Bicycle Diaries: June 2009

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Hints for beginners

from Punch

Most folks, today, forget that back of the turn of the 20th Century cages and bikes were BOTH considered the epitome of modern transportation. As each became equally ubiquitous on the highways and byways of Merry Ole' England, the venerable Punch magazine humorously observed their impact. Then in 1910, J. A. Hammerton compiled these observations in Mr. Punch Awheel: The Humours of Motoring and Cycling. What strikes me most are the similarities in the not-so subtle humor of this work and that of Yehuda Moon or Andy Singer. As the French would say, plus ça change, plus c'est la meme chose. Although it's unfortunate that the book is out of print, you can get a peek over at Project Gutenberg. Below is one brief example, Hints for Bike Beginners.

1. Insure your life and limbs. The former will benefit your relations, the latter yourself.

2. Learn on a hired machine. The best plan is to borrow a machine from a friend. It saves hiring. Should the tyre become punctured, the brake be broken, the bell cracked, the lamp missing, and the gear out of gear, you will return it as soon as possible, advising your friend to provide himself with a stronger one next time.

3. Practise on some soft and smooth ground. For example, on a lawn; the one next door for choice. A muddy road, although sufficiently soft, is not recommended—the drawbacks are obvious.

4. Choose a secluded place for practising. It may at first sight appear somewhat selfish to deprive your neighbours of a gratuitous performance which would be certain to amuse them. Nevertheless, be firm.

5. Get someone to hold you on. Engage a friend in an interesting conversation while you mount your bicycle. Do you remember Mr. Winkle's dialogue with Sam Weller when he attempted skating? You can model your conversation on this idea. Friend will support you while you ride and talk. Keep him at it. It will be excellent exercise for him, physically and morally. Also economical for you; as, otherwise, you would have to pay a runner.

6. Don't bike; trike.

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When I was a child...

