Teen turns scrap into custom ride | TheUnion.com

Teen turns scrap into custom ride

There’s something besides chain link and guard rails that draws the interest of customers at Penn Valley Fence Supply Co. in Penn Valley these days.

That would be the customized bike created from scrap pipe, salvaged parts, and the fertile mind of Cole LeClaire, a 16-year-old who learned how to weld last school year.

Inspired by the television shows “American Chopper” and “Monster Garage,” LeClaire used scrounged parts from an old Huffy bike and other sources and leftover pipe from fencing jobs to fashion a bike that looks like a first cousin of the chopper Dennis Hopper rode in “Easy Rider.”

“I get a lot of comments when I ride it around,” he said Monday. “People say, ‘Did you make that? That’s cool.’ Drivers give me thumbs up. Motorcycle guys like it a lot.”

LeClaire is the grandson of Louie and Joyce Osterude and visits every summer from his home in Mesa, Ariz., to work at their fence supply company. He learned how to weld in high school last year and puts his skills to work on gates and other items supplied by the business.

But when he’s had spare time this summer, LeClaire worked on the bike.

“I made it up as I went along,” he said. “I didn’t measure anything; it was just by eye.” His grandfather contributed a “Calvin and Hobbes” bad boy cutout to mount on the front of the bike.

LeClaire estimates the bike would cost $70 in parts plus labor if he bought what he needed, but all he has invested is about seven hours of his time.

He’ll have to leave the bike behind when he returns home Wednesday to start his junior year in high school, but he plans to add a five-horsepower engine to it in the future.

A 10-year-old cousin has asked LeClaire to build him one, but he’s delaying work on the order.

“Maybe he’ll grow enough by next summer to ride this one,” he said.

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