Mike on a Bike: Brantford’s Big Hearted Guy
Luvern interviews Brantford’s most famous Mike.
Why hasn’t ‘Mike On A Bike’ been interviewed before? He’s one of the most loved guys in Brantford. Everyone knows what he looks like, where to find him, how friendly and helpful he is, but there are lots of questions about him. B Scene brings you the inside story of Mike On A Bike!
Here’s how it came about and it’s truly beautiful. I asked B Scene’s owner/publisher Jason Freeze, “If you could interview anyone in Brantford, who would it be?” He immediately said, “Mike On A Bike.” I loved that idea! With no contact information, off to Facebook I went with the simple question, “Does anyone know how I can contact Mike other than on Facebook?” What I found instead was so much love for him from his Brantford fans. They posted where he frequents and shared heart warming stories, but the majority of people shared their love for Mike and here are some quotes:
“Best guy in Brantford, always happy he is” by Eric. 19 likes on that comment alone.
“Mike deserves to have a street or park named after him. If Gretzky can have a street name why not Mike on a bike 🙂 He’s a great guy and deserves it!” by Catherine. 15 likes for that comment.
“Mike is iconic in Brantford. Once I was talking on my cell phone to my son out West, Mike grabs my phone and starts talking to him! LOL” by Susan, getting 12 likes.
“When Kevin Smith did his comedy bit a few years ago at the Sanderson Centre he said we should vote Mike on a bike for our mayor” by Matt. 12 more likes.
“He deserves a high end new bike he deserves it!!! Wish everybody was as happy and jovial as he is. It would be a better world!!!!!” by Sheila, netting 12 likes.
“He has a kind word for everyone he comes into contact with. He is an amazing man. He deserves a medal if not more. I put him up there with Walter Gretzky” by Diane, for 8 likes.
“I moved to Paris 10 years ago, and in the first few weeks I ran into the most delightful upbeat guy on a bike I’ve ever met, it was Mike on his bike. I’ve never sat and talked to a complete stranger so long! I make it a point to stop what ever I’m doing and chat with him when I can, he truly is awesome!!” by Brandon. 7 additional likes.
Mike and I went to see the movie ‘Run All Night’ a few weeks ago and had a fun night together. We shared nachos loaded with cheese sauce, and he quietly watched the movie beside me. I was invited into his home after the movie where he offered me his homemade lasagna. It was pretty good!
“If you could meet anyone in the world, who would it be,” I asked? “You.” he said staring right at me with a smile. Mike left for a moment and reappeared with silk red roses. With his big infectious smile he said “Here you go,” as he handed them to me! After a warm thankful hug we continued the interview. “You’re the nicest guy ever Mike,” I told him. “Yup!” he replied.
I asked him if he wanted to be in the newspaper, and he said “yes.” Curiously, I asked why and was amazed at his fun loving straightforward answer. “Because I’m famous.”
Obviously, Brantford adores Mike and here’s a part of his story. Mike has an older brother and sister and lives with both of his incredibly supportive parents. They originally lived in a very rough part of Hamilton which resulted in his family moving to the safety of Brantford. His mother encourages him to create art, and Mike was eager to show off his talents. He replicates amusement park rides, using cardboard, coloured markers and glue, and from these will often only take him a few hours. These are extremely detailed, very sturdy pieces of art that his parents treasure. He’s been building three dimensional amusement park rides for years, completely from memory.
He was born a healthy and vibrant little boy on September 24th, 1974. At 3 years old, his family noticed major differences in his behaviour. At 5 years old he was diagnosed with autism. People with autism are known to withdraw from social interactions, but our Mike craves attention, is outgoing and super friendly.
