Tuesday, October 11, 2016

The Flower Bike Man and his Floating Garden


One of the first things we noticed upon coming to Tarpon Springs were these lovely flower bikes around town.  They are especially prevalent around the Sponge Docks, posted up outside of many businesses.  I have spotted them throughout the town, sometimes in a parking lot, sometimes in front of a house, sometimes in action going down the street.  Most of them are strictly flowers, done by color scheme.  I have also seen a few other playful themes - a computer bike, a sponge bike, a CD/record bike, etc....

The flower bikes certainly add beauty and charm to this little city.  Every time I spotted one, it was exciting, and like a game.   How many of these are out about town? 

Greek Sponger Bike

Ruby Red

Neon Flower Power

What is the story with these bikes? Who is responsible for these beautiful works of art?
Eventually, and unintentionally, social media connected me to their maker.  I had snapped a couple pictures of a flower bike I spotted in action, and posted it to Instagram.

"I love that this is a thing here!"

Later, I noticed I had a new like, and a new follower, Flowerbikeman.
Until this point, I didn't realize the man riding the bike was not only an owner of one of these fabulous bikes, but he made them all!  We stayed in touch through Instagram and then through my other postings, we found that he lives on a boat, directly across from the slip Ricky keeps his in! Really small world. At this point, I heard through the grapevine that he has some sort of floating gardens.  Now this I have to see! He invited us to come by for a tour, and we planned a BBQ.

Floating garden

A floating lawn, complete with solar panels

The old man and the sea?

Grass hut style roofing

It looks like I am standing in a garden, but this garden is floating in the Anclote River

Gorgeous Sunset, unbelievable view

The Flower Bike Man!

Such a unique set up!  The Flower Bike Man lives on his own little floating island of sorts.  I have never seen anything like this before.  He and his wife live on a boat that is docked at the Tarpon Springs Spongedocks, and he has built multiple floating docks that are attached.   One dock is covered in all types of plants--from various berries to succulents and cactus.  Whimsical decorations are tucked everywhere, and it is illuminated by multiple laser and string lights.  Did I mention that he constructed all of these things with salvaged material?  By 'salvaged material,' I mean other people's trash/leftover scraps that were otherwise headed to a dumpster.  Some stuff was given to him, other stuff was found.  To me, this makes his floating gardens that much more special!  Another dock is equipped with solar panels, and completely covered in grass, like a floating lawn.  The grass has begun to grow over the sides, into the saltwater somehow.  He tells us that manatee occasionally swim right up to snack on the grass!  He also told us about the fish and sharks that are always around, waiting for scraps to go overboard.  He even demonstrated how easily he can catch them with a net:

We had a lovely evening grilling out with the Flower Bike Man and his wife.  Here is another video of the view at sunset.