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‘STOOPIDTALL’ bike rules L.A.’s CicLAvia

Posted by on April 23rd, 2013 at 9:16 am

(Photo: Richie Trimble)

There are many signs that a bona fide bicycling culture has emerged in Los Angeles. From the vibrant street culture that produced the Wolfpack Hustle, a group that made national headlines for beating an airplane across the city — to a Mayor whose own injury while pedaling has put bike safety issues front and center.

And now there is STOOPIDTALL, a towering tall bike that made waves during Sunday’s CicLAvia event (similar to our Sunday Parkways). The bike is simply amazing and so is the video its pilot, Richie Trimble, created and uploaded to YouTube (it’s got over 8,000 views since yesterday).

Unless you’ve ever ridden a bike 16 or so feet off the ground, the video will probably make you queasy (but you can’t not look!):

I love everything about this; from what it says about L.A.’s culture to amazing views Trimble captured of the streets full of people riding bikes. (Did you see the part when Trimble had to duck under a freeway overpass? Or when he yelled “Higher!” at a man with a hose who was spraying riders?)

(Photo: Richie Trimble)

If you’re curious, Trimble shares all the details about how he made it in the description of the video on YouTube and there’s loads more information on this Reddit post.

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  • Todd Hudson April 23, 2013 at 10:07 am

    Good grief! I wonder if he can trackstand at intersections!

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  • Dan April 23, 2013 at 10:08 am

    Wow, if he doesn’t need a helmet maybe I don’t either….

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    • Marid April 23, 2013 at 7:16 pm

      If he falls he’ll hit the unyielding ground at about 25 mph. I’ll wager that if he lands on his head he’s messed up, helmet or no.

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  • GlowBoy April 23, 2013 at 10:29 am

    Of course you don’t know you need a helmet until it comes time to use it.

    My favorite moments (e.g., at 2:30 and 2:55) were when the guy was looking WAAAAAAYYY down on other riders … who were riding tallbikes. Unreal.

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  • K'Tesh April 23, 2013 at 10:39 am

    OK Portland, the gauntlet has been thrown down… Who’s going to build a 21′ high insanelystoopidtallbike?

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    • q`Tzal April 23, 2013 at 3:54 pm

      Tall bike yes, >21′ no.
      How about a bike that is tall but wide. I’m thinking of that Chinese bus/tram thing where traffic could drive under it.
      Imagine being able to “share” the lane with autos simultaneously!

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      • longgone April 23, 2013 at 5:20 pm

        Sacre`bleu ! Itz zee Eiffel Tohwarh on wheelz ! Magnifique !

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  • mark kenseth April 23, 2013 at 10:40 am

    Awesome. I would make it a tricycle as a safety measure.

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    • dan April 24, 2013 at 9:06 am

      That sounded much safer to me, but then if you think about it, how wide would the wheelbase of a 21′ trike need to be to make it stable? Wouldn’t you need the wheels to be separated by a substantial fraction of the height? So maybe q’Tzal is on the right track.

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  • Top Scientist April 23, 2013 at 10:43 am

    Love the way he cuts between the cars stopped at the intersection! Shows how stable a bike is.

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  • jeremy April 23, 2013 at 10:48 am

    that is AWESOME!!!!

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  • Neil S. April 23, 2013 at 11:36 am

    OMG!!! 12ft to the pedals and 14ft to the seat lol. The opening shot of him just climbing up the thing kills me. Pure crazy.

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  • Andy April 23, 2013 at 11:48 am

    Frickin’ terrifying and awesome, all at the same time!

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  • dan April 23, 2013 at 1:10 pm

    Must be hard to ride… wouldn’t his watermelon-sized brass balls (can I say that here?) get in the way as he pedals?

    I think this is the best bike hack I’ve ever seen.

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  • Editz April 23, 2013 at 1:16 pm

    Not to bag on this guy’s work, but how is this any different from people running around in jacked up SUV’s with giant muddin’ tires? I think we’ve all looked askance at those things a time or two as all that’s wrong with car culture.

