Tricycle Engineer

20130507_mickey_arnoldSo today, I really wanted to take someone’s portrait. I wanted to find someone interesting and put some light on them. It didn’t take me long, riding around East Griffin, Ga., before finding this guy, 58-year-old Mickey Arnold. Yes, that’s a grown-up tricycle. And yes, it has an engine (no, it’s not a Hemi).

Mickey said he dropped out of high school in the 12th grade and has spent most of his life driving trucks. “I don’t know how to read or write, but I can engineer ’bout anything,” he said. And that, I believe, is true. It takes quite a bit of know how to rig one of these things up. As you can see from the photo below, there’s more to it than just plopping a motor down on a bicycle frame. Mickey engineered the brackets and installed the clutch, belt, and two chains to make it go.

The motor on this tricycle is the third installment. The first, a chainsaw motor, “went so fast, you could barely hold onto it,” he said. The second was an engine from a Weed Eater, but it was so weak that it eventually blew. This one, a 2-1/2 horsepower motor from a yard edger, is good, but he still has to help it pedal up hills. The bicycle itself, he said, “probably came from Wal-Mart.”

20130507_mickey_arnold-3Turns out, Mickey has put engines on lots of things (that didn’t come that way). “Probably the craziest thing we put an engine on was a wheelchair,” he said, standing outside his mother’s home. “I put a motor on one of those little scooters that you push with your feet, too. And one of those Barbie cars that uses a battery. We put a car battery to soup it up, but it was broke within a fews after it burned up the electrical motor. But man it was fast.”

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