Friday, March 02, 2012

Vashon Island Bike Tree: The True Story


I've posted previously about the bicycle embedded in a tree on Vashon Island. Yes, it exists. No, it's not photoshopped. Recently I've been getting a zillion hits on the old posts on the blog because people keep posting the picture on Facebook with some bogus story about a boy leaving his bike in the woods and going off to fight and die in World War One, never to return. I leave it as an exercise for the reader to see all the holes in that story.

The true story is revealed in this article from the December 30th, 2009 Vashon-Maury Island Beachcomer. The bike dates back to the 1950s and the kid who left the bike went on to be a King County Sheriff's deputy.

The bike is still there in the tree and Vashon is still a lovely place to ride. It's worth the stopping by to check it out.


If you want to read a great fictitious story about the bicycle in the tree, check out Berkeley Breathed's classic tale Red Ranger Came Calling.

Keep 'em rolling,

Kent "Mountain Turtle" Peterson
Issaquah WA USA


21 comments:

RoadieRyan said...

I believe this photo is also to be seen a the back of the book "Red Ranger came calling" and wonderful children's book by Berkeley Breathed of Bloom County fame.

SS:Mntbiker\Olskoolrodder said...

Cool bit of history,and very interesting pic :)

Scott Loveless said...

I'm calling BS on the "left it leaning against the tree" claim. Trees don't grow like that. http://dendro.cnre.vt.edu/forsite/howdoes.htm I'd guess some bully hung it there, probably to make it hard for its rightful owner to get it back.

Anonymous said...

Mama always said: bicycles don't grow on trees.

stevenl said...

Hi Kent. I found, scanned and posted this very clipping posted here last July, but for some reason it has gone viral only in the last month. The distribution of my little bit of research is almost as curious as the bike itself! I like your blog, thanks for posting this.

http://www.mortythedog.com/2011/07/vashon-island-bicycle-in-tree-mystery.html

open face helmets said...

I saw some wires which were embeded in the trees, but about bicycles, it is my first experience. This is really amazing. Some one did lot of effort to do so.

motorized bikes said...

This is awesome, goes to show that nature will take back everything when humans disappear!

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately it's been vandalised over the past year and the handlebars stolen. One of the negative aspects of our instant information society.

Anonymous said...

You beat me to it with this post. I'm waiting for someone to establish what brand and make/model this bike is.

mrk. said...

Back in the early 1990s when i first biked to see the bike in the tree (it wasn't as high up then), i met an oldtime Vashoner in the Bakery (now gone) next to the tree. He told essentially the same story as the news clipping, however he made it very clear that it was an intentional effort to get the tree to grow around the bike and that everyone knew about it.

It's clear to me that everyone in the area must have cooperated because the tree is only 15 or 20 steps off the road in the woods and for months or even years, anyone who picked up or moved the bike would have messed it up.

(Ryan, Berk Breathed lives, or lived, on Vashon, i rode with him once there.)

That

Wildheartmuse said...

Scott Loveless might be interested in these photos........http://www.mortythedog.com/2011/07/vashon-island-bicycle-in-tree-mystery.html

Cardprinting.us said...

That's amazing! Everyone focuses in the story of the boy and bike. Poor tree, that's kind of hurt to grow with it.

Anonymous said...

I have pictures from 1998 and the handlebars were already gone. thats not a recent thing...Also its a very overgrown area, not any clearing as shown in the picture. the picture reflecting in this article is rather old I'd say.

Kent Peterson said...

Anonymous 10:44 PM,

See:

http://kentsbike.blogspot.com/2009/12/vashon-island-cycling-tree-huggers.html

For a 2009 picture I took of the Bike Tree. The handlebars had been replaced by then, but I've heard they've since been re-stolen.

The area is quite overgrown but there is a little path to the tree and enough of a clearing that you can get a decent picture of the bike in the tree.

Anonymous said...

has he written himself a ticket for littering yet..?

Anonymous said...

I grew up on Vashon and never, ever even heard about this bike until now. A friend posted the photo to Facebook and someone else posted this from Snopes:

http://www.snopes.com/photos/natural/bicycle.asp

Next time I go the island I'll see if I can find it.

Thadrick said...

I recently saw this picture posted on facebook and the story that was included was a guy drafted in WW1 left it there to get when he got home and he was killed in the war. I don't really know which is the truth.

Oyun Oyna said...

This story has been impressive.

don said...

Yes, the tree on Vashon has an interesting history. The Indians used to boil down the bark to make a poison they would smear on the tips of their arrows,with devastating effect. Even the old timers who have only recently seen this photo of the tree will tell you that its bark is still worse than its bike.

(Loved the picture, couldn't help the comment!)

Flash Oyunlar said...

This story has been impressive.

Anonymous said...

thanks don, your little tale made all of the others worth reading to get to yours.................lol