The week before the 4th of July, I found out I’d have the opportunity to ride highwheel bikes (pennyfarthings) in the local Independence Day Parade.
Then, two days before the parade, I woke up at 3 AM with the idea to build a giant Abraham Lincoln mask for the parade.
As I saw it, there were a few issues with this idea:
- I had two days to build the mask, paint it, and let the paint dry.
- I’ve never ridden a REGULAR bike with a mask on, let alone a pennyfarthing.
- I wanted to build the mask BIG.
Despite these issues, I couldn’t shake the idea. I decided I had to do it.
Since I’d had several people ask about how I make my cardboard stuff in the past, I decided to share the process on instagram. I started with this picture:
I figured a few people would follow along, but I was really surprised when this picture got over 90 likes (most of my pictures average around 40-60 likes), especially since it was just a picture of me with a giant cardboard tube on my head. The mask hadn’t even really started taking shape yet.
Encouraged by the response, I kept posting pictures throughout the process. Here are those pictures:
Since I had never ridden a bike with a mask on before (see Issue #2 at the top of this page), I decided to try riding a regular bike with the mask on. It went pretty well, as you can see below. I did get some funny looks though, since I was just riding around in my neighborhood.
The next day, I was ready for the parade. Before I committed to wearing the mask though, I wanted to try riding a pennyfarthing with it on. I figured if I was going to crash, I would rather do it on an empty street than surrounded by hundreds of families. Haha!
Luckily, I was able to ride with the mask on fairly easily. The only problem was getting on and off the bike, because the beard was so long (it came down to my waist) that it kept hitting the seat. I was able to figure it out though. Here’s a video of the test run:
Since that went well, I decided the parade shouldn’t be a problem. And it wasn’t! Except for the time I got knocked off the bike because I was clotheslined by a tree (I forgot how tall the mask was, especially when I was already riding a very tall bike. Oops!), everything went off without a hitch.
I didn’t get any video of me in the parade, but my new friend Kyle Jones snapped this awesome shot:
The next day I went to the store to pick up a few things, and who did I see on the front page of the paper? Honest Abe himself!
Hahaha! What a riot.
This whole thing was so much fun, and it definitely gave me a lot of ideas for future projects. Hopefully reading about it brought you half as much joy as making it brought me.
Oh, one more thing: I videotaped the whole mask-making process, and edited it down into this. Enjoy!