Bicycle Diaries: Ever bike?

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Ever bike?

from Jack London
... Now that's something that makes life worth living! I take exercise every afternoon that way. Oh, to just grip your handlebars and lay down to it, and go ripping and tearing through streets and road, over railroad tracks and bridges, threading crowds, avoiding collisions, at twenty miles or more an hour, and wondering all the time when you're going to smash up.

Well now, that's something! And then go home again after three hours of it, into the tub, rub down well, then into a soft shirt and down to the dinner table, with the evening paper and a glass of wine in prospect - and then to think that tomorrow I can do it all over again!

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Anonymous Jason said...

Great quotation! Where's this from?


Jason Crane | The RocBike Review!
"Nothing To Lose But Our Chains!"

8/11/07 09:45  
Blogger Da' Square Wheelman, said...

I found it on one of those quotation sites; can't remember which though. London's quote may have been inspired by his honeymoon bike trip to Santa Cruz with his wife, Bess Maddern.

There's also a reference to his early biking here. This is the quote:
...he must have some sort of exercise, and the loan of a bicycle by another neighbor gave him something to cope with bodily. It was one of those fearful and wonderful pioneer objects comprised of a wheel of expansive diameter with another and tiny one behind—the old "ordinary" of painful memory. Before an early breakfast, that he might practise unseen of delighted passers, Jack proceeded to master the thing with vigor and dispatch. "At first," Eliza relates, "he was most of the time sprawled about the ground; and he'd come over to my house for breakfast—bruised, dripping wet and red in the face, his curls all tousled, fighting mad, and explaining carefully what slow work it was getting the best of the "infernal machine!" Then he'd burst out laughing at the idea of how he must look when he tangled up and went down in a heap with it."

When he started going daily to the "Oakland High" on Twelfth between Jefferson and Clay Streets, Eliza presented him with a latest model of the low "safety wheel." Speeding to and fro, bent above the handle-bars, he sometimes looked aside wistfully to the estuary that several blocks down paralleled the Avenue, wishing he had leisure for a sailboat.

And London writes of a bike ride in his novel Martin Eden:

Martin seemed suddenly to wake up. He opened the kit bag and oiled his wheel, putting graphite on the chain and adjusting the bearings. Joe was halfway down to the saloon when Martin passed by, bending low over the handle-bars, his legs driving the ninety- six gear with rhythmic strength, his face set for seventy miles of road and grade and dust. He slept in Oakland that night, and on Sunday covered the seventy miles back. And on Monday morning, weary, he began the new week's work, but he had kept sober.

28/11/07 12:15  

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