Sometimes I forget, or at least take it for granted. I often–on this blog and elsewhere–voice my views how great bikes are as a means of personal transport and that they are a viable vehicle in today’s world, and also that they can carry all sorts of stuff…most everything you need, in fact. I’m on bikes all the time and never forget the freedom they offer…but sometimes I forget how simply fun they are to ride. And in the last couple days I came upon a few people that were riding bikes for the sheer fun of it. On my way home from work this afternoon I turned a corner and just ahead of me was the above fellow, Matt. He was moving at a snail’s pace and his legs were pedaling rapidly. It immediately made me smile. I took out my camera as I pedaled and took a few photos, and as I approached him I could see that he was smiling too. At the next traffic light we chatted a bit and he agreed to have his photo taken (thanks Matt!). He also says that he owns a few unicycles and has been car-free for years. Nice! The photo below I took under similar circumstances a couple days ago. I was pedaling home and looked ahead and saw two people pedaling side-by-side but on the same bike, a Buddy Bike. I chatted with them at the next stop light as well but never did catch their names before they happily and slowly pedaled away on a warm summer afternoon.
I came across these bikes on east 10th Street last evening while looking for the former residence of Kahlil Gibran (more on that in a later post). For those of you reading this that happen to live in a large metropolis (or a small one that is “bicycle progressive”) seeing bikes like this parked curbside may be no big deal, but to me this is exciting. I believe, for example, I am the only rider in the Western New York area with a Mundo or other form of cargo bike (that I know of); there are a few Xtra-cycles but no other cargo bikes that I am aware of (for the Buffalonians reading this, if I am incorrect please let me know). Anyhow, two days ago I saw a guy ride by (in Mid-Town) on a LongJohn…and I couldn’t help but wonder where he stored it at night. Well this picture above is a good example. I wonder if they store them there when it snows. I’m not sure if they are Dutch or Gemren bikes but they certainly look sturdy. There is hope (for bicycles in the US), I thought to myself when I saw these.
I love old bikes…especially those that are still in use. This is an example; I came across it locked to a stand in Greenwich Village last night. In a city like New York you see plenty of old bike leaning around (probably less likely to get stolen than a shiny new one), but what caught my eye about this one as I was walking by was the box on its crossbar (looks like a control box of sorts). And at closer inspection I saw the enlarged rear axle. Could this be an early electric bike…possibly a WWII bike? It looks like it weighs a tone. Anyhow, I just thought I’d pass this out to the blogesphere. If anyone has any thoughts on this I’d love to hear them. You’ve got to admit it is a pretty cool looking bike.
I’ve seen this short clip in the past and just recently came across it again. The only thing it has in common with Urban Simplicity is that it highlights bicycles. It’s a hair-raising adventure of biking down the Garnitzenklamm Gorge in Austria. Personally, I don’t think I could walk down that path let alone ride a bike on it. Anyhow, it’s an entertaining video and worth watching even just a couple minutes of it.
This morning when I woke I was somewhat surprised to see there were a couple inches of snow on the ground. It really changes my short commute to work…how I ride a bike. Interestingly, for as big and heavy as the Mundo is, it is not my favorite bike to ride in the snow. In this this light snow it isn’t difficult, but in the really deep and heavy stuff it can be tough to maneuver. That said, this area of the world has had it really easy this winter, by this time of the year we’ve usually had at least a couple lake effect snows. I’m not complaining, just an observation…but I have to admit I have been liking the cold air…it feels refreshing to me; bracing (and you don’t sweat while riding). To give you an example, take a look at this photo I took exactly two years ago today…the bike was parked in nearly the same spot as the one pictured above is. Anyhow, I worked another split shift today, and on my return to work in the evening I chose to walk rather than pedal. And on the way I was taken by what a beautiful winter sky was overhead…it looked so big to me as clouds rushed past. Here’s a photo.
I know it’s a day early, and that not everyone in the world celebrates Christmas, but I thought I’d send out well wishes to all my fellow bloggers, bikers, cooks, and other misfit souls on this material plane in which we currently find ourselves. Merry Christmas and with hopes for a healthy and prosperous New Year
Merry Christmas, Milad Majid, Feliz Navidad, Joyeux Noel, Fröhliche Weihnachten, Kala Christouyenna, Mo’adim Lesimkha, Buone Feste Natalizie, Pozdrevlyayu s prazdnikom Rozhdestva is Novim Godom
(translation source; my apologies for not including all.)
A gym bag containing wet clothes, a quart of milk, a dozen eggs, a rug (measuring 60in/152cm by 84in/213cm), and a new laundry bid which also contains 1/2 gallon of bleach, 4 lbs of dog food, two rolls of tape, and a pair of reading glasses.
