Local News

Cyclist takes bike beef seriously

SEBRING - Larry Parker startled some passing motorists Wednesday morning on U.S. 27 near Flare Road and prompted a visit from two Highlands County Sheriff's deputies. Swinging a pickaxe with a vengeance and hoisting and hurling a bicycle like it's an Olympic sport just feet from the busy highway is bound to attract some attention. That's what 72-year-old Parker did because he had a beef with his bicycle, which was the target of his pickaxe. Now why would anyone want to destroy a bike they bought a week ago for $866.66?
Parker said he didn't like the numerous "Trek" logos on the bike so he tried, but was unsuccessful, in getting his money back or swapping it for another from the bike shop. "It has 11 Trek labels stuck all over it - Trek, Trek, Trek, Trek," he said. But there was another problem with it, Parker said. "I got to looking at it and thinking about it," he said. "That bike was a used bike and it was sold whenever Lance [Armstrong] was in his glory ... so I couldn't handle that." Parker explained that Trek sponsored Armstrong in the Tour De France bicycle races. Armstrong has admitted to taking performance enhancing drugs so Parker wants to distance himself from the bike. Trek Bicycle broke its relationship with Armstrong in October 2012. After bending the bike's frame in a few places, Parker drove off in his truck, but stopped back a short time later at the Highlands Today offices to report that the bike shop offered a full refund. Parker still had the bike and said he wasn't sure what he would do with it. Parker, who lives in Atlanta during the summer, said he once biked from Maine to Atlanta. "I hiked up first" he said. "I hiked from Georgia to Maine and didn't want to take a train or plane back like I always do and bought a touring bike and biked back about 2,000 miles." He enjoys riding and enjoys riding in cooler weather, Parker said. Parker has another bike so you may see him around on a bicycle trek, but you won't see him riding a "Trek" bicycle. mvalero@highlandstoday.com 863-386-5826