GREEN TREE, Pa. — Ever ride around in a pedal car? If you Google it, they’re made for kids under 10. But one Green Tree man, nearly 9 times older, fuels his brain by building them and steers his happiness by giving them away.
“It’s fun work though,” said Steve Tancraitor. “Not hard work. It’s enjoyable you know.”
88-year-old Steve Tancraitor finds joy in his basement. Each morning, he tinkers with tools and works on building pedal cars.
Tancraitor added, “That’s where it all started, back in the 70s.”
But his healthy obsession with pedal cars began long before that, when he was just five years old.
“Right up there,” said Tancraitor. “You see that little boy up there? That’s me. That’s my first pedal car.”
He says he’s had a pedal car problem. But now, it’s a solution. This hobby of his keeps his mind occupied. He finds comfort in the routine.
“I would get up at like 4 o’clock in the morning,” said Tancraitor. “Come down here and start playing with my toys.”
But at 9 a.m., he stops.
“Then the whole day I spend with her,” said Tancraitor.
That was until ten months ago. Tancraitor’s wife, Dorothy, died in October. Dorothy’s pedal car sits in the basement along with more than a dozen others, including a replica of the Kennywood car, a mail truck, a Mercedes and even a fire engine. In fact, he’s made a total of 40. He says he tries all of them out for himself in his basement, but when it’s nice outside, he takes them for a spin down his street. Then he gives them away.
“I don’t mind giving at all,” said Tancraitor. “Just seeing the kids how happy they are riding it.”
“Aw he makes these kids so happy,” said John Golock, Steve Tancraitor’s nephew.
And each pedal car gives him back more than he could ever give.
“He was always my hero,” said Golock. “Always wanted to be like Uncle Steve.”
Taincraitor says each car costs him about $50 to make. All he asks is that they’re not sold. If someone doesn’t want one of his pedal cars anymore his wish is for it to be passed along to someone else who would appreciate it. If you’re interested in a pedal car for your child or would like to donate any materials such as tires or metal, you can e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.