If a scientist undertook some bizarre experiment that involved mating a car with a motorcycle, the likely result would be a “trike.”
Though no men wearing white lab coats and carrying test tubes have been spotted around Mount Airy this holiday weekend, that hasn’t been the case for the unusual three-wheel vehicles known as trikes.
They have been drawing plenty of double-takes all around town, due to their dual personalities that tend to make the unorthodox rides resemble both cars and bikes — or at least something in between.
All this has resulted from the National Trike-In being scheduled here for the first time, after an East Coast version of the event was held in Mount Airy the past two years.
Veterans Memorial Park on West Lebanon Street has been home base for trikers from various states, but they did venture out on occasion, including for a Saturday morning parade through downtown Mount Airy to show off their conveyances.
“Coming out of the park, we had 44,” said Tim Nine, who spearheads the annual gathering of trikers from various states through his role as North Carolina director of the group Brothers of the Third Wheel.
And no two of the trikes were alike. While some resembled familiar-looking cars, only with one of the customary four wheels missing, others had the the look of chopper motorcycles — with one more wheel than normal.
Some people who knew of the plans for the parade took up strategic positions along North Main Street Saturday, while others who were unaware of the event stopped what they were doing to watch.
That latter category included Ken Schoonover and his wife and three children of Westfield, Pa., who happened to be passing through Mount Airy and noticed the parade. “Unique” was the first word that emerged from Schoonover’s mouth to describe his reaction to the vehicles.
“We’ve seen a lot of parades, but none like this,” he said.
The overall gathering at Veterans Memorial Park drew some 150 to 200 trikers, along with members of the public who viewed a bike show and participated in prize giveaways and other activities there. A benefit ride by a group known as the Soaring Eagles was part of the trike-in as well.
Trikers represent a unique breed, but not necessarily by choice. Some are longtime motorcycle riders who have encountered health or balance issues that prevent them from handling the two-wheel bikes safely.
“They are definitely more stable than a motorcycle,” Nine said of the three-wheel vehicles that allow such individuals to maintain the freedom of cycling. The creativity of bike builders then takes over from there, with some strange designs emerging at times.
Some of the riders are in their 40s and younger, while others are in their 80s, Nine added.
“I’m pleased with the turnout this year,” the organizer said. The event will be held in Mount Airy again next Labor Day weekend, according to Nine.
He said the presence of the National Trike-In Friday and Saturday at Veterans Memorial Park while the annual county fair also was under way there did not detract from his event. In fact, the two complemented each other, Nine said.
“That fair added a nice touch.”
Reach Tom Joyce at 719-1924 or email@example.com.