World's Largest Bicyclist
"Ben Bikin'" is the name given to this 32-foot-tall sculpture of a Gay Nineties cyclist atop an old high wheel contraption. Because Victorian-era bicycles were so tall anyway, this statue seems less impressive than it probably should. It was built by hometown fiberglass gurus F.A.S.T. Corp. to mark Sparta's claim as Bicycling Capital of America.
We drove past Ben Bikin' in the late 1990s when he was apparently in a less photogenic part of town. He has since been moved to a more postcard-perfect roadside park, and a speaker box has been added so that he can tell visitors about attractions in the area.
Ben is now also referred to as "Big Ben," as his popularity has spawned a real-life look-alike, "Little Ben," who rides around town as a civic mascot.
It's curious that Sparta chose an old timey bicycle and rider, when it could have commissioned a gigantic Astro-Bicycle pedaled by local space hero Deke Slayton.
Update: A nearly identical cyclist, dressed in blue and white and named "Will B. Rolling," was unveiled in Port Byron, Illinois, in late 2013.