Anyone could mistake Llyod Mager as a machete-wielding, coconut-mango-mutilating maniac! Only he’s our Neighbor of the Week, and trusted guide of the one-and-only Lloyd’s Tropical Bike Tours! Just this week, he saddled up on his ten-year old, “Conchtified”, Giant mountain bike to take The Weekly Newspapers down the bike path he followed to become one of the most recognized characters in the Florida Keys.
“Coconuts! Ahhhh!” screams a random man hanging sans his shirt from a coconut palm on the corner of Key West’s White Street and Atlantic Boulevard.
Lloyd Mager haults Llyod’s Tropical Bike Tour to assist another newfound friend as he scales down the trunk. Then shouts out to the pick-up truck, clearly labeled: Monroe County Public Works Department, “Hey, guys! What’s up?”
“He should be mayor,” convinces Robert Killan with the Moped Hospital. “I don’t know why he isn’t.”
What Lloyd is, is hard to capture in 500 words or less with a couple pictures.
After filling The Weekly Newspapers in on the fact that not even he scales coconut palms… because the leaves are full of giant, red fire ants and “other animals,” we’ll take it from the beginning.
The year was 1972. Little Llyod was a ripe mango at the age of 20. He’d had about 12 jobs that year while living in suburbia New Jersey with his dad.
“Everything was confining,” reminisces Llyod. “My father said I had to figure out what I want to do and I knew it wasn’t working in a restaurant, department store, or factory.”
So, he followed his older brother, now Captain Rick Mager with Flats Fever, down to Key West.
“Back then it was inexpensive to live in Key West. My rent was $100 a month. The most important objective was to have free time,” Llyod explains. “Especially, during the day so I could play. I had to be at the beach, playing tennis, or snorkeling.”
Oh, how the island has evolved. According to Llyod, tourists would venture down only to be frightened because everyone had long hair, didn’t wear shoes, and were zonked out.
“People were stoned, people were tripping,” recalls Lloyd, who lived in a house “full of hippees” across from the graveyard on Olivia Street.
“Then in the 80’s a lot of people with money started to discover Key West.”
18 years ago, Llyod set out to capture the barefoot, bike riding essence with his bike tour.
Handling a machete, slicing away at a coconut near the basketball courts at Bayview Park, Llyod is clearly living his dream.
“I want the tourists to ride with me and say, ‘This is your job! Laughing all day and showing us how to eat fruit off the trees?’ The answer is yes,” remarks Llyod as coconut shreds fly into the crowd of ten bike riders around him.
“The new generations are being fooled into thinking it takes a lot of money to be happy, and to enjoy life you have to reach some sort of status to be happy … you have to have things, but you know, one of the biggest things in the 70’s drummed into me ‘Don’t worry about the future just enjoy life and find out who you are find out in your heart what you’d like to be doing, then your world will come together.’”
Lloyd’s Custom Working Tour Bike
• $1,600 Giant “Conchtified” Moutain Bike
• 2 Saddle Bags
• 1 Spyderco Folding Pocket Knife
• Another pocket knife
• 1 machete
• 1 Towel
• 2 Bells
• Air Pump
“We’re going to have a coconut party!” exclaims Lloyd. Watch out for the shrapnel!