carlisle, Pa. 17013 (ph 717 258-4610).

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2000 - Volume #24, Issue #2