|REAL PHOTOGRAPH; INACCURATE DESCRIPTION|
Example: [Collected via e-mail, January 2012]
Origins: The "tree that ate a bicycle" on Washington's Vashon Island has been a popular destination for curiosity seekers for years, particularly for those who have read Berkeley Breathed's 1994 book, Red Ranger Came Calling, which was inspired by this arboreal oddity. Many photographs of the bicycle tree can be found on the Internet on sites such as RoadsideAmerica, and a trek to the site is captured in the following video:
Although text is commonly associated with pictures of the tree claiming that the bicycle was left chained to it by a boy who went off to war in 1914, the bike is not nearly that old, nor was it left behind by a young man setting off to take part in World
Some say it ended up there by chance, while others contend in was intentional cleverness. One former Islander, Berkeley Breathed, even wrote a children's book about the mystery.
But one longtime Island family had laid a solid claim to the bicycle in a tree just north of Sound Food. Two generations concur that the bicycle belonged to Don Puz, who in 1954 left his bicycle in the woods, forgot about it and never went back looking for it.
Don received the bicycle as a donation after the family home burnt down, he said.
The bicycle wasn't his favorite — it had hard, solid rubber tires "and skinny little handlebars like a tricycle," he said. "I was too big a kid to ride it."
As his mother Helen Puz tells the story, Don and his friends were playing in the woods together, and Don was the only child who had ridden his bicycle there. When the boys left, Don left his bike behind, walking home with the other boys.
"Apparently, he wasn't too excited about that bike," she said.
After the bike was discovered, making headlines, both mother and son paid it a visit.
"We went down there in the woods, and there was this bike in the tree, and I said, 'That's my bike,'" Don recalled. "I recognized it immediately. When I saw that bike, I recognized it, because I don't think I've ever seen another one like it."
As well, the bicycle exhibits a somewhat varied appearance in photographs taken at different times because over the years parts of it (e.g., handlebars, tires) have been stolen and later replaced with similar parts.
Last updated: 26 December 2013
Heagerty, Amelia. "Islander Sets the Record Straight About Vashon's Bike in a Tree." Vashon-Maury Island Beachcomber. 30 December 2009.