Archive for category beauty
I got an email today from the League (the League of American Bicyclists). First of all, let’s talk about how awesome it is that they go by “the League.” It sounds like some sort of group of cycling superheroes that rides around town painting bike lanes, handing out bike lights and using force to keep cars out of the bike lane.
Ok, but this post wasn’t about an idea for a crappy bicycle centric comic book, it was about being thankful for cycling. The League, in the email mentioned above, asked me why I’m thankful for cycling? So, I’m going to spend a couple of posts attempting to address that question.
1. The wind in my hair and all that jazz.
Seriously. I spend 9 to 10 hours a day in a cubicle farm. Under fluorescent lighting. Surrounded by people who may or may not have washed their hands the last time they used the restroom. Lately, I’ve been riding “the short way” to work. That’s about 15 minutes. 15 minutes in the morning, 15 minutes in the evening. And sure, it’s cold, it tends to be dark going both ways this time of year, and road grime is only slightly more appealing than touching the door handle of the men’s restroom, but I’m outside.
That’s right, for at least 30 minutes a day, I’m outside. On my bike. It’s fantastic. So, I’m thankful for that.
I’ve set out in the rain and come home dry, or mostly dry.
I’ve sat comfortably behind big men, the ones that are as wide as Volkswagen Beetle.
I’ve dropped those same men.
I’ve been dropped by women.
And old men.
I’ve set out in the sunshine and come home wet.
I’ve stopped, not because I needed to rest but because I wanted a moment to take it in.
I’ve sat up when the gap was too big.
I’ve had road rash.
I’ve run red lights.
I’ve been defeated by headwinds.
And Coleman Valley Road.
I’ve stopped for wildlife.
I’ve been honked at.
And yelled at.
And waved at.
And smiled at.
I’ve slowed down to chat with strangers.
I’ve taken turns at the front.
I’ve been stopped by the police.
But mostly, I’ve had fun.
At the end of a long, difficult day at work there’s the tendency to put my head down, get in the drops and crank; the effort and distraction is refreshing and welcome. Yesterday, after a tailwind assisted sprint down International and onto the canal trail I stopped briefly.
The steep, rocky embankment drops down from behind the warehouses and industrial buildings. The 2-lane service road which, at least to me, acts as a bike highway of sorts, forms a sort of step before another steep drop to surface of the water. Between the road and the water steeply angled cement slabs form the walls of the canal. The fence is rusting.
It’s hardly the most beautiful place I ride and on windy days it’s one of the most miserable because the trench feels like a wind tunnel. It beats battling the cars on Sunrise. The section I ride daily includes about four miles of uninterrupted, isolated road. At most I might see a handful of other cyclists (if the weather is nice) or a lone private security vehicle cruising along, yellow light flashing on the roof. Many days, it’s just me.
Yesterday afternoon, after crossing Sunrise and pedaling a quarter of a mile or so down the path I rolled over some debris that seemed to stick in my rear tire and click click as moved over the cracking pavement. So I stopped to check for glass. Then I just stood there a minute. It wasn’t silent. Highway 50 was probably less than a half mile to the north and behind me was the six lane Sunrise Blvd. But, with out the wind in my ears it was damn near. The clouds were high and fat with rain but none was falling. And, despite the few bits of cardboard that floated in the water below and the roofs of a dozen or so industrial buildings it was peaceful. Quiet. Beautiful.
As close as I was to the cars, the office, the end of a long day, I felt about as far away as I could. People often ask why I ride. That’s why.
I’m going to let the majority of this post be about the pictures. I am an artist and a cyclist and this show may replace that special place in my heart that Interbike has held for several years now. What can I say, I’m non-committal. It was absolute sensory overload (just like Interbike is) but with the added atmosphere that an upscale art gallery has. I was, to put it simply, in bike art heaven. I had promised that I would help out Dean Alleger at his booth for the Sacramento Valley Velodrome so I attempted to see as many booths as I could in 20 minutes flat. I think I was actually gone 30 minutes. At any rate, please enjoy the following bikeprOn:
That little dog makes this video.
Last night I finished my first ‘used bike part’ art project. Of course, I blogged about it here. Truth be told, I started ‘working’ on that project well over a year ago. I don’t know why, but I had a hard time getting the guts to finish it; mostly because I’ve never worked with that medium before. I’ve mostly done portraits and other drawings using colored pencil, charcoal & pastel. I have all sorts of ideas including art, writing & business related. Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately) for some of you who follow me on Twitter, the creative nature of my brain can be quite evident in my somewhat
reckless random tweeting. It’s just the way my brain is messed up wired. A long time ago, I decided to quit fighting it and learn to turn it into a strength. It’s still difficult to live with as I can’t stay on task on any one thing for very long (unless of course it’s a 5 hour bike ride). My tasks and to-do lists are constantly being updated and organized using my new favorite toy tool Evernote.
I get inspiration everywhere but amazingly enough, most of my best ideas come while I’m riding my bike; whether it’s an art project or a new business related idea. It just doesn’t get any better than that does it? Some amazing artists who are also cyclists also provide me with a lot of inspiration and I’ve met nearly all of them and would love to meet the rest someday. They include (in no particular order):
At any rate, it would appear that my project idea is quite popular. I’m now accepting any old/used bike parts as well as ideas from YOU for bike part related art projects.
I’d love for my next bike to be a Firefly.