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Friday, May 11, 2007

Why I Ride: Bicycling in New York

Cover image from Why I Ride, bicycling in New YorkFrom the New York Times, 05.09.07:

The Bicycle in New York, From an Artistic Viewpoint
To look at nearly any bicycle--from graceful racers with inch-thick tires to the clunky, rusted workhorses of food delivery fleets--is to behold a union of form and function that has existed for nearly two centuries. Bicycles, after all, have been transporting people at least since 1817, when Baron Karl von Drais invented a contraption in Germany that operated without pedals and required riders to push against the ground with their feet to propel themselves.

Look closely though, and there are aspects that transcend the utilitarian. People who ride regularly tend toward the philosophical when they describe why. Some view bicycles as political symbols with which to make a statement about carbon emissions from cars. Others are inspired by the mobility that bikes can provide in a crowded urban setting. Then there are those who are invigorated by the physicality of pedaling or simply savor the way the city looks when viewed from atop two wheels. (Read more.)
Bike Month continues in New York City with this exhibition. The 64-page catalog, available for download, features several provocative essays and images. As I've written before, culture plays an important role in attracting people to bicycling. Automobile companies spend billions on marketing to persuade consumers of the alleged ego-benefits of cars; millions of duped Americans embrace their car as an extension of their personality. We need to push against this nonsense.

Image: Doug Dalrymple, Negative Space Analyst, 2006, from the exhibition Why I Ride.
Visit: Why I Ride: The Art of Bicycling in New York
Visit: Times Up!
Visit: Paul Dorn's Bike Commuting Tips

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