Positive Connections: Wichita man turns motorcycle into moving story

Positive Connections

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – A Wichita man’s motorcycle may have people taking a double or triple look.

“Some people call it art. Some people call it junk,” laughed Lyle Powers.

Powers is the proud owner of the Kansas Ratbike; a Harley he has transformed into moving memories.

“The stories people get to share, that’s the best part of doing what I do,” he said.

It all started in 2009 when Powers was on a trip driving through Colorado.

“We ran across an elk that was on the side of the road. Got a wild hair and decided I would attach it to the bike, so the lower part of the leg rode with us to Nevada,” he explained.

The collection grew from there.

“People started adding more stuff, and more stuff and more stuff. Then, it became a conversation piece and then we just started adding stuff as we went along,” Powers said. “I have had people literally take their shoes off and hang them on the bike. People take off watches, earbuds, mp3 players, and just set them on the bike.”

The bike has everything from a mannequin leg to a fishing pole and a bedpan. KSN asked Powers if he uses the bedpan. He said not exactly.

“It’s a great catch all. It’s got all my markers where people sign, so, no, I don’t use it,” he laughed.

All jokes aside, Powers said of the more than 100 items on his bike, he cherishes the veteran memorabilia and the dog tags the most.

“It’s an honor for somebody to trust, to want to share, to know I will carry on the person’s or pet’s legacy with me,” Power said.

Powers has also collected signatures from around the globe.

“I met a couple from Israel which was really neat when I was in Arkansas. Some Germans have signed on it, some people from Canada. I have had infants sit on it with their parents, of course, all the way up to, I went to senior homes,” he said. “What’s really neat is I will be in another state and somebody will come up and say ‘oh, I signed your bike two years ago and they will find their signature.'”

Powers will admit it’s a balancing act when deciding where and how to place each item. However, he said he would not have it any other way.

“I would love for the stories to get as big as they could because it’s not about myself. It’s about the bike and what it represents: the stories, the kids, our veterans, our police, our firemen, everybody that is in community service,” he said.

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