The Daily Bike, July 10, 2012

In 1914, a young man leaned his bicycle against a tree, left Vashon Island, Washington, and went off to war,

In 1914, a young man leaned his bicycle against a tree, left Vashon Island, Washington, and went off to war, never to return. The tree did what trees do, and two became as one. So goes the legend of Vashon’s infamous tree bike – a poignant, romantic, tragic story.

That happens to be false.

The bike, which has become a minor tourist attraction, actually dates to the 1950s and belonged to a boy named Don Puz. The house that Puz lived in burned down, and he received the bike as a donation. But Puz didn’t like the bike – it was too small for him and the handlebars were more like that of a tricycle. As his mother Helen told the Vashon-Maury Island Beachcomber, one day Don and a gang of friends went into the woods to play. Puz was the only one on a bike and when the boys went home he simply left it there.

“Probably as much as I detested the little thing, I just gave it a toss and forgot about it, and then denied knowing where it was,” he said.

The bike, originally red, is located just a few hundred yards where Helen Puz lived until just a few weeks ago, when she passed away at age 99. After the bike started getting attention, she and Don visited it to see what the tree had done.

“We went down there in the woods,” said Don, “and there was this bike in the tree, and I said, ‘That’s my bike. I recognized it, because I don’t think I’ve ever seen another one like it.”

Asked if she was surprised, Helen said, “Nothing surprises me at my age.”

Steve Casimiro is the editor of Adventure Journal.
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  • James Freestone

    There is a book called “The Red Ranger Came Calling ” by Berkley Breathed , it is a story of a boy that lives with his aunt and he wants a bike. The story goes that he asked his aunt for the bike and she couldnt get it for him. His neighbor(I’d give the story away if I told more about him) finds out that the boy wants a red tweed bicycle but doesnt hear so well so he gives him a “Treed Bicycle” Its this exact bike that they show in the book. Check it out, great kids book with a great story.

  • Sara

    Love this post! I was reading it aloud and my husband said after the first paragraph, “that doesn’t sound right…” Ha!

    However, I’m curious to know who has been there lately? We went last summer and the handlebars were missing!

    Love the-bike-in-the-tree, and have a framed photo I took hanging on the wall here at home. I hope there is some secret reason the handlebars went missing and they’ve seen been returned!

  • John Tannock

    Steve, Can I get a copy of the photo? I’d love to hang it in my bike workshop.

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