Nice bike, but can you do a wheelie?

Student who built 11ft cycle in lockdown tells how it turns heads – and of the requests he gets

Friday, 11th March — By Charlotte Chambers

Robin Hutchinson IMG_8485

Robin Hutchinson towers over vehicles as he rides the custom-built bike

YES, he may have to duck for low-hanging branches, but there are plenty of fun things about a “tall bike” – just ask the man who custom-built his own.

While the rest of us were home schooling our kids or drinking too much during lockdown, one self-starting mechanic decided he had much better things to do with his time and came up with a unique “tall bike”.

Robin Hutchinson, 19, said the bike gets lot of attention when he cycles it from his student flatshare in Bryantwood Road, Holloway, around town and to work at Lunar Cycles bike shop in Kentish Town.

“That is part of the beauty of it – cars give me the space. They see me and think, ‘He probably can’t stop’, so they give me the space.”

Mr Hutchinson says cars give him plenty of space when he’s on the tall bike

“Sometimes I feel safer on it than a normal bike,” said the history of art student.

The bike also gets a lot of funny comments from passers-by, including, ‘Do a wheelie on it’, which, according to Mr Hutchinson, is “physically impossible” due to the bike’s rigid design.

Another comment that tickled him was from a man who “just looked up very unimpressed” and told Mr Hutchinson to “stop showing off”.

The bicycle, which measures around 6ft tall and features a cargo hold at the bottom, is one of just eight similar custom-made tall bikes in London and weighs 26 kilos.

It puts Mr Hutchinson at 11 feet – high enough to look into truck drivers’ cabs and give them a thumbs-up, which he admitted they found strange. The inspiration behind his bike came from the Zenga brothers, Canadians who made tall bikes in the 1980s and filmed themselves dragging televisions along behind them as part of a cultural statement.

But are tall bikes the future? No, apparently.

“I don’t think they’ll catch on – they’ll certainly never be mainstream,” he said. “Why? Well, they’re a little bit silly.”

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