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Every year, more and more people in the United States are clambering aboard their beloved bicycles and blithely pedaling into a brighter, cleaner, healthier tomorrow. Or losing their balance, wiping out and maiming themselves. Either way, they’re getting exercise.
But back in 1948, a number of inspired amateur craftsmen — not content with riding mundane, conventional bicycles — took their enthusiasm to another, unlikely level and . . . well, let’s let LIFE tell it, in the words the magazine used in its December 27, 1948, issue:
Here, LIFE.com offers a selection of photos of these preposterous creations from six long decades ago — mechanistic marvels that belie the famous old saying (which we just made up) that there’s no such thing as a useless bicycle.
Liz Ronk, who edited this gallery, is the Photo Editor for LIFE.com. Follow her on Twitter at @LizabethRonk.