SARASOTA, Fla. -- They certainly catch your eye, those elaborately-decorated bikes parked on downtown Sarasota streets or cruising along with Dr. Nik aboard.
Dr. Nick, aka the ‘Bicycle Man,’ loves bikes. "One time I had 27 bikes in my cavalry."
And that's how he got into show biz. "It all started with loaning out bikes to actors and actresses here at Florida Studio Theatre, because they needed a way to get around when they came down from New York City."
Then one of his bikes got a part in a show. "It was thrown across the stage every night.”
Dr. Nick was so proud, but after the show his heart sank. "I found the bike in the dumpster. I rescued the bike from the dumpster and I said ‘now what am I going to do with it?’"
He decided it needed a little decoration. "I took the flamingo that was in the front yard and I put it on the back fender, which now became the Flamingo bike."
And he kept adding flamingos until there were 43 on the bike at one time.
He loved the way people reacted. "They're really cool and cute and everything like that," says Samantha Marker, visiting from Indiana.
"When people can see that someone loves their community enough to put themselves out there, it's always a pleasure," says Angela Ruiz, also visiting from Indiana.
And they say Dr. Nick's bike message comes through loud and clear. “Laughter, that's the message, happiness."
Same thing with the bike that's covered with flowers, and the dove bike's message is peace. "If you look at the dove bike for seconds, or minutes, hopefully an hour, you're thinking peace. And if you're thinking peace, you're not thinking hate and violence, and that's what I'm all about."
Unfortunately everyone doesn't appreciate Dr. Nick's bikes. Some have been trashed. "They've gotten stolen, beat up, had flamingo's necks broken, and I don't let violence dictate my life. I let peace and love dictate my life.”
And he says his bikes are just vehicles to spread smiles. So next time you see one of these crazily decorated bicycles around town, just smile and remember it's Dr. Nick’s way of bringing more peace and joy into the world.