When man invented the bicycle he reached the peak of his attainments. Here was a machine of precision and balance for the convenience of man. And (unlike subsequent inventions for man’s convenience) the more he used it, the fitter his body became. Here, for once, was a product of man’s brain that was entirely beneficial to those who used it, and of no harm or irritation to others. Progress should have stopped when man invented the bicycle. ~ Elizabeth West
It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle. ~ Ernest Hemingway
The journey of life is like a man riding a bicycle. We know he got on the bicycle and started to move. We know that at some point he will stop and get off. We know that if he stops moving and does not get off he will fall off. ~ William G. Golding
Let me tell you what I think of bicycling. I think it has done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world. It gives women a feeling of freedom and self-reliance. I stand and rejoice every time I see a woman ride by on a wheel…the picture of free, untrammelled womanhood. ~ Susan B. Anthony
When the spirits are low, when the day appears dark, when work becomes monotonous, when hope hardly seems worth having, just mount a bicycle and go out for a spin down the road, without thought on anything but the ride you are taking. ~ Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
OK…I know I said five quotes, but here’s a sixth…seven counting the graphic 🙂
I began to feel that myself plus the bicycle equaled myself plus the world, upon whose spinning wheel we must all learn to ride, or fall into the sluiceways of oblivion and despair. That which made me succeed with the bicycle was precisely what had gained me a measure of success in life — it was the hardihood of spirit that led me to begin, the persistence of will that held me to my task, and the patience that was willing to begin again when the last stroke had failed. And so I found high moral uses in the bicycle and can commend it as a teacher without pulpit or creed. She who succeeds in gaining the mastery of the bicycle will gain the mastery of life. ~ Frances E. Willard
Eight cardboard boxes (I feel like I should have done a Twelve Things That Can be Carried on a Bike Before Christmas series…maybe next year).
Since recently purchasing a small tripod, and using my bike as a platform, I have been able to take much fuller evening and night pictures with my inexpensive little point-and-shoot camera. I have always found the night to be very spiritual, and taking photos such as this is, to me, a form of contemplative photography. I usually carry a camera with me (and lately the mini tripod as well) and as I pedal and coast silently through the chilly city streets I’ll often stop and take a few photos. Sometimes I find it a soothing and reflective experience…I have to really look at the object or scene before me–study it a bit–before I take it’s photo.
Lastly, I’ll leave you with a brief story. Tonight as I was leaving the health club I had my little camera and tripod set up on the back of my bike and was about to take a picture. A guy I’ve met before was walking from the parking lot to the building. As he passed he asked what I was doing; I told him taking pictures of a tree. Why, he wanted to know; because I thought it was beautiful, I told him. Okay (but pronouncing it (ohkaaay) he said as he rushed passed me. I was hoping he would look up to see it, but I don’t believe he did…the above image is the one I was taking. The light–or the lack of it–really changes things.
Three liters of red wine.
I just thought I’d pass a long a bit of info on a new update to this page (shameless self-promotion is no easy task for me). I’ve recently added a mail widget to this blog…if you enter your email address you will receive an any new posts from via email. And just to let you know, I personally do not receive your email address; you will stay anonymous (at least to me). For those of you reading this at my main blog–UrbanSimplicity.com–the mail widget is on the left hand side of the page, below the categories and just below the members area. If you are reading this from my mirror blog–UrbanSimplicty.wordpress.com–the widget is on the right hand side at the bottom of the info bar. Lastly, whether you are a repeat reader or just stumbled up this site via clicks or searches, thanks as always for reading, commenting, and following. Peace. Joe.
I am not normally a fan of rap music (with the possible exception of early Beastie Boys and Grandmaster Flash) but this is pretty good…and it has a positive message (something, it seems, which is often difficult to find these days). It’s an ameture video which won a contest for 1MinuteToSaveTheWorld; it’s worth watching, and of course it’s only slightly more than a minute in duration.
Before I write this post I have to qualify it, or at least explain myself. Firstly (and most importantly), I in no way support war…any war over anything, in the country in which I live or any other…I simply cannot agree to kill another human being…we are, I believe, all inter-connected at some basic level, and to kill another is to kill part of one’s self and to kill a bit of humanity. This is truly what I believe.
I’m past the age-requirement for military service, but if I were involuntarily drafted into service I would in fact be a conscientious objector, or one who refuses-to-bear-arms (click here and here). Ok, that said, I’ll get off my little soapbox. The reason I’m writing this post is my continued love and fascination with the bicycle…I truly believe that it is our most efficient form of transportation…click here, here, here, or here if you want to see others who believe this as well. I also believe bikes are a very efficient way to haul stuff (one of the main reasons this blog exists in the first place).
Anyhow, the seed for this post was planted when I saw someone riding one of the bikes pictured above; it’s made by the Felt Bicycle Company. I pulled up next to the guy at a red light and chatted with him…he was all too eager to talk about his bike, and I have to admit it was a pretty nice piece of machinery. As I rode away I thought there had, at some point, to have been an involvement of the bicycle and the military…of course there was. A simple google search proved this. The Kronan Bicycle (the first one pictured below) is actually based on the design of old European Army bikes.
Here’s a bunch of other photos I came across…these bikes look like tanks (no pun intended)…I especially enjoy the old black-and-white photos of entire teams riding fully loaded. I’m curious if bikes are included in any military today (probably not); if anyone is aware of this please let me know.
I first came across this video at Change Your Life, Ride A Bike. It’s an intriguing film on many levels…inspiring, too. There’s no audio accompanying it; at the You Tube web site there is a warning stating that the audio has been disabled because of unauthorized usage. I don’t know what the audio was that went with this short film, but in my opinion the silencing of it is not a bad thing…the silence is deafening…profound. It’s only a few minutes long…my recommendation is to turn off the radio or any other background noise and watch it in silence.