Only in San Francisco: the Piano Bike Man

Man makes his living playing for tips on a piano-equipped bicycle

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Man makes his living playing for tips on a piano-equipped bicycle. Robert Wellington reports. (Published Friday, Jul 19, 2013)

    San Francisco is a beacon city for every type of street performer.

    City streets are dotted with singers, dancers, skippers, and musicians who seem to eek out a living doing what they love best.

    A keen eye will see that the silvermen, drummers, bushmen, and the like often copy each other.

    But there is one performer who is like no other. Meet Gary Skaggs, a guy who just might be a sure fire original.

    Skaggs, 51, combined his skills as a craftsman and a musician and refurbished a trashed mini-piano he found and mounted it on a bicycle.

    He has christened his creation "St Frankenstein," because it was brought back from the piano dead with pieces he scavenged from other instruments.

    "The piano and the bike together weigh 325 pounds and I've always been a pretty lazy piano player  with no athletic experience. I don't even golf. So it's hard for me to push around a big piano," said Skaggs.

    He says he's easy to find. "I can't many places in San Francisco just because of the hills so I spend most of my time on the Embarcadero and on Market Street; but if you're ever been down Market Street so you know that you can cross quite a few time zones in a very short distance so I get to interact with everybody - every type of nationality, every type of suit or no clothing or whatever. It's always fascinating," he said. 

    And if you happen to be in his path the four days of the week he performs, you will soon be able to buy his new CD.