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RIDE IT OUT...

 
 

Tour de Bicycle!

   

 

Although so young, he is also rational. He has chosen the most rational mode of transport in the world for his trip around the Carpathians. To ride a bicycle is itself some protection against superstitious fear, since the bicycle is the product of pure reason applied to motion. Geometry at the service of man!  Give me two spheres and a straight line and I will show you how far I can take them.  Voltaire himself might have invented the bicycle, since it contributes much to man’s welfare and nothing to his bane.  Beneficial to the health, it emits no harmful fumes and permits only the most decorous of speeds.  How can a bicycle ever be an implement of harm?"  
Angela Carter, in her gothic and ornamental short story The Lady of the House of Love (from the collection
Burning Your Boats

 

The bicycle as an essential as well: Vittorio De Sica’s 1948 neorealist classic The Bicycle Thief (Ladri di Biciclette–The Bicycle Thieves is the original title) tells the story of Antonio Ricci, a poor worker who hangs up posters for a living and whose bike is stolen one day on the streets of Rome—without his bicycle he cannot perform his job or support his family.  And so begins a tumultuous adventure through the piazzas and boulevards of Rome (the film was shot entirely in situ), a frantic attempt to find his beloved, lost bicycle.  De Sica used unknown actors—the lead, Lamberto Maggiorini, was a factory worker—for his adaptation of Luigi Bartolini’s novel and emphasized the everyday, realist grittiness of the human condition.  The film’s poignant ending is a commentary on post-World War II society and economy.

 

Karl Drais's Laufmaschine

 

The bicycle: elegant in its simplicity, ever so green, like some marvelous extension of the body—man and machine in almost perfect unison.  The early history of the invention of the bicycle is hazy; there were several people who contributed elements that were important – among them, the German Karl Drais with his 1818 Laufmaschine or Running Machine, which had to be pushed with one’s feet but could be steered, the Scot Kirkpatrick Macmillan contributing the pedal in 1839, and the French brothers Ernest and Pierre Michaux’s 1861 model which is sometimes referred to as the first modern bicycle.

 

And in contemporary bicycling there’s the Tour de France, Lance Armstrong, the sport as obsession for some, and even the rather critical but popular bikesnobnyc blog that is pedestrian, popular, and vents on all things bicycle, complete with a seal of disapproval!  But to those for whom every ride has some of that joy of their first time on a bicycle, then Angela Carter has said it all already in that one brilliant paragraph….

 

 

Read: Burning Your Boats, Angela Carter

 

Ride: The bike-friendly Ride in NYC

 

Plan: Bike Maps

 

See: The Bicycle Thief

 

Read: bikesnobnyc

 

From the archives: Tour de France, eCognoscente

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

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