I biked as a child

Last Saturday, Rob O'Flanagan, a columnist for Canada's GuelphMercury, wrote Why bike laws fail so abysmally. It poses the theory that they way we bike as kids is the way we bike as adults. Although I agree with his conclusion I think there's more than childhood nostalgia at work here. Biking, like caging in the US, is suffused with a passionate sense of freedom. Below is his piece with more of my reactions.
I have a theory on why it's so hard to enforce bicycle laws, and why it seems nearly impossible to change cycling habits. The theory may extend to all manner of things related to what we learn as children and find hard to unlearn as adults.
Certainly, the ultimate success of bikes as a popular form of alternative form of transportation will depend on getting folks on bikes when they're young.
Every now and then police officers make an effort to crack down on cyclists who pedal on sidewalks or break other bike laws. But there is a futility to the effort because of the embedded cultural reality of the bicycle in Canada.
I've always wondered if the often sporadic enforcement of bike offenses by Chicago's Finest is due mostly to the the large number of bikers compared to the relatively small number of officers. Also, as many of my bike buds like to say, "Don't they have more serious offenses to cite?"
It looks kind of silly for anyone other than a child to ride their bike on the sidewalk, or to fluidly flow from street to sidewalk as though they were one seamless two-wheel thoroughfare. But you see big people do it often. I'll admit I sometimes get the impulse to bodycheck sidewalk riders, but I resist the urge.
I totally agree, especially since in my neighborhood most pedestrians are older folks.
The reason this fluidity exists is because most of us learn to ride bikes when we are kids -- when the sidewalk, the park, the train tracks, the parking lot, the riverbank and all other accessible pathways were travelled at will. Biking was strictly a form of recreation, with very little utility attached, unlike in other cultures where the bike is an indispensable means of transportation, even a means of livelihood. That was the beauty of riding a bike as a kid -- your route was unlimited. A bike was a tool of the imagination more than an object of practicality. That was the beauty of riding a bike as a kid -- your route was unlimited. A bike was a tool of the imagination more than an object of practicality.
This childhood nostalgia is certainly reinforced by the Bikes Are Toys marketing major US manufacturers introduced after WWII. Besides, anyone who's regularly participated in a Critical Mass, or observed one, would've noticed the widespread attitude that you can bike anywhere anytime.
I grew up on a farm, so most of my biking was restricted to dirt roads and fields. But taking my banana bike to town was a massive adventure because so much more territory could be covered on two wheels than two feet, and the energy and excitement of that exploration had a way of expanding the scope of possible routes and destinations. My gang of friends and I biked everywhere -- graveyard, schoolyard, gravel pit, hospital grounds and playgrounds -- up onto sidewalks, blasting across streets, riding on the wrong side of the road, bobbing and weaving through traffic. All at the highest possible speeds our legs could take us.
I too grew up in mostly rural areas where traffic was at a minimum. In fact, I didn't own a helmet until I move here to The Windy City over a decade ago when I was in my mid-40s.
A bike wasn't a bike after all. It was a motorcycle, a racing car or a spacecraft. The rider was Evel Knievel, popping wheelies, jumping gorges. Or Mario Andretti competing in the Indianapolis 500. Or a space traveller hovering over the surface of the moon. Then the controlling hands of civil society reached in to reshape the imagination and impose order. All those biking habits we learned as kids were to be abandoned. Riding on the sidewalk was branded a perilous thing, injurious, even life-threatening. And, most importantly, it is disorderly and therefore must be stopped.
Now, young and older adult bikers are divided into playful sub-cultures: freakbikers, tweedriders, full moon cruisers, midnight marauders, etc. This, I think, is a serious response to our dominant WASPY culture that scolds adults with I Corinthians, Chapter III, Verse 11: When I was a child I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man I put away childish things.
If we actually rode bikes for utility -- as a carrier of market vegetables or hauler of scrap metal, as they do in a nation like China -- we might take the laws of the road more seriously. We might see the bike as more than a plaything. But a bike is largely a tool of fun, and it just isn't much fun sticking to bike lanes, hugging the curb hoping a car doesn't side-swipe you. The child inside wants unconstrained riding, wants to find his or her own path.
Having biked in Beijing several years back, I would say that utility, though a big one, isn't the one reason why the Chinese take bike laws more seriously. The number of bikers there probably dwarfs that of all the Western countries combined. If our our free-wheelin' style were to be adopted it would surely lead to chaos. Besides, bikers are more prone to follow the law because way more cops ride bikes there than in the US and being representatives of an authoritarian, one-party state, they definitely get more respect.

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If you can do the Bart

you're bad like
Michael Jackson

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Live a little...

bike a lot

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Google streeview rocks

...and rolls!

One of the amazing things we saw on our inaugural Winston's Tweed Ride was the Google Car. I wish I had noted the location. Then I could see if we made it on Google Streetview. Be that as it may, I was fascinating to read that they've been experimenting with a human-powered alternative. This Google Bike prowls pedestrian-only areas, mostly on university campuses, as well as public parks, theme parks, and hiking/biking trails. The 250-pound vehicle, which resembles the pedicabs that carry tourists around The City of Big Shoulders and other cities.

The would-be mapmaker pumps the pedals up front, with the camera mounted on a tower in the back. On the rear is a red generator along with a large white chest that looks like it might dispense ice cream but actually contains the computer recording the digital images. Riding for Google maps must a pretty sweet job. Though you do have to pedal heavy photography equipment around.

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The strangling of Iran...

empowered women
in an historical

To anyone who thinks that the local and widespread demonstrations against the recent Iranian presidential elections are starting to fail, I have one word: WOMEN! Certainly, much has been made of Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, and a host of other web-based, social networking tools being used by the Iranian protesters. It reminds me of the students in Tienanmen Square who, 20 years ago, communicated by fax with the rest of the world and the young Bosnians who did the same thing in the early 90s using email and web-pages. But tools they only are. It's who wields them that really matters. As Anne Applebaum wrote yesterday in The Washington Post,
Not Obama, not Bush and not Twitter ... but years of work and effort lie behind the public display of defiance and, in particular, the number of women on the streets -- and their presence matters. Their presence could strike the deepest blow against the regime ... Its leadership is legitimate, as is its harsh repression of women, because God has decreed that it is so. The outright rejection of this creed by tens of thousands of women, not just over the past weekend but over the past decade, has to weaken the Islamic Republic's claim to invincibility, in Iran and across the Middle East.

