Thousands of bicycles are stolen every year, but for some reason, people care more when it happens to someone like Mickey Clean.
That's because, over the last ten years, Mickey has become something of a local celebrity. He's the guy who does those crayon caricatures in the bars along Fort Lauderdale beach and, as we told you in this cover story in December, he was also one of the forefathers of American punk music and a celebrated artist in his day.
For years, he's ridden his bike from his Victoria Park neighborhood to the beach to draw people for beer and dollars. But for the past few weeks, he's been forced to take the bus.
On a chilly night not long ago, Mickey was sipping a beer, waiting for a bus across from the Elbo Room. "They just took it," Mickey said. "I parked it in the alley, and I turned around and the bastards took it. Can you believe it?"
The bike Mickey had been riding for the past year was a Christmas gift from Jeff Rudd, owner of the Treasure Trove, an open-air bar and predominantly local hangout on AlA two blocks south of Las Olas Boulevard.
"He just makes everyone happy," Rudd told me last year. "He's here every day, like a fixture on the beach." Rudd estimates that he's poured Mickey well over 1,000 beers in the past decade (all gratis) and says that Mickey will be welcome as long as he owns the bar.
As Mickey saves up for another bike -- or, more accurately, hopes someone will give him another one -- he says he's still planning on marketing his vulgar cartoon rat character, Rodney the Rodent. After our initial cover story was published, Mickey received an outpouring of support. He got packages in the mail full of art supplies, watches, and wallets. Someone sent him a statue of a blue rat.
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In the meantime, anyone interested in helping Mickey out can find him at the beach, as usual.
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