He’s an artist, he’s a welder and he’s a philanthropist. A man from Vernon is making his mark in the bike world and beyond with his unique skills in taking whatever is available and creating bikes from scraps.
For Hispanic Heritage Month, NBC4’s Ted Chen profiles the man called the “father of junk.”
The next time you see a bunch of people riding an unusual looking bike, chances are at least one of them is the creation of one man.
Art Ramirez creates bicycles but not just any. They are the type to make your eyes stand out. His bikes have names like “skeleton”, “cobra”, “viper” and “tank”.
These are custom stretch bikes and they were born when Ramirez once looked at California riders and decided he wanted to do something different.
“All these guys every morning, I was going to have to do this but I didn’t want to do it this way,” Ramirez said.
Ramirez’s routes were being built from the ground up. He built his first bikes from bike parts he found in junkyards, hence the nickname “father of scrap metal”.
Soon his fame took off among bike enthusiasts who came to him with their vision of a dream bike.
Ramirez’s bikes win awards at bike shows across the country and they’re hugely popular at the Burning Man Festival. He now builds as many electric bikes as pedal bikes.
It was something else they helped build that drew even more attention. When a Hollywood St. vendor’s cart was knocked over and damaged five years ago, Ramirez helped build a new one, complete with LED lights and a longer-lasting battery.
Ramirez loves life on the bike. He sees it as a family and a community that loves to ride and where you might find Ramirez’s metals.