Elk antler bike
Jehren Boehm rides his elk antler bike in Bozeman recently.

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Don't tell Jehren Boehm he has a nice rack. 

It's not that he doesn't like to be recognized for his majestic transportation - an old beater of a bike with an imposing 5x6 elk rack taking the place of handlebars.

Boehm, 20, just asks that if you heckle, do so with a bit of originality.

Nice rack "was funny at first," he said.

That was until the father figure of one passing family commented "Well there's a horny young fellow," and had Boehm rolling.

"I'd like to see more of those" kinds of comments, Boehm said.

The bike, its body painted with cow spots and its wheel rims' faux gold, was left in an alley behind his house off South 12th Avenue last Halloween.

The rack was a trophy, taken in the fall and intended for a European mount that never materialized. By spring, it stunk. Something had to be done.

"I can't ever pin a moment where I said, ‘I should put those antlers on the bike," Boehm said.

But there they were - a bike and a rack both in need of a little TLC.

And in his garage shop, Boehm just happened to have a drill bit the size of the existing handlebars.

While cumbersome, and admittedly a bit of a shaky ride, Boehm said the sheer girth of the elk bike isn't a problem.

"People get out of the way," Boehm said.

He also has an elkhorn bugle to call ahead a warning that he's coming through.

However, it's still precarious. When he rides through town, "everyone wants to take pictures."

As if on cue, a car full of gawkers rolled past, its occupants giving Boehm thumbs up and huge smiles. Boehm returned the smiles and waved as the car continued on.

"I originally didn't make it to show off," Boehm said of the attention, "but that's what it has become."

Boehm, originally from Truckee, Calif., plans on transferring from Montana State University in the fall, but said he intends to keep the bike in Bozeman for visits.

The elk bike may seem a case of form over function, with wobbly wheels, a lack of brakes and the turning radius of an SUV. Still, Boehm explained how the horns can hold a couple pizza boxes level, easily cart grocery bags and provide ample spears for keeping aluminum cans to recycle.

The quirks could be fixed, but Boehm made a pact not to spend a dime on the project. When its frame was cut in half this summer while Boehm was out of town, he secured it with a green metal post. The fix only seems to add to its hodge-podge charm.

"It may not be perfect, but it's perfect," he said.

Rachel Hergett may be reached at rhergett@dailychronicle.com or 582-2603.


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