Mike went to Jane Laycock School and is fully able to read and write. He excels with repetitive functions, such as vacuuming, washing dishes, painting, leaf collecting, garbage removal, cooking, and he makes a great lasagna! He owns his own snow blower and lawn mower and without asking, he willingly uses them to lend a helping hand at neighbouring homes. What a lovely surprise coming home to a clear driveway or fresh cut grass! One time, the police were contacted for a disturbance involving Mike by a disgruntled neighbour. No charges were laid and after all the drama subsided, without missing a beat, Mike still cleared the snow from their driveway. That melted my heart because he held no anger. When asked if anyone was mean to him, he replied “No.” He has been employed as a cleaner, but was laid off and decided to retire because Mike decided helping his neighbours was a better job.
Why does he wave at everyone? Well, when Mike was a child he walked with his father downtown Hamilton. His dad would wave at people and say “Hello, how are you?” Like father, like son. His nickname used to be ‘Dancing Mike’ because “I danced with a bunch of girls,” he giggled. He goes to Frankie’s every Friday night to socialize, sing karaoke and dance. Tuesday nights he an be seen at the movies. He enjoys car racing at Wacky Wings. By the way, feel free to race beside him. At six years old he could drive a go-kart like a pro!
He loves amusement parks, festivals, carnivals, outdoor events, water parks, monster trucks, and go-karts. Mike has been to the CNE, and has been to Disneyland. The Zipper is his favourite ride. What makes Mike happy? “Jake (his nephew) is taking me to Canada’s Wonderland this year,” he replied. You can always find Mike where the fun is!
It’s clear Brantford not only supports, but takes care of him in many ways. Gus & Guido’s will offer him a free meal, which is perfect because Mike’s favourite is spaghetti. Tim Horton’s offers him free coffee occasionally too.
Mike owns a GMC truck, although he doesn’t drive it or have a license. Despite this, he travels every day, regardless of the weather and frequently wears jean shorts. Have you ever fallen off your bike? “I never fall off,” he quickly answered. Mike rides his bike throughout Brantford, as far as Burford, and Six Nations and enjoys the off-road trails as well. He’s very proud he can fix his own bike! Every three months the tires are replaced and The Bicycle Shop provides maintenance. There’s a new bike on order with them which is very bright lime green (his favourite colour). Wouldn’t it be great if he had a bike computer to see how far he travels in a day?
I think our beloved Mike has brought a positive spirit to the residents of Brant County and each encounter is unique and memorable. Mike is loving, gentle, kind, respectful and is a wonderful example of how happy a person can be. I believe he has brought thousands of smiles to us, which has resulted in a kinder, gentler city.
Would you like to let him know you care? Would you enjoy knowing that you’ve given back in some small way? If so, here’s an exciting opportunity! The Bicycle Shop is accepting donations towards his new bike and accessories! Drop in to 228 Clarence Street and leave your donation for the “Mike On A Bike” fund. Imagine this. Mike on his brand new ride happy as can be, but this time a part of his bike is from you. He’s iconic, friendly, interactive and everywhere!
Here are a few other ideas to show your support:
1) Wave back, smile with a friendly hello and stop for a chat.
2) Sing and dance with him at Frankie’s. (He only drinks pop).
3) Ask him if he needs art supplies such as markers, or glue.
4) Offer to race cars with him in Wacky Wing’s arcade.
5) Give him copies of the old TV show “W.K.R.P.” or memorabilia.
6) Go with him on rides at fairs, especially the Zipper and bumper cars.
7) Go to the movies with him.
8) Ask to have your picture taken with him.
Mike, you made the B Scene because you deserve it! Brant county is saying ‘thank you’ for the thousands of smiles you give us every day. These smiles make us feel happier, and as a result you have made this city more friendly and positive. It’s been suggested that you should have the title Ambassador of Smiles, and plenty of us agree. You are Brantastic! Keep smiling!
Editor’s Note: This article has been amended from it’s original published version April 15, 2015, and again May 3rd, 2016, when an error resurfaced.http://www.bscene.ca/brantford/mike-on-a-bike-brantfords-big-hearted-guy/BrantBRANTasticBrantfordCommunityamusement park rides,Autism,Brant,Brantford,Burford,friendly,Gus & Guido's,iconic,interactive,Mike On A Bike,Six Nations,The Bicycle Shop,truck