What is a tallbike?

A tallbike is generally defined as any bike that you can't reach the ground while sitting on the seat (some of the normal bikes I rode as a kid would fit this loose description!!).
More specifically though, a 'tallbike' is probably more than one bike that have been welded, bolted, or otherwise attached to each other vertically.
Long ago, most bikes actually were tallbikes. These had a huge front wheel and a smaller wheel in the back - they were called 'Penny Farthings'. Once the 'safety bicycle' and then the modern 'diamond frame' bicycle were developed, these rather unsafe penny farthings fell out of fashion (and were often banned by local municipalities). A modern tallbike is FAR safer than the penny farthings of old. For one, you can FREEWHEEL a modern tallbike, meaning that you don't have to constantly pedal while riding. Also, a modern tallbike has much less tendency to throw the rider over the handlebars when stopping suddenly. With just a few minutes practice mounting and dismounting your tallbike, your tallbike can actually be SAFER than a standard bicycle.

Safer? How so?

Most tallbicyclists know their bikes are safer than a standard bike, even though the people watching them probably wouldn't think this.
1) Cars actually pay attention to a strange-looking bicycle! Because you get noticed, they generally give you a wide berth.
2) A tallbike tips over more slowly, meaning you can ride considerably more slowly on a tallbike than a regular bike - this comes in handy when, say, following people walking on a bike path - you can actually ride your bike slower than most people walk!
3) In the event of an accident (they do happen), a tallbicyclist would probably go OVER the car instead of UNDER it.

As a rule, the bike is only as safe as the rider makes it - if you ride safely, you'll be safe.

How do you get up on that thing anyway??

When you ride a tallbike, by far the most often-asked question is "how do you get on/off that thing?" It's usually quite simple, and I often demonstrate when people ask.

Left mount, left foot up first... Push off and lift yourself up... Then swing your right foot over and RIDE!

The only tricky bit is to remember that the first foot up is the one that belongs to that pedal!

Here's an excellent video showing how one guy gets up and down off his (very) tall bike!
If you can't reach a pedal from the ground, you'll need something to step up on.

So, how do you build one?

Well, first you get yourself a wire-feed welder, I use a flux-core wire feeder, which doesn't require a shielding gas, then you clamp two frames on top of each other with 2x4s, run a pipe through the head tubes (steering tubes) after removing the forks, and weld the top frame's bottom bracket to the lower frame. It sounds complicated, but it really isn't.
Here's a video of some wire-feed welding. Don't worry, my welds look better than this guy's welds. :D

OK, I want one!

GREAT! Use the contact form at the top of the site and we'll get a hold of you! Instead of charging for their services, A tallbike builder will generally offer to show/help you to build your own tallbike.
We'll take donations of bikes, vegan cookies, and whatever else you'd like to give, but all we really ask is that you're motivated enough to help build your bike with us.

If you're in the Madison, Wisconsin area, drop me a line using the contact form and we'll discuss the construction process. If you're NOT near Madison, Wisconsin, I probably can't help you myself but I may be able to put you in touch with a bike club near you that can help.

There are also plenty of howtos online if you're interested in building one yourself! You'll need two steel frames and you'll need to either buy a welder or find someone to do the welding.
You might also check Craigslist to find a pre-built tallbike!

Happy biking!