This morning I looked our office window and saw a familiar bike pedaling by. It was Brian Campbell and his massive motorhome/camper bike. A few minutes later he had swung around and parked for a quick chat.
It’s been almost three years since I first shared a Portland sighting of Brian Campbell and his amazing camper bike. Then, back in August 2007, I shared the sad news that his home had been destroyed. Initially reported as the work of vandals, it turned out Brian did it himself in a bout with depression and frustration. Years of living on the street had caught up to him.
After I shared his story, the community responded big time. Brian wanted to rebuild his bike and his life and BikePortland readers raised nearly $1,000 in just a few days. With the money in hand, I took Brian to the hardware store and helped him load up on supplies. After a work party, he spent the next few weeks parked in front of our house on N. Michigan, working long hours to build a new, improved, and more spacious bike home.
After several more weeks, his creation was road-worthy and it was time for Brian to move on.
Since then he’s built several other motorhome bikes (including one for local tall-bike riding performer Dingo the Clown), but sales have not been brisk enough to get off the street.
It was good to see him this morning. He told me he’s looking for work at a bike shop and he hopes to get some steady income. He dreams of building bike homes for others in hopes of a fully human-powered future. He also talks about a revolutionary, electricity-generating invention. But I think he knows both of those enterprises won’t get him off the streets any time soon.
Brian needs some help, but I’m not sure how best to give it. People love his bike-motorhome creations and he draws a crowd wherever he goes. But a person needs much more than just curious onlookers to stay sane and healthy. I hope Brian stays well… until next time he pedals through.
— Check out our “Brian Campbell” photo tag for more images of Brian and his bike (including the rebuild).