Riding tall in Cuba

CNC
Added On November 14, 2017

Like many people, Felix Guirola enjoys riding around the streets of Havana on his bike. 
 
The only difference is, Felix's bike was made by himself and is almost four meters tall.
 
Let's take a look.
 
The 52-year-old has been remodeling bikes for nearly four decades.
 
His passion could date back to August 1981 when he first saw a tandem.
 
Unable to afford one, he decided to made his own.
 
His first work was a two-meter-high bike, which he showed off at a local carnival in his hometown of Ciego de Avila in central Cuba the same year.
 
SOUNDBITE 1 (Spanish): FELIX GUIROLA, Bicycle maker
"I have it here in my house. I still keep it."
 
Guirola claimed that he held the world record for the tallest bicycle between 1987 and 2004 despite that no one knew except his neighbors.
 
In November 2010, Guirola moved to Havana, where he lived in the basement of an old art-deco building. 
 
There he ran a small workshop, working with metal pieces and bike parts.
 
It was in that workshop where his desire to break the Guinness World Record became an obsession, the one he finally achieved.
 
With a 7.3-meter high bicycle, Guirola beat U.S. bike maker Riche Trimble, by over a meter.
 
Trimble even traveled to Havana last April to visit Guirola, and the rivals have established a close friendship.
 
SOUNDBITE 2 (Spanish): FELIX GUIROLA, Bicycle maker
"At the moment, he is preparing a tandem six meters high, two seats, to ride between the two and set a record with two hands."
 
Guirola's wife Francisca Acosta is already used to her husband's obsession. 
 
Guirola even sometimes ferries her to work some days on top of one of his unique giant bikes.
 
SOUNDBITE 3 (Spanish): FRANCISCA ACOSTA, Felix Guirola's wife
"That's why I'm not afraid of height any more because I got to ride with him for a long time and I lost my fear, because I see that he's a genius with bicycles."
 
Guirola goes up and down his bicycles with an amazing agility, a legacy of his years as a boxer. He won four national championships in the 48 and 51 kg divisions.
 
Watching him riding around the streets on his megabike is still a spectacle for passers-by, especially for children.
 
SOUNDBITE 4 (Spanish): RAYDEL SANCHEZ, Local resident
"That's a unique thing, because I would not do that. He deserves a great prize because he is a man who knows, who has balance and is brave."
 
SOUNDBITE 5 (Spanish): WILLIAM GONZALEZ, Local resident
"Against the air, against everything, that guy with that bike up there, my brother, deserves a prize."
 
SOUNDBITE 6 (Spanish): ALEJANDRO MOYA, Local resident
"Well, the bicycle is, I think that the way it was structured seems to me is a work of walking art."