Many folks in Cape Cod know of Lance Shinkle and his gorgeous, handcrafted wooden carousel horses, including the Carousel of Light in Falmouth, and the world’s only bicycle pedal-powered carousel in Bourne’s Aptucxet Trading Post windmill. However, when Shinkle jumps on his motorcycle and heads out for the day, many just refer to him as the guy riding the lion.

Not long ago, Shinkle and his lion parked outside of a hardware store in Wareham and it wasn’t long before someone shared the photos of his amazing bike to Facebook. Happily, Shinkle answered all of my questions about his bike because I'm not the first, nor the last person to be intrigued by the king of the concrete jungle.

While the bike certainly is a piece of art, surprisingly it only took three months to build. Shinkle said he had the foresight to make a mold of the bike when he was first building it in the '80s. This means a second bike will only take about two weeks to make between construction and painting.

"The actual bike itself is a Honda Rebel, and the lion mold is made of fiberglass, aluminum, and leather," he said. "I'm hoping to find a Harley Sportster to build a second bike."

Shinkle said he lives in Argentina a few months out of the year and will likely sell the bikes down there when he’s ready.

When I asked why he chose a lion, expecting some great story about the king of the jungle, Shinkle simply said it was because of the lion’s mane.

"The big mane perfectly covers the gap between the bike’s gas tank and front wheel and a regular animal wouldn’t be able to do that," he said.

Shinkle said any time he pulls into a gas station or store, people stop him to ask questions and he always lets them sit on the bike for a photo. He said it has its promotional benefits, too. Not only is it a true example of his work on the carousels, but he would happily ride around town in a company’s branded gear if they let him.

For Lance Shinkle and his hand-crafted lion motorcycle, the merry-go-round never stops – and he is okay with that.

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