IS it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s an unusually tall bike ridden by a postman.
Pete Thompson, of Banbury Road, Summertown, Oxford, was spotted atop his bespoke contraption on his way to work on Monday morning.
The 42-year-old will not be pedalling it on his delivery duties – he usually walks – but is using it as a “summer” bike.
Mr Thompson, who is originally from Western Australia, has worked as a postman in Oxford for eight years.
He said: “I’d seen pictures of these kind of bikes on the internet and I just decided I’d like to get one.”
He found a man in Birmingham who specialises in building wacky machines – including ‘backwards bicycles’ – and placed an order.
The seat is 6ft high and the bike cost £250.
There is a small step attached to the back which allows the rider to climb on.
“Everyone smiles when they see me cycle past,” said Mr Thompson.
“I took the bike out to Port Meadow over the weekend and I had a couple wanting to take pictures of me. Someone recognised me as the ‘tall bike guy’ the other day, even though I didn’t have it with me.”
Mr Thompson broke his elbow five weeks ago when he was first trying out the bike in Cowley.
“The problem arose when I reached a red light, he said.
“You either have to jump off quickly or lean against the traffic lights for stability.”
But Mr Thompson – who drives an old Subaru Legacy when he does need to travel by car – is already pedalling to work again.
He said: “My wife has been insisting on me wearing elbow pads.”
His biggest precaution now has been careful planning of his routes.
He said: “The bike’s only got one gear so I have to avoid big hills, or just ride up them very slowly! I don’t cycle very fast on it at all.”
This is not the first time Mr Thompson has ridden a strange bicycle and he plans to embark on more unusual journeys.
“I actually rode an old Post Office bike to Paris once because I couldn’t afford to get there any other way,” he said.
Future plans are to ride his tall bike from Oxford to London for charity.
But for now the public will have to make the most of spotting Mr Thompson on his bike in Oxford this summer.
“I won’t be taking it out in the winter – it’s probably a bit unpractical with the weather,” he said.
“I should probably add that the council needs to trim branches around the city for us tall bike riders!”