Bicycle Diaries: The thoroughfare's depravities

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16.8.06

The thoroughfare's depravities

Yesterday, I wrote about Picasso and forgot to include his readymade, Head of a Bull, created in 1943. Various scholars believe Picasso was taking a break from the politically charged art scene of Nazi-occupied Paris with a little whimsy.

This got me thinking about how, criticism aside, bikes have defintely rolled into all facets of modern life, whether as instruments of whimsy, activism, or... even depravity. Over at The California Departement of Corrections, anti-car activists rehabilitate
roadside avertising focusing on such issues as cars, fashion, and other apects of mass consumerism.

Bikes are often their image of choice. On the one hand, they represent a viable transportation alternative. On the other hand, hardcore bikers tend to roll at the forefront of progressive social action. Just take a look at the velorevolution graphics at c.i.c.l.e.

In Washington, DC, the revolution is more personally transgressive. The Drunken Bicyclist is the first (and only) site I've seen that's dedicated to the bike as sexual enhancement. Didn't Freud claim that dreaming about a bicycle indicates a severly repressed libido?

Libido and revolution have gone hand-in-hand (no inuendo intended) since the early days of the Enlightenment. Decartes's famous cogito ergo sum quickly became copulo ergo sum in both France and The Netherlands. Sade was followed by minor philosophers who pushed (again, no inuendo intended) the boundaries of bourgeoise morality and made extra money publishing lewd pamphlets and novels.

It's a pity that bikes didn't yet exist in large quantities back then. If they had, I'm sure they would have been protent symbols and instruments of sexual exploration. Today they figure prominently at Loveland on Cheju Island in South Korea. This contraption made me wonder why Picasso had stopped with his Head of a Bull, or if there might be a Da Vinci drawing yet to be discovered. Check out Gdimension's photoblog for a nice tour.

And if you missed this week's installment of Savage Love, there's always Sex Advice from Bike Jousters at the c.i.c.l.e. site.

Depravity? Perhaps. Ubiquity? Definitely. But remember, a bike is only a tool. It's the rollers who decide how to use it. So, what fascinates me is all those wonderful, whacky and yes ... depraved ways rollers and their bike cultures are transforming how we all think about the quality of life in modern America and around the world.

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1 Comments:

Blogger hereNT said...

If they find a Da Vinci sketch, it will probably be another hoax:

http://www.cyclepublishing.com/history/leonardo%20da%20vinci%20bicycle.html

21/8/06 08:30  

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