An image of a bicycle embedded into a tree is being shared widely across social media platforms associating it with a short story which goes like ‘A boy went to war in 1914 and left his bike chained to a small tree. He never made it home, and his family left the bike by the tree in his memory. This is that tree today.’ Through this article, let’s fact-check the veracity of the story.
Claim: Image of a cycle embedded into a tree, which was left behind a young boy going off to war in 1914.
Fact: According to various news reports, the bicycle was of Don Puz, a local resident of Vashon Island, and he’d probably left that behind back in 1954. Multiple news articles have reported the same. Experts have rejected that a sapling grew over the bicycle by swallowing it, rather they opined that the bicycle was hung onto to a well grown tree, which over the years grew over it. Hence the claim made in the post is FALSE.
Google search with relevant keywords yielded multiple news articles which have reported the same image. According to one such article, the bicycle was left behind by one Don Puz, a local resident of Vashon Island back in 1954.
The article reported Don Puz’s mother saying he left behind the bicycle after playing with his friends in the woods. Further, according to the article, Don identified that it was his bicycle, however, he does not remember how the bike was left behind.
Another news article also reported that it was left behind by Don Puz back in 1950s. However, Elizabeth Van Volkenburgh, Department of Biology professor at the University of Washington rejected the idea of a sapling growing under the bicycle and swallowing it. He rather opined that the bicycle had probably been hung onto the tree and later on the tree grew over it.
Few other articles which reported the actual story behind the bicycle can be read here and here. All these establish that the bicycle is not as old as claimed in the post and it has nothing to do with a fallen war soldier.
To sum it up, this image doesn’t show a tree grown over the bicycle of a fallen war soldier.