I can't agree more. To understand this, you should be reading W. Morgan Shuster's The Strangling of Persia. Published in 1912, it recounts his 8 month assignment as the Treasurer-General of the Persian Empire. He and a small group of American treasury experts had been invited by the new constitutional government in 1910 to strengthen the country's finances. It was hoped this would help resist the 1907 Anglo-Russian Entent that effectively divided Persia into two spheres of influence. Needless to say, neither Great Power was happy with Shuster's work. They supported a royalist insurgency against the popular constitutional government that successfully brought it down in 1911. Several months later, Shuster resigned and left Persia. After his return to the US, he wrote his damning indictment of Russian and British meddling in Persia affairs, stating:
[I]t was obvious that the people of Persia deserve much better than what they are getting, that they wanted us to succeed, but it was the British and the Russians who were determined not to let us succeed.
If you've ever wondered why Iranians are particularly paranoid about the Great Power influence over them, this book will give you great insights. What is especially tragic is that at the beginning of the 2oth Century Iranians strongly supported their constitutional democracy and fervently hoped the US would protect it against Russian and British encroachment. What is most surprising, though, is that Shuster's book includes a small section (pp. 191-199) on the significant role played by Iranian women during and after the 1905-11 Constitutional Revolution. Except for its antique language (as well as attitudes) and the different personalities, it could easily describe the political role Iranian women are playing today.
The Persian women since 1907 had become at a bound the most progressive, not to say radical, in the world. That this statement upsets the ideas of centuries makes no difference. It is the fact.
You can read this section as well as the rest of The Strangling of Persian over at Google Books. I highly recommend that you do so!

For what is liberty
but the unhampered translation of will into act?

Cyril Connolly

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Summer babes & elegant bachelors

there's a ride
for you!

John Greenfield, of Vote With Your Feet fame, will be hosting a Tweed-inspired ride this Saturday. It'll be a stylish bicycle tour of Chicago's retro cocktail patios to a soundtrack of classic jazz played on our rolling sound system. For the gents necktie and/or sports jacket are required. And beautiful city bikes and vintage cruisers are recommended. All are welcome; no registration fee!

The Itinerary:

1. Wicker Park Fountain, 1425 N. Damen. Depart around 6:15 pm.
2. Motel Bar, 600 W. Chicago. Dinner? Depart around 7:45 pm.
3. Nomi, 800 N. Michigan, on the 7th floor of Park Hyatt. Depart around 8:45 pm.
4. Uncommon Ground, 3800 N. Clark. Depart around 10:00 pm.
5. BYOB cocktail party near Albany and Kedzie. We’ll stop to pick up libations on the way. If you’d rather call it a night, from Uncommon Ground head south on Southport, west on Diversey and south on Damen back to Wicker Park

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What happend in Iran...

Sunday Bloody Sunday

2:52 in: Her name was Neda Agha Soltan. She was 27 years old and a philosophy student. She was shot last Saturday, for no apparent reason, as she and her friend, Panahi, were observing the demonstrations in Tehran. The shot will be heard around the world. Will Iran's Joan of Arc embolden the opposition?

When they kill an innocent child, this is not justice. This is not religion. In no way is this acceptable and I'm certain that the one who shot her will not get a pass from God.
- Panahi

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Granny pedal power

yes, she can!

Reuters reports that neither age nor gender ... nor chasing down purse snatchers is a barrier to biking! Over in Buerstadt, Germany an 80-year old woman put the pedal to the meddle after her handbag was stolen from her bike basket by a passing biker. Before she could overtake him on her bike, a sympathetic cager stopped the thief and held him for the authorities.

A surprised police spokesman in nearby Darmstadt stated, The woman had the guts to say, 'I'm not taking that'. With the return of her bag, granny is contemplating better ways to secure her bike basket. Now all she needs to find is someone to pedal!

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What's going on in Iran?

in Iran?


