Merced County Times Newspaper
The Power of Positive Press

His Bike Is Our Playground

One Mercedian Makes Sure Applegate Fun Rides Again

John Miller

For as long as he can remember, Garland Daniel of Merced has been riding, modifying, and repairing bicycles

He learned to ride at age 3, and in the years that followed, he learned how to customize bikes with the help of his dad. From there, he started to establish his own tastes in lowrider models, and creating styles to make sure his wheels stood out.

Nowadays, the 36-year-old Daniel is a father with grown-up responsibilities, but he’s still passionate about custom bikes, riding with other enthusiasts, and showing off high-rise bicycles that tower over special community events like the Christmas Parade.

So it makes sense that he was tot tally inspired recently when he saw a lot of torn-down playground equipment near the children’s amusement area of Applegate Park. City workers had dismantled the structures to make way for an all-new upgrade for the park’s young visitors.

But for Daniel, the leftover metal was so much more than scraps destined for the landfill

l saw it all in pieces he told the Times. “I mean the slide was cut in half: everything was just cut in half. I took pictures because it looked so crazy. Immediately, I started seeing sections that were perfectly good.” 

Daniel was talking about the art of upcycling.

It’s when thrown-away objects are repurposed into new functional items.

In other words, Daniel was actually looking at his next, new, strange bicycle creation.

As a well-balanced adult, Daniel has created about a dozen extremely tall bicycles — some that hoist a rider 6 feet off the ground. 

He likes the style because these tall bikes become a mobile local attraction.

“I thought it would be really cool to create a memory of the park equipment that was also something I could ride in our town parades,” Daniel said.

Ultimately, the cyclist did what he does best, and created a custom bike from the old playground equipment once used by tens of thousands of local kids over the past decades.

Now he’s even working on a plaque for the commemorative bike that tells its unique story.

“This is just as much a piece of art to me as it is a functional bicycle that’s been upcycled,” he said. “I mean, I’m only $5 into this bike, which is about the price of a canvas. The only thing I spent money on was the paint; everything else is just creative reuse of other pieces.”

In particular, Daniel pointed to the grips on the handlebars, noting that they were made from old inner tubes that he had molded around the handlebars, before molding around fingers, as an example of where form and function meet.

While he is still working on a name for his latest creation, the bike has just recently taken on its final look. A sticker reading Gigabike currently adorns the frame of the bike — a brand name that Daniel uses for the bikes he builds and shares online at

When asked if he had any other project on the horizon, Daniel responded that he is currently gearing up for his next creation.

“It’s going to be built out of an old bunk bed, and I’m thinking about making it a peach color,” he explained.

One of the biggest reasons he continues to build and ride bikes such as these is because of the reactions he gets as he’s riding.

Some people smile, others wave.

Says Daniel, it just inspires me, and I think it releases endorphins, and makes me feel good that someone else is happily responding to my work.”

You might also like

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More

small payday loans online no credit check no credit check loans guaranteed approval