Thursday, July 20, 2006

The Atascadero Escape Bike

The Atascadero Escape Bike

One of the many highlights of the show is a bike built by an inmate at the Atascadero State Correctional Facility in the late 50's. Utilized as his escape vehicle, he fabricated the bike from materials found in the maintenance facility, it is speculated that the prisoner initially discovered the fenders and the rear wheel hub shell, motivating him to complete a bike.

The only true manufactured bicycle parts are the fenders and rear hub. The frame, wheels, and componentry were crafted from available scrap. The inmate's resourcefulness and remarkable ingenuity are exemplified by his inclusion of a suspension fork and saddle; hand hammered bent bars, and wheelset. The tires are made from a garden hose. According to local folklore, the fugitive fled the prison by riding the bike to San Jose. It is unknown why the escapee ended his trek at Faber's Cyclery of San Jose, either he needed parts to continue his escape, or was showing off his handy-work. The authorities soon discovered the whereabouts of the fugitive and a gun battle ensued in the backyard of Faber's Cyclery in San Jose amongst a large pile of bicycles. The police apprehended the escapee, leaving the escape bike abandoned in the pile. The history of this bicycle is still under investigation.

Blue suede shoes.

When I see bicycles that have belonged to their owners a while, that have been modified to fit in with particular needs, have had fashion pecadillos thrust upon them, then it becomes easier to see that "that" bike must belong to "that" person.
Well, in this case, I am not sure if this was Elvis' personal steed, but at least it was inspired by him. And when you look at it, it really couldn't have belonged to anyone else, could it? "Course, in his latter years, I don't think Elvis did much biking.

Such a simple machine....

One of the main reasons I love bicycles so much, is that they "can" be such pure, simple devices. No redundant systems, no extraneous weight. Then you see this. Was the builder tripping when it was built, and if so, on what?