Pedaling beauty

The artistry of a well-made machine is surpassed only by that of nature itself, unless you're talking about the Lawnmower Bike from OCC, in which case: suck custom-fabricated tailpipe, nature! Harmoniously pairing the two together: the photography of Todd Van Fleet.

From a Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design alum who's been both a cyclist and photog all his life, Van Fleet creates and sells "vintage bicycle portraits" of cruisers built as far back as the '40s, which he sources through a network of bike hunters and Craigslist, where anything you find to ride will likely have handlebars. Some of the best include:

  • One inspired by his "dream one day about a bike in the sand", after which Van Fleet immediately set out to Great Sand Dunes National Park and snapped a '50s Western Flyer, which despite its age, is actually less likely to break apart than a modern day Southwestern Flyer.
  • A tiny town amidst the San Luis Valley's nothingness provides the stage for a '56 Murray, leaning against a fence made of skis in a junkyard.
  • An old Columbia bike from the '40s shot up against a horse stable somewhere along the Oregon Trail, despite it lacking a rack capable of holding an unusable surplus of buffalo meat.

And for the collector who demands only the rarest bike photography, he's just acquired an (apparently) super sought-after/limited Schwinn Stingray for his next masterpiece, which thanks to the absence of Paul Jr., will have anything but a Teutul'd composition.