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    • Skwirl April 23, 2013 at 3:44 pm

      There were several points in the video where he had to rely on other people’s attention (bikes, cars, peds, kite flyers) to prevent a crash. That fails Bike Ninja 101: Ride like you’re invisible, dress like the Vegas strip.

      Great project, but plan your route and keep dangerous novelty bikes out of the path of children and animals. Every morning I *walk* my normal bike through one small park that sometimes has toddlers playing.

      It’s utterly frustrating to read about and witness tallbikes wiping out on low clearance during Pedalpooza rides.

      I mean, it’s hard to picture a bike that’s more dangerous to bystanders than an inattentive SUV but the machismo of a lot of bike culture does sometimes parallel in spirit the careless parts of mainstream culture.

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    • Miss Forpe Stubb April 24, 2013 at 9:02 am

      people are people… but bikes are NOT cars

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  • GeraldF April 23, 2013 at 1:51 pm

    It’s actually a good thing he wasn’t wearing a helmet. If he had a helmet on I bet he would have hit his head going under the underpass.

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  • Adam April 23, 2013 at 2:23 pm

    Wow, that is terrifying! It looks like there is safety in pretty much nothing except momentum!

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  • James April 23, 2013 at 2:32 pm

    He must have had to build it that tall in order to keep those enormous brass balls from getting caught in the chain.

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  • KRhea April 23, 2013 at 3:16 pm

    Forget the bike, where’d the dude get those hip David Lee Roth blue leopard pants!

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  • Gabriel Amadeus Tiller April 23, 2013 at 5:09 pm

    Richie is also the super-talented fellow that filmed and edited the best Minibike Winter video ever:

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  • mike April 23, 2013 at 7:00 pm

    By rule, guys shouldn’t wear leggings.

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  • J_R April 23, 2013 at 7:39 pm

    He doesn’t need a helmet; he needs a parachute! There’s no way I’d get on it even if it were tethered to a lamp post. I scared me just to watch.

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  • nicole April 23, 2013 at 9:21 pm

    this is great!

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  • James Mason April 24, 2013 at 10:56 am

    When we get enough of these bikes we can race on the track….imagine going into a turn at Alpenrose on a 16-foot bike!

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  • Rickey April 24, 2013 at 12:16 pm

    Good thing he didn’t wear a helmet; imagine the message that would give to aspiring but novice stoopidtallbikers! It would probably discourage them from riding stoopidtallbikes because it sends the message that stoopidtallbikes are dangerous. Wouldn’t want that, I’m sure.

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  • Opus the Poet April 24, 2013 at 9:10 pm

    Forget height to the seat, how tall were the handlebars? The BikingInLA article on the bike said the rider’s knuckles cleared the underside of that overpass by less than 2″!

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  • Brent April 24, 2013 at 10:02 pm

    I respect the man’s ability — and I don’t mean to sound like a curmudgeon — but the fact that he took this bicycle to CicLAvia should be seen as irresponsible, even reckless. I’m all for his continued experiments with ever-taller bikes on his own time, at his own risk, in other places. But please, I would strongly prefer that he not put me and my loved ones at risk during a family event.

    The machine was essentially untested, as I believe he finished building it a day or two before. He then rode it in the middle of unpredictable (and ultimately, unprecedented) crowds that included many young children. He seems to have calibrated the height to fit beneath the freeway bridges he encountered, but even that seems as much a fortuitous accident as planned. On his ride home he had a serious mechanical, when a broken chain left him scrambling to grab a nearby light pole. He then fell off the bike and sprained his ankle. It was by all accounts a remarkable ride — and one that I hope will remain unmatched and unrepeated in CicLAvia history.

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    • Indy April 25, 2013 at 11:52 am

      I have young kids, and I would be honored to show them this, and yes, put their safety at risk. Maybe don’t fear things? Kids are tough. For a kid to see this guys’ vision is well worth the risk. Worth the wonder in their eyes (and mine) alone.

      The video was awesome due to some hair-raising things that happened in the video I was not expecting. Man when he picked up speed I bet his heart was beating at 200+ bpm…

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  • niko April 25, 2013 at 12:07 am


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  • Al from PA April 29, 2013 at 4:04 am

    The irony is that the equal wheel-sized bike started out as a “safety bicycle”– how times have changed.

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