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Dave Wallis, Published August 02 2010

Portraits: Aaron Tacke

The most common question strangers ask Aaron Tacke when they see his custom-made tall bike: “How do you get on it?” Well, the answer is to set the pedals parallel to the ground, put your left foot on the pedal closest to the front tire and push the bike forward while swinging your leg over the seat. “I practiced falling off the bike at first,” says the 17-year-old Fargo North High School student. “I haven’t had any crashes yet,” he adds. “I grew up around tinkerers, and I started taking things apart and putting them back together,” he tells. His experimenting with tall bikes started this spring, and he has built two to date. Using his father’s welder, he joins two bikes, inverted, at the bottom brackets, or the space where the pedal shafts would normally be. “The steering rod, or column, has to line up with the two forks. That’s the trickiest part (of building the bikes),” he describes. His current bike, a three speed, is about a month old. “I used a small tire on the front in order to bring the center of gravity more forward.”