Canadian inventor throws down a challenge: can you build a 15ft bicycle?

Brad Graham of Thunder Bay, Ontario, has been building one-off bikes since the 1980s. Following a record-breaking attempt in July 2003, his SkyCycle has now been officially recognised as the world's tallest rideable bicycle by the Guinness Book of Records. His stable of 'garage hack' bike designs range from elongated Choppers to the SpinCycle (it does what it says on the tin) to a variety of normal-looking recumbents (normal to recumbent owners, that is).
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"I hope that some of my projects may spark some new ideas and help the bicycle community grow," said Graham.

A network engineer by day, Graham is an inveterate tinkerer, having created tens of out-of-the-ordinary bikes since the 1980s.

His website - atomiczombie.com - aims to encourage other 'garage hackers' to publicise their designs. Following TV coverage in Canada and press coverage in local newspapers (now googled for all the world to see), Graham had to pay for more bandwidth for his site.

Few of Graham's bicycles could be turned into commercially-available machines but as pure head-turners, they rank alongside such oddities as the eight-person Conference Bike, popular at events in Europe.

His record-breaking SkyCycle is conventional at the base but the steel frame extends into the air with the addition of ladder-like steps. To mount the machine, you have to balance it against a pole or building and climb to the seat.

Earlier versions were shorter, yet all are easy to ride, said Graham.

"After a few hours of running around town on the SkyCycle, I became very comfortable in the seat - enough so that I would ride over curbs, go with no hands, and even do the odd small wheelie. The only real problem with riding around town on this thing was stopping - you needed some type of pole or fence to hold on to while waiting for a red light. Of course, at this height, you could see far enough ahead to negotiate most stop signs and traffic lights well ahead of time.

"When you are up this high, you cannot see any of the bike below the handlebars and it feels as though you are flying in some type of aircraft."

Graham's bicycles are soon to be featured in an Atomic Zombie book for mainstream publisher McGraw-Hill. The SkyCycle was built to take pride of place in this book.

At 14 feet 3 inches (4.3m), the SkyCycle is tall but not yet at the limit of rideability, believes Graham.

"I hope this record is broken soon, because I want to build a new SkyCycle over 20 feet tall using a new shaft-drive design."

Reckon you could go higher? Graham would like to hear from you.

"Do you think you can build a taller bike and muster up enough courage to ride it? Come on, give it your best shot! I dare you!

http://www.atomiczombie.com/bicycles.htm

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