I was at the Falls of the Ohio last week when I spotted this plastic toy tricycle just sitting by itself near the river’s edge. Although I didn’t see anyone around, I just assumed its owner must be nearby. I took this picture and walked away. After a time spent looking for driftwood and anything else, I was heading back to my studio under the trees when I was approached by this character I’ve come to know as the ” Off Road Triker”. He was quickly peddling that tricycle I had seen earlier.
With his trademark orange goggles, the Triker likes to explore the world from the seat of his three-wheeler. I recognized him as the subject of a few human interest stories in the newspaper, but this was a first spotting him on the shores of the Ohio River. I have heard that he used to own a car, but now he just peddles everywhere he wants to go. As a side benefit, he’s in the best shape of his life. His legs alone must be as hard as wood. The Triker’s ride came to a smooth stop in the sand in front of where I was standing.
Removing his goggles from his eyes the Triker greeted me pleasantly on a picture perfect day. We introduced ourselves and talked about our observations and connections to this landscape. The Triker remarked that he had seen a lot of rubbish along the water’s edge and I nodded in agreement. He wondered why nobody did anything about this, but I had to tell him that the Falls does see several clean-up attempts a year, but with each new flood or high water the new “largess” in the river just washes up again. It’s like rolling that proverbial rock up the hill only to have it roll back again and again.
The Triker said that there was a place where several old automotive tires were laying half buried in the sand and that I should check it out. He put his goggles back on and I walked beside him as he peddled to the spot. I didn’t tell him this, but I was already familiar with these tires and have photographed this feature many times. I found the Triker to be amusing and so I just played along to get a sense of who he is and what he might do next. The reason all these tires are in this particular location is that once upon a time a river clean-up had occurred and these loose tires were gathered here for future disposal. Ironically, the future never came which left these tires mired in the present. Now these tires are so full of mud, sand, and water that it would take a herculean effort to dig some of them out of the riverbank.
The Triker thought these tires would make an appropriate obstacle course to maneuver through and he asked me to photograph him while he made his run. Everything started off well enough, but that was not to last.
It’s at this point that the Triker hits a snag or rather a tire. The slalom at the course’s start went fine, but midway through the Triker swung wide and he had to over correct to get around the next obstacle. Here are some different close up views of the action.
As you can see…hitting the tire caused the tricycle to go up on two wheels. The speed and forward momentum nearly caused the Triker to completely lose his balance!
Fortunately as an experienced rider…the Triker held it together and was able to regain his composure and balance to complete this impromptu course. He pulled off to the side near some willow trees and exhaled deeply.
“That was a close one my friend. I thought for a micro second I was going to eat sand and rubber in a hard way!” I praised him for his skill on the tricycle and told him I would post the images on the internet which seemed to please the Triker. Recovering his breath, the Triker said he enjoyed his visit to the Falls of the Ohio, but it was now time to return to the city. With his goggles back on, my last view of the Triker was of his back as he peddled his wobbly ride with a newly bent axle towards the skyline of the nearby city.