Final Bicycle Sunday for 2012 in Seattle; Burning Man trike

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The string of a dozen Bicycle Sundays in 2012 ended on a glorious sunny fall day in Seattle.

A steady stream of bicyclists — everyone from the hard-core cyclists to biking tots with their families — showed up on Lake Washington Boulevard on Sunday to ride without having to worry about cars. That’s because motor vehicles were banned for the day between Seward Park and Mount Baker Beach.

What really struck me, however, was the appearance of the MOOP Jet, a fanciful trike that might seem more at home at Burning Man, where it has made a couple of landings.

The hand-crafted vehicle is the creation of Clair Colquitt, who lives near Lake Washington Boulevard. He pedaled his MOOP Jet over to Seward Park and around the loop. When he stopped, he drew a small crowd of onlookers curious about the human-powered vehicle.

Clair said the MOOP Jet represents all the Matter Out of Place that’s cluttering the Earth. A globe attached beneath the jet shows all the continents covered in little bits of plastic — “little junky bits” — that he’s picked up here and there.

He says this stuff doesn’t deteriorate and just builds up in the environment. It’s all “matter out of place.” The term comes from the Burning Man festival that’s held in the playa of northern Nevada, where visitors are encouraged to leave no trace.

In addition to the globe, there’s also a moon beneath the jet. Dragging on the ground is a plastic duck decoy, another piece of MOOP.

In back is a propeller that spins when he moves; it’s for cooling and not propulsion. LEDs light up the fan blades.

Once I got over the bizarre looks of the vehicle, I marveled at its mechanics. Clair said it was made from bits of junk, but I spotted lots of bicycle parts assembled to propel and stop the vehicle. That fan is turned by a transmission from a weed eater.

Knowing that Sunday marked the last Bicycle Sunday in Seattle until next May put me in a bit of a melancholy mood as I reflected on the passing of summer. Although it has a serious message, Clair’s MOOP Jet put me in a better frame of mind.

Watch the website for announcement of next year’s dates Bicycle Sundays.

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