Note the photos above include Mike the Talking Bikes from both Minnesota and Illinois programs.
Schwinn 1971 IHP Gray Ghost 1-Spd (One of a Kind)
The Last Official Surviving Official Iowa Highway Patrol
"Mike the Talking Bike" in the world.
In the early l 970's the Iowa State Patrol Maintained a fleet of 13 custom made Schwinn Gray Ghosts bikes , (one for each of the IHP's 13 patrol districts) complete with public address system , siren, revolving red light and battery operated tape recorder.
This bike was called "Mike the Talking Bike" Mike was kind of a puppet show in which a pre recorded script between the bike (Mike) and a Iowa State Trooper was played though the on board public address system . The Trooper used Mike and a flip chart to promote bicycle safety to elementary schools through out the State of Iowa. Many along time Iowa natives will recognize that the voice of Mike the Talking Bike was that of the late Duane Elliott, who was the host of the long running WHO-13 (NBC) TV program called " The Floppy Show.
Mike was also used at health fairs and was on display at the Iowa State Fair, Hall of Justice under the main grandstands for many years. After complaints of back injuries among the Troopers when loading and unloading their Mikes in to patrol cars, all of the 13 Mike the Talking Bikes were to be retired from service in the l 980's. and replaced with smaller 16" wheeled, lighter, non-talking red Schwinn Gremlin Bikes. ( See Group Photo with Troopers with 13 replacement Schwinns)
In 1992 a total of 12 of the 13 Mike the Talking Bikes were decommissioned and dismantled , but with the Patrol's permission one and only one of the original Mike the Talking Bikes was preserved intact . The last surviving Mike was on display at Barr Bike for many years (see in background with other Krates in photo with Jim) but has been in climate controlled dark storage for the last 20 years. This bike has been featured in "Stingrays II" a national published hardback book and is a highly collectible in the world of mussel bikes. In 2002 Mike was valued at over $9,000 and listed on E-Bay with a reserve of $12,000. This Mike is 100% original and includes the original four cassettes audio tapes with IHP Post markings, AC charging adapter, and a framed Iowa State Patrol Certificate of Appreciation signed by the Colonel of the Iowa State Patrol at the time.
The bike has never been ridden outside and has a few small scratches and some fading from the 1970's usage. Last time we had the bike powered up, all the electronics worked including the tape player, siren, red revolving light and P.A. The owner of the bike is moving and does not have the room to store this piece at his new home.
If you are seriously interested in owning his part of American Bicycle History or Iowa Law Enforcement history for any collection or display. This bike is the real deal, not a knock off or a re-pop. There are 12 of the striped down versions, but none are 100% complete and original like this one. This a piece of history that can be researched and further complemented by finding other parts of this 1971 school presentation. Similar programs were used in both Minnesota and Illinois (See above photos).
In spring of 2019 Mike was sold and left the state of Iowa. He was reunited with two of the other striped down " Iowa Mike the Talking Bikes" that belonged a personal collection in Boston Massachusetts. Mike made the trip via the back seat of a car service so that he would not have to be disassembled or boxed up. I am sure he will be well cared and admired for years to come by the collator of the collection. We will update this page if any new information is available.
More Info and Taking Bike audio clip at: