Monday, September 21, 2009

Velo at rest


Parked curbside
Toronto, ON, May 2008 [Click to enlarge]

About this photo: We're celebrating urban week as part of the latest Thematic Photographic. If this seems somewhat cryptic, please click here for some background.
The lowly bicycle gets precious little respect in the big city. Motorists honk it off the road. Building owners force riders to lock up outside. Thieves lurk in the shadows, ready to claim your ride as their own.

Years ago, when I commuted to a decidedly bike-unfriendly office, I bought a beater mountain bike to ensure the thieves picked someone else's ride when they came by. And sure enough, every couple of weeks, another newly bikeless colleague would post a forlorn notice by the bike racks at the back the building, asking if anyone saw anything before said set of wheels disappeared forever. (Rule #1: Never have the nicest bike on a shared rack. Rule #2: See Rule #1.)

Security aside, when I see a sturdy old bike locked up outside, I feel a little stab of hope that the city won't be completely swallowed by the almighty car, that the motor-driven chaos that defines life in these green-free zones can slowly be clawed back by silent citizens spinning their pedals. It's idealistic of me to think this way. And probably a whole lot of unrealistic, too. But all revolutions, no matter what form they may take, have to start somewhere. May as well be a sun drenched sidewalk on a gorgeous afternoon.

Your turn: Who rides this bike?

8 comments:

dianne - bunny trails said...

I would love to see bicycles make a HUGE comeback. Alas, I, too am guilty of driving more than riding these days.

When I worked at Hewlett-Packard in CA, they had groovy bike lockers outside the building, so you had a nice, secure, enclosed place to park your ride. It was a very good thing.

On that note, I recently purchased a better bike so I look forward to more riding once again.

quilly said...

Ah, my love bikes to and from work. He has a very expensive bike. He also has a heavy duty lock AND he removes the seat and takes it into his office with him. He knows that doesn't insure his wheels won't be stolen, but with a couple dozen other bikes in the racks, it does lower his odds.

Rinkly Rimes said...

A slightly different (but not new) approach to the delights of the city!

http://rinklyrimes.blogspot.com/2009/06/very-small-mice.html

Thom said...

If bicyclists would follow the rules if the road I would be wholly for it. I'm not saying all don't but the majority do not. They constantly run red lights, cross streets illegally, dart right in front of cars. I'm amazed there aren'tire fatalities. All I hear from the bike clubs and professional riders is that's just not true. Well from my prospective it is. Drive a city bus for 8 hours a day. You will see what talking about. But like everything else it's the few, or in this case, the mass, that ruin it for the mass or few.

David said...

just dropping by, and yes I miss my Bus racing days on the outskirts of San Francisco. I could get to work in 30 minutes on the bike, maybe 20 in a car for the 8 mile ride.

Mojo said...

I'm convinced that there is, in fact, a way for cyclists and motorists to peacefully co-exist and equally convinced that I don't know what that might be. Like any other debate, neither side seems willing to concede a point. Unlike a debate, however, one side (the side surrounded by a couple of tons of machinery) will win out in any kind of confrontation. Motorcyclists have a saying that the optimist thinks the car doesn't see you, the pessimist thinks the car sees you and is out to kill you. I'd imagine that applies with more force still to bicyclists who are (a) smaller and harder to see and (b) As Thom points out, not always ... shall we say... "confined by the same rules" as motorists.

And the points you made about security and general discrimination aren't exactly aiding and abetting the revolution either. I've examined the various ways I could employ my still-shiny after all these years mountain bike as a viable means of commuting and come to the conclusion that between the terrain the climate and the traffic that ain't happenin'. Not soon anyway.

Once more with feeling, I'm gettin' urban. It's been a fun one. Can't wait to see what's next.

Thematic Photographic 67: "Urban" v.7.0 - Southern Approach

rashbre said...

We just had a big bicycle weekend in London, UK.

Many of the streets were closed and around 60,000 people took to the streets on all manner of cycle.

Check over on rashbre central for some pix and links, from Saturday/Sunday.

I think you'll also like copenhagenize and the Cycle Chic sites.

Best!

Tom said...

Another guilty driver here, and I'm not alone. I live out in the boonies, and everyone drives to work, and it's just a short distance to the next major town. They need to make a law where if you live within biking distance of wherever you're going (not counting shopping), we get a fine for driving our cars.