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Freakbikes, choppers, funnybikes, clownbikes, kustoms, tallbikes, swingbikes, lead sleds, chunkbikes, trashbikes, mutant bikes, tallbike jousting, cargo bikes, tallchoppers, and frankenbikes. This is a record of human-powered creativity in Chicago.


-'52 freakin'-
-vintage p-cola freakin-
-zany bikes of redmoon ii-
-zig anime-
-australia freakin'-
-rat patrol russia-
-vintage freakbikes ii-
-skunk's cloudbuster-
-bikes of burning man 07-
-pedal-powered crane-
-rat patrol belgium-
-jet rides-
-fat boy's bikes-
-vintage freakbikes-
-Steinlauf family 1920's-1960s-
-afghanistan tallbikin'-
-india tallbikin'-
-spain freakin'-
-not hard enough-
-porno squad-
-green machine-
-rolling bonfire-
-the human television network-
-zany bikes of redmoon-
-fatback bomber-
-two-wheeled tank-
-precious cargo-
-ghana's national tallbike-
-twang bang-
-trampoline trailer-
-san fran freakin'-
-wooden packrat-
-the loserbago-
-foley freakin'-
-n'awlins freakin'-
-schwinn cycle truck-
-the bike formerly known as the white elephant-
-trashbike 1-
-UV chopper 2-
-gateway drug-
-lee's bent 1-
-trout lake freakin-
-UV chopper 1-
-pipe bomb-
-unicyclin bear-
-a work in progress-
-the chopper-

-pride 07-
-death of a tallbike-
-st ratrick's day 07-
-guerilla floatilla 07-
-st. ratrick's 07-
-bike kill IV-
-hootenanny 06-
-ratification 06-
-5th annual st chino's run-
-sweethearts build day-
-madison art bike parade 06-
-slaughterama 06-
-guerilla flotilla 06-
-st ratrick's day 06-
-the buurn, maaaaan 05-
-rat rides 2005-
-black label bike kill iii-
-pedal pushers-
-ratification 05-
-Guerilla Flotilla 2005-
-St. Ratrick's Day 2005-
-2nd Annual St. Chino's Run-
-rats on the mass-
-gimp haulin'-
-rat patrol vs. human television network-
-monkey tag ride-
-stockyards ride-
-build day 112004-
-magic bean ride-
-puke ride-
-ratification 04-
-rat rides 2004-
-rat race 04-
-clunker classic III-
-ghana freakin'-
-st. ratrick's day 03-
-the stingray kids-
-may day 2003-
-the scallywags come to chicago critical mass-
-a rat retreat to the redneck riviera-
-a visit from the BLBC-
-rat rides 2003-
-rat rides 2002-

-can't you read?-
-rat trikes-
-scratch-made arc welder-



Email and Submissions: johnny@rat-patrol.org


Bikes of Burning Man 07

Burning Man is the world convention of trailer queen freakbikes. There are thousands of choppers and tallbikes and all sorts of multi-wheeled, multi-person human powered vehicles. I sure hope people ride these things in their home town too.

I always learn a lot about motivating large numbers of people by pedal power. And someone usually impresses me, which doesn't happen much. Of course I can't capture all the crazy bikes- perhaps this flickr search can. But here are my pictures.

I was using dusty disposable cameras so the quality is pretty poor

This guy had his chain go back to a jackshaft that drove both back wheels. No differential was needed due to the freewheels.

Having made a drumkit bike myself, I liked this little guy. Although, if he rides without pants, I'd hate to smell the fur on that seat.

I liked this guy's exaggerated chopper. It was hard to mount because it was essentially a tallchopper. I threw in a DPW Dame to make it a nice chopper pinup shot.

Despite the fact that a tall trike is a Bad Idea, it can be pulled off with a wide wheelbase, a weighted bottom, and slow going. I took this picture no-handed from the top of my pennyfakething.

I've never seen a pushpin-steered tallbike that didn't immediately result in injury upon the first test ride. Pushpin steering is just so janky. However, somebody musta gotten it to work with this ridiculous pushpin-steered tallbike with attached rumble seat and trailer.

This night shot didn't show so well... but I liked the fenders on this talltrike.

This shot turned out better because the guy fired off his huge flame cannon as I shot. There are actually a ton of these huge-wheeled trikes out at the Man. Check out how he rigged that front-wheel drive.

This guy has some sort of jet theme for his talltrike. "Moop" means "Matter Out Of Place" or litter... he must be like an anti-litter crusader.

I think this guy's name was JD, he was from L.A. He had a bunch of cool bikes. This beautiful tallchopper has light-up rollerblade wheels on the front fork that spin when he rolls. The next five pictures are of his bikes.

A daylight shot of the same bike.

This was their camp's art car. I love the onboard trip-high rack.

Kinetic Sculpture Racers tend to be nutjobs. This convoluted thing had something like 1000 gears and a riding mower transmission. It sounded like a 50-gallon drum of bolts when it rolled. Plus the dang thing is amphibious with the floats attached. He had one of high gears hooked up to a propellor.

The same guy made this little pennyfarthing. I like the simple and elegant use of a Schwinn frame.

Now this is just silly. I came across this guy laboring across the desert. Each foot is independent and you can steer by pedaling with one or the other. Pedaling when your feet aren't in sync is a pain in the ass.

I wish I had a better picture of this bike. It was the best one out there. The base was a back-to-back, recumbent quad. Two hammocks hung from the upper platform. On top was a tent, with a shade cloth above it. It was clearly an all-in-one bike that a couple could wander the outback on... really impressive design and thought. I wish I knew more about it.

UPDATE: I've found another picture of this bike. I still wish I knew who built it.

I met a girl with this chopper in Boulder Colorado. It was covered with beer caps.