Woods pinball ricochet piloting by shoulders, hips, leaning into the grips and over brake bucking foiled if you think or plan too much. Approach an ascending series of switchbacks, drop three bike lengths off the […]
David Herlihy — the author of The Lost Cyclist and Bicycle: The History — recently gave a terrific presentation on the portrayal of cycling in Puck, an important turn of the 20th century humor magazine. The event was hosted by REI Soho in the sub basement of the historic building where Puck was edited and printed. Throughout, he weaved details from the history of cycling, including stories of the influence of Frank Lenz on the American popular imagination regarding the possibilities and promise of bicycle travel. Herlihy’s warm style and thoughtful responses to questions kept the audience engaged, and the images were amusing and informative.
What came through clearly is just how remarkable a cultural moment the advent of the bicycle was. The very idea of self powered mobility that was accessible regardless, to a degree, of class, gender, or race was transformative. The safety bicycle was not merely practical but also provocative and symbolic. The fact that bicycles figure so prominently in social commentary cartoons shows that this wasn’t latent or happening below awareness. Readers could readily make sense of the deep changes being portrayed by cartoons of women leaving their children with their husbands to ride around the countryside in knickers, or of a Rockefeller riding alongside a worker, or of a pastor’s flock riding past the church on a Sunday morning. Obviously, the bicycle was not the sole or even main cause of these changes, but bicycles played enough of a role to be a ready metaphor for them. Moreover, pressure to develop the bicycle played a significant role in accelerating manufacturing techniques and expertise to a level where motorcycles, automobiles, and airplanes were conceivable.
Request a taxicab big enough to load the bike box into. Rolls up in the clinging arrogant heat that only cities, glorious historical ones, have, can see immediately it won’t work. But we make it […]
Famous hot spring nearly sunset all to myself washing the chalk white grime and drag and my battered threadbare from me. Hard wonderful days on tan orange greyblack windswept tracks close to the clouds. Now […]
Here is not for the claustrophobic, bodies shuffling chaos very close at varying speeds according to age or browsing impulse or impatience. The streets are not closed to traffic, so taxi and bus horns punctuate […]
A diversion from the AM sun and road tilt, I expectantly spool up Schwalbe tire tracks and craft scant hint fictions about the pair of cyclists I am trailing. One rides the shortest line, the […]
You walk in, there are four or five tables. You don’t necessarily get your own, you just find an open spot, perhaps people rotate around and bring in a chair to make room for you…
End of the day, descending into the town square next to the basilica, I am on a one-way street going in the correct direction, motorcycle red blue red lights coming towards me. Pull over, there […]
Envisioning volcanoes, jungle tracks, salt flats and glaciers. Altitude and crater lakes and sawtooth crags, hypoxic dirt routes (if I’m not careful, tourist nonsense pan flutes). For me, South America is to Asia like ground is […]
Picturing the destination, half remembered images seen or interpolated from descriptions in books read while comfortable on a couch long before ever imagining I’d visit there. Reading a few other people’s packing lists and past […]
Must have misunderstood the phone message mission description, somehow under the impression that we’d load up bikes, drive to the distant trailhead, do the mysterious on the map long loop, back in the truck and […]
In them danger, confidence, mystery, promise, potential. It’s the initial fantasy meets The Plan, then as part of the essential equipment that gives a unity and a steadiness in the span of the doing, found […]
I live again in the small New England town where I first started mountain biking. Sometimes I ride the same tracks that I did back then, but usually not, those abandoned 19th century woods roads, […]
Is there such a thing? Sure, if you focus on the very ends of various spectra. There are times when there is a right bike: full suspension for high speed super chunky descents, a time […]
Newspaper and television images, then the images of our lowest and high sentiments take over. Abbottabad, Pakistan is in the media today. The narrative and emotional context for Americans interleaves our September 11th staggering heartbreaking tragedy, […]