Having grown up as the son of a bike shop owner, all kinds of bikes have been in the garage of Johnston resident Dave Hoss over his lifetime.
Now an owner of Barr Bicycle, a Clive bike shop previously owned by his father, Jim, Hoss’ garage has seen bikes of every size, shape and style. Hoss grew up in Johnston with his brother and sister on Burr Oak Drive. He now lives in the original Green Meadows area of town.
“I’ve had everything from the ‘Talking Bike’ a 16-inch Schwinn Stingray that was used in a bicycle safety program by the Iowa State Patrol, to a 1930’s era gentleman’s tandem,” says Hoss.
The gentleman’s tandem placed the gentleman driver on the back seat, letting his lady friend sit in front, while he retained control of the steering.
“Now I’ve got a 48-inch wheeled ordinary bicycle, like the old penny farthings,” says Hoss. “I’ve never ridden it. I’m too valuable.”
By saying he is too valuable, Hoss is referring to the propensity of the ordinary to throw its rider over the front of the handlebars when rolling downhill. The pedals are directly connected, or fixed, to the front wheel. A rider will often take his or her feet off the pedals to coast downhill, their feet not being able to keep up with the speed of the pedals.
“This one has drop handlebars,” says Hoss. “That way a rider can drape his legs over the handlebars when coasting downhill. And when they are thrown over the bars, they can just jump off and land on their feet.”
The bicycle is a replica of the penny farthings built in the late 1800s and early 1900s, complete with leather saddle and solid rubber tire. The front wheel is 48 inches in diameter, and the rider sits about four feet off the ground. Hoss’ bicycle is approximately 20 years old, and he’s owned it for about a year.
“I bought it on a whim,” he says. “I just thought that since I own a bike shop, it would be fun to own a bit of cycling history.”
While Hoss has had a wide variety of bikes in his garage throughout his life, he still has plenty of room to park his cars inside.
“I don’t keep many bikes at home, I’ve got a bike shop for that,” he joked.Contact Darren at 953-4822 ext. 304 or firstname.lastname@example.org to recommend someone for an upcoming issue of “What’s In Your Garage?”