White Bicycle Fence Artist Signs Copies of New Children’s Book in Old Town

| December 7, 2014 | 0 Comments | Arts & Entertainment
Tom Noll signs his children's book at the Opera House Gourmet in the City of Manassas.

Tom Noll signs his children’s book at the Opera House Gourmet in the City of Manassas.

Anyone who lived in or near Manassas between 1993 and 2011 should remember the house with the white bicycle fence on the corner of Sudley Road and Portner Avenue. While some people found the fence to be out of place, others saw it as a landmark and loved how it added an artistic flair to the neighborhood.

Tom Noll, the artist behind the bicycle fence, visited The Opera House Gourmet on Center Street in The City of Manassas after the Greater Manassas Christmas Parade Saturday. He was selling and signing his new children’s book “The White Bicycle Fence.”

Noll will be back at The Opera House Gourmet Sunday at noon, to sign and sell more books.

Noll explained that his book is the story of a young boy, L.T., whose father loved to recycle. L.T. is afraid his dad will build him a recycled bicycle, rather than buying him a new one. However, he soon learns to embrace recycling and goes on to create a bicycle fence.

The story encourages kids to recycle and explains to them how they can help save the planet. Surprising, Noll’s story is not only loosely based on his Manassas bicycle fence; it is a true story from his childhood.

“I had [a bicycle fence] when I was little,” said Noll, explaining that while that fence only consisted of four bicycles, otherwise it happened as it did in “The Bicycle Fence.”

Noll decided to write the children’s book to share his passion for creative recycling with the next generation.

“This book is to get the kids excited about recycling in a new way,” he said.

However, for residents of Manassas, the story will always be reminiscent of the infamous “Bicycle House.” When Noll lived in at Dr. Weaver’s house on Sudley Road, the doctor allowed him to build another bicycle fence. Noll started with a few bicycles. After a time, people started donating used bicycles to add the collection.

“People kept dropping off bicycles, and that’s how it got to be 30 bicycles,” he said.

Tom Noll's "Save the Planet" Recycling truck.

Tom Noll’s “Save the Planet” Recycling truck.

Noll enjoyed dressing up the fence for the holidays, as he also enjoyed building garden sculptures in the backyard.Then, being an artist of various modes, in 2010, Noll started working on his children’s book. It took four long years, but it has finally been released.

Now, Noll is working with a distributor who is helping him to sell his children’s book in bookstores across the country and on Amazon.

Throughout his journey as an author, he has not forgotten his neighbors. Although he no longer lives on Sudley Road, he has donated books to Prince William libraries and has made sure to return to the Manassas Historic District for a holiday book signing.

Retired from his former job, Noll said he enjoys writing, sharing his stories with children and working on his garden sculptures. Currently, he lives in D.C. on Rhode Island Avenue and First Street NW where he displays a small bicycle fence. He still decorates the bicycles for the holidays and special occasions.

And, as the author of “The Bicycle Fence,” Noll drives a multi-color 1950s truck, similar to the one his father used to own. Rather than a motley junkyard relic, his is a bright advertisement for creative recycling and “The Bicycle Fence.”

In April, Noll is releasing his second book in his L.T. Trash to Treasure series, “Selling Eggs.” The third book in his series will be, “The Flowerbed.” Future book will include facts about recycling.

Those interested in purchasing Noll’s book can purchase at the discounted price of $15 at The Opera House Gourmet. For those who prefer to buy online, they can apply the 25 percent discount using code LTBIKE25 on Amazon.

Jan Alten, owner of The Opera House Gourmet, wanted to invite Noll for a book signing because she appreciates how the Bicycle House pushed boundaries.

“I’ve lived here in Manassas since 1973. I remember when the bicycle fence first came up. The whimsy of it captured me,” she said.

Alten said she enjoys when people are not afraid to stand out and add a little flair to the neighborhood.

“Somebody has to carry on the tradition of being a little other there,” she said.

Alten explains it is the same reason she has pink flamingos in her window, which once graced the windows of Manassas antique store.

“It’s whimsical. With good taste, you can stretch it a little bit.”

© 2014, Bristow Beat. All rights reserved.

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