Posted by: standing_baba | August 11, 2010

Bike Art United

The cobblestone streets and literary crowd of Paraty

FOREWORD: It’s not an exaggeration to say I’m a big fan of the bicycle, a believer in the general genre of two-wheels, not just in my own. Surly and I are tight, but time apart grows the heart fonder. Or something. He does his thing, I do mine. When he’s at the bar or playing pool, I explore whatever city in which I find myself. Sometimes I hang out with other bikes. On one such day in Rio de Janeiro I came across a traveling exhibit called Dreams on Wheels, organized by the same Dane who runs one of my favorite bike blogs, Copenhagenize. Later, while wandering the historic center of Paraty, I came across an art gallery full of beautifully painted single-speeds. The Brazilian artist Ana Sierra loves “bikes and sailboats”—if she were younger (or I older) I would have asked her out right then and there. This post is a mix of two artistic expressions—the written word and molded acrylic—that immortalize my favorite vehicle.

NOTE: Ana ships internationally if interested in her work.

“It’s all so modest, gentle, dreamy. One is in a new, floating situation and it feels as though you’re halfway to becoming a spirit that is about to leave the surface of the earth.” – Johannes Wulff (Excerpt from the book ‘Paa cykle’ 1930)

“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving.” – Albert Einstein, Scientist & Inventor

“When I go biking, I repeat a mantra of the day’s sensations: bright sun, blue sky, warm breezes, blue jay’s call, ice melting and so on. This helps me transcend the traffic, ignore the clamorings of work, leave all the mind theaters behind and focus on nature instead. I still must abide by the rules of the road, of biking, of gravity. But I am mentally far away from civilisation. The world is breaking someone else’s heart.” – Diane Ackerman, American Writer

“The bicycle, the bicycle surely, should always be the vehicle of novelists and poets.” – Christopher Morley, American Writer

“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 the country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” – Ernest Hemingway, American writer

“The bicycle is the most civilized conveyance known to man. Other forms of transport grow daily more nightmarish. Only the bicycle remains pure in heart.” – Tris Murdoch, The Red and the Green

“The muffled noise that the cycle generates on a summer evening on a country road is perfect accompaniment to the talk of lovemaking and the sound of widespread kissing.” – Johannes Wulff (Excerpt from the book ‘Paa cykle’ 1930)

“For instance, the bicycle is the most efficient machine ever created: converting calories to gas, a bicycle gets the equivalent of three thousand miles per gallon.” – Bill Strickland, The Quotable Cyclist

“A bicycle does get you there and more….And there is always the thin edge of danger to keep you alert and comfortably apprehensive. Dogs become dogs again and snap at your raincoat; potholes become personal. And getting there is all the fun.” -Bill Emerson, “On Bicycling,” Saturday Evening Post, July 29th, 1967

“It would not be at all strange if history came to the conclusion that the perfection of the bicycle was the greatest incident of the nineteenth century.” – Author Unknown


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