The Neon Wheel Surfer
Photo by Jared Burnett
Sitting on the granite benches in front of T-Hall, I watched as “Neon Biker Guy” rode down Main Street, front wheel high in the air. He turned and biked up the hill to the bell tower, coming to a stop in front of me.
In addition to popping wheelies and building a ski slope on his garage roof, Powers has a fake graveyard in his front yard with mannequins in and around it, owns two pigs, and has won a number of high- heeled running races.
As soon as the bells finished chiming, he started speaking. A high-energy open book, Powers bounced from idea to idea at breakneck speed.
“People call me an interesting person,” Powers said seconds into the interview. “I literally have a ski slope I built off the roof of my garage. I want to make something cool. There’s a bunch of different blow-up stuff, strobe lights, (and when) you go through (the) tunnel of snow you go through a strobe light too.”
A baby boomer with the heart of a college student, Powers spends nearly all his free time playing outdoors. As a contractor in Rochester, he sets his own hours, so sometimes in the middle of the day he’ll stop working and bring his bike over to UNH. It’s been nearly six years since he first popped a wheelie on campus.
“I think I just want to play,” Powers said. “I just hope that they’ll see me here for many more years to come.”
Nameless to the general student body, “Crazy Neon Biker’s” unofficial monikers usually surround his outfit. According to Powers, there are two main reasons for the costume: he loves the color, and he loves to dress up.
“I have a whole wardrobe of crazy stuff,” said Powers. “I have a hat rack that looks like a pencil...I really have hats for everything, the big funky hats, dragon hats that hang down...so I go ski and I dress like that too.”
In addition to popping wheelies and building a ski slope on his garage roof, Powers has a fake grave- yard in his front yard with mannequins in and around it, owns two pigs, and has won a number of high- heeled running races.
Powers blames technology for keeping kids and adults alike away from the outdoors and silliness.
“All the same toys are still out here. They’re still making kickass mountain bikes and they’re getting better all the time,” Powers said. “Get out in your backyard and build a tree-fort!”
You can, however, find him online. He’s a featured contractor in the first two episodes of Pet Nation Renovation, a Project Pawsitive television show that aired on Animal Planet in 2016. In the show, Powers worked to help renovate animal shelters.
Instead of a website, Powers has a company Facebook page, Powers General Contracting, in addition to a personal account. Wary of the current political polarization, I gently brought up his highly political posts.
“I live by integrity: do what’s right even when nobody is watching,” Powers said. “I can’t control what’s happening in the political sphere, the crap that’s going on with both sides. I can only change me. If you want to win an argument with someone, you have to be able to argue their side for them. That means you know them enough to know their argument. I personally love to talk to liberals. If everybody did that, we might not be so polarized.”
Powers said he hoped to be biking, skiing, playing, and having fun for years to come. “I’m 20 until I’m 80. I’ll die at 80, (and until then) I’m still 20.”