Friday, June 09, 2006

Mystery Cyclist/Model-Maker of Maplewood

Has anyone else ever seen this dude, cruising up and down Arsenal or Manchester? Or better yet, the elaborate cardboard/wire/toothpick (?) model/sculpture/contraption (?) strapped to the handlebars of his old ten-speed? Because I'm always either on foot or in my car, and he's always on his bike, I've never gotten a good look at him or the model. I see 'em all the time though! The model looks like a complicated overpass or industrial bridge structure, with lots of wire scaffolding, obsessive ornamental detail, and enough bulk to make bicycle balance difficult.
Here is a quick map I made of my most oft-traveled corridors in southwest St. Louis City, and where I usually see the mysterious model transporter. Take note of how closely our beaten paths mirror one another. I've never seen him east of 3-Ring Binder Worldwide on Jamieson or west of the White Castle on Big Bend. Where does he come from?! Where is he going?!
My most recent sighting of the dude was a couple of days ago, and he's modified his rig for summer. The over-sized flat-brimmed ballcap has been replaced with an over-sized bicycle helmet, and he's now got a weird rectangular box strapped to the rear of his bike, sticking out well beyond the back wheel. I could've swore I saw little silver cardboard wheels on the box, making it look like the trailer of an 18-wheeler. Does the model go inside the trailer? Why is he carrying this stuff around in the first place? Do I really want to know the truth?!
Disclaimer: all drawings made from brief field-sightings. Ink and White-Out on construction paper.
UPDATE! This fellow's name is Raynard Nebbitt. He's a pretty well known and well liked figure to neighbors living around and truckers driving beneath the South Rock Hill Bridge, the overpass which he carries a replica of on his bike. Read more about him and the grassroots campaign to re-name the overpass after him here.

4 comments:

w said...

This guy is the coolest and thanks for sharing this story. I rthink he deserves to be immortalized in the grandest of art-forms, comics.

jefflash said...

I've seen him in my neck of the woods as well, I think, around Kingshighway and Chippewa. Either him or some other guy with a similar bicycle / model bridge fetish.

avw said...

I agree with W. If anyone should be Raynard's biographer, it should be the Daring Dan Zettwoch.

Will said...

Wow, that's a phenomenal story. I've never seen this guy, but I drive under that overpass all the time. I'll have to keep an eye out for him!