This guy is Jake Horowitz and the bike he is riding is one he made from scratch. Literally.
He welded this thing together himself, and I met him Friday when I was moving my car. He was kind of hard to miss - he towered over traffic and was riding about as high as the driver of a semi truck.
Turns out, Jake is dedicated to biking, and his hobby has become his passion.
Jake was pedaling down Maryland Avenue near the Museum of the American Indian when I saw him. I waited for him to turn onto 3rd St. and I said "hey man, stop, I got to talk to you about this thing."
So he did. Turns out the bike he is riding is made from two bike frames welded together, and is only a one-speed, with an old-school coaster brake system. Apparently, the coaster brake is safer than a hand brake system, 'cuz there's no way you feeties are gonna reach the ground on this monster. But Jake said it allows him to apply the brake while he is dismounting the bike.
He said that he had only two models so far, but he "just got a whole bunch of other frames from the junkyard, so I can make some more."
This guy has even been featured in the Brooklyn Bike Brawl and has been "chunking" or riding in a mutant bike club, for several years.
They even do jousting on these things. And in case you think that Jake is some doofus who can't afford a cool ride, know this: he is a graduate of Reed College in Oregon - where chunking and bike brawls took off - and he has a Masters' degree from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard.
Last year he won a commuter bike from Bicycling magazine's Bike to Work contest. And he now works at the Department of Justice.
I didn't understand what he meant when he said "that's what this is about, Justice." But now that I understand that chunkers are getting ready for "Carmageddon" when the cars no longer rule the world, I think I have the revelation.
So if you get the chance, check out some of Jake's other photos at his website: http://www.geocities.com/jakehorowitz. With gas at $2.60 a gallon, maybe he's on to something.