Bicycle Roadside Giant
Backstory and Context
The Lincoln Highway was America’s first coast-to-coast highway that winds its way through centuries of Pennsylvania’s history. The creation of the Lincoln Highway had a significant impact on how people of that time period traveled. As automobiles became more popular, they faced challenges to keep up with the demands of the tourists traveling along these roads. Roadways such as the Lincoln Highway helped generate jobs such as gas stations, hotels, restaurants, and diners for the convenience of tourists who were traveling along these roads. Another reason why the Lincoln Highway was so popular is because of the roadside attractions along the way of the highway. These type of roadside attractions were so unique compared to any other highway. One attraction in particular that is unique in its own right is the Bicycle Roadside Giants. Architectural structures such as the Bicycle Roadside Giant are what make the journey along the Lincoln Highway so interesting.
During the days of the early formation of the Lincoln Highway, Roadside Giants were very influential for the roadways popularity. It was the roadside giant concept of the early 1900s that triggered a great partnership between the Lincoln Highway Heritage Corridor and the five Career and Technology school districts in 2009. The organization has helped create roadside giants along the Lincoln Highway in Pennsylvania's Westmoreland, Somerset, Bedford, Fulton, Franklin and Adams Counties. The Lincoln Highway Heritage Corridor (LHHC) is a nonprofit organization that was founded in 1996. Each school involved with this project all had the same guidelines and budget. Each school was also given a committee of 7-10 individuals from each community worked in an advisory capacity with the students on a regular basis at the school. A professional structural engineer, Paul McQuade, oversaw all design and installation elements. However, the main goal for this campaign was not just to attract tourists and create brand new additions to the Lincoln Highway Roadside Museum, but also to teach all the students about its historic impact. The project seeks to bring together people in the community and provide them with a unique opportunity to educate students and allow them to leave there own personal impact/footprint through the creation of a sculpture.
Roadside Giants have had a lasting impact, especially on the Lincoln Highway. Still to this day more are being created because they are such a popular attraction to tourists who travel along the Lincoln Highway. One attraction, in particular, that is more modern from the other attractions is the Bicycle Roadside Giant. The roadside giant is near the intersection of Routes 30 and 219 near Jennerstown PA. The tandem bicycle is one of five Roadside Giants that you can see driving along the Lincoln Highway in Pennsylvania. The steel and iron bicycle itself is 17-foot-tall, 22’ wide and weighs nearly 2,000 pounds. It is located on the property of the owners of a local re-sale shop, called Second Time Around.
Construction of this roadside giant was done by the students at Somerset County Technology Center. The administrative director of the project was Georgia Yeager and had nearly 420 student volunteers helping with the project. The students at this school found their inspiration for this sculpture because of Somerset County's many bike trails, like the popular Great Allegheny Passage. Cycling and Somerset County seem to go hand in hand. Whether it is the Great Allegheny Passage, or another of the County's rails to trails, residents and visitors alike love cycling there. So, there wasn't much discussion when the students designed a Bicycle Built for Two as their Roadside Giant of the Lincoln Highway.
Much of any successful student project come from an enthusiastic and capable instructor who was willing to have the students experience something outside the standard classroom project; and interested in showing students how the skills they have learned in high school today can be translated into employment opportunities in the future. The history of the Lincoln Highway shows how travel has evolved over time - from the good roads movement to a movement to also improve roads for bicyclists. People who go and visit these types of roadside attractions are able to come away with the history, architecture and tradition that comes from these structures.
Butko, Brian. The Lincoln Highway Pennsylvania Traveler's Guide. 2nd ed., Stackpole Books, 2002.
Lincoln Highway News, lincolnhighwaynews.com/tag/roadside-giants/.
“Jennerstown, PA - Bicycle Built for Two Sculpture.” Roadside America - Guide to Uniquely Odd Tourist Attractions, www.roadsideamerica.com/tip/22134.
“More Roadside Giants along Lincoln Hwy in PA.” Books by Brian Butko, 20 May 2009, brianbutko.wordpress.com/2009/05/20/more-roadside-giants-along-lincoln-hwy-in-pa/.
WilkinsServices.com, Todd Wilkins -. “Contains Pictures and Facts Regarding the History and Current State of the Historic Lincoln Highway, Including LHHC Activities and Collectibles Gift Shop.” The Lincoln Highway Experience, Latrobe, PA, www.lhhc.org/giants.php.
Roadside Giants of the Lincoln Highway. Lincoln Highway Heritage Corridor, 2009.