Supporters in Chicago have secured permission to stage a peaceful rally at Daley Plaza, where a crowd of approximately two-hundred is expected to gather. Rally participants will attempt to amplify the stifled voices of Iranian protesters who struggle to be heard amid a media clampdown in Iran.

The rally, which will take place on Saturday, June 20, 2009 from 4-6pm, is organized by a group of young Iranians who have become acutely aware of the power and value of their civil rights as U.S. citizens and residents. They understand that electoral fairness and freedom of assembly are precisely what the Iranian protesters are pursuing in the face of tear gas, police batons, and gunfire. Planned and carried out almost entirely through social networking sites, e-mail, and text messaging, the rally itself seeks to mirror the activities of Iranian protesters whose use of technology in furtherance of democratic ideals has captured the attention of the world.

More info here.

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Ghost bikes...

now haunting the Brits

The BBC UK Magazine reports on the haunting trend inspired by the Brit's American Cousins.
Ghost bikes don't just commemorate the dead, they also aim to draw attention to the dangers on the UK's roads. They first appeared in the US in 2003, but the idea has spread around the world and they are now becoming a familiar sight. In the past year, ghost bikes have been spotted in Oxford, Brighton, York and across London. They often appear overnight Cyclist David Pippin has left more than a dozen of the white bikes around the capital.

"They are both a tribute and warning," he says. "They are memorials for a fallen rider. The main point of them is to remember fellow riders who sadly died and also to highlight to other road-users the risks on the roads.

"The white bikes stand out, it makes the drivers aware of cyclists and if it makes one van driver stop and think and not jump the lights or check their mirror and it saves someone's life - it's worth the effort."

An old bike is stripped down so it's left with no pedals, chain or brake cables. This skeleton is then spray-painted white and chained to railings or a lamp post. Often they appear overnight, under the cover of darkness. Latest figures from the National Audit Office show the number of cyclists killed or seriously injured on British roads rose by 11% between 2004 and 2007, despite the amount of cycling staying broadly constant. In 2007 alone over 16,000 cyclists were injured in the UK and 136 were killed.

In May 2009 Adrianna Skrzypiec, 31, was killed in Greenwich while cycling home from work. A ghost bike, adorned with flowers, was placed at the junction where she died. Anthony Austin from Greenwich Cyclists put up the tribute and says her family and friends were very appreciative.

"I'm a cycling instructor and I believe cycling is safe," he says. "I certainly wouldn't want to deter anyone from cycling. But when there's a collision between a vehicle and a cyclist - it's usually the cyclist that comes off worse. It's a temporary reminder of how dangerous it can be."

Giles Carlin is appealing for witnesses to the accident which killed his girlfriend Eilidh Cairns, 30, in west London in February. He says Eilidh was travelling the same route she had done every day for nearly three years and on that particular day she collided with a lorry.

"I knew she thought ghost bikes were a good idea, because we'd discussed it and we'd seen them dotted around London," he says. "Ghost bikes should be there to warn other road users about the vulnerability of cyclists. If that's all they do that's a great thing, but they're also a memorial to someone who's been killed."

Most ghost bikes are temporary - they soon get removed by the authorities, are vandalised or are stolen. But some friends and families of accident victims think the symbols should become permanent memorials. Giles Carlin says:

"A ghost bike as a permanent reminder would be great. As far as I know not many are kept up past six months. If the councils were involved and the Mayor, making them permanent would be a great thing. "

A ghost bike will soon appear at the spot where Eilidh was killed, another haunting reminder of the dangers on our roads.

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Forever 2 wheels

by the
Smut Peddlers

I realize this little punk ditty is actually about motorcycles. But it does capture the frustrations of the velotariat as well! Enjoy.
I’m not encased in metal
And I do not watch TV

I like my motorcycle

Because it helps me to feel free

The highways and byways are overrun

With Acura gangster clones

And soccer moms in S.U.V.’s

Who are talking on the phone

Fuck the world!

Forever two wheels!
To all the crazy drivers
whipping in and out of lanes
start using your turn signals
or suck my lock and chain
Your car’s all over the road
You’ve got alcohol on your breath
It gets me homicidal
Because for me it’s life and death
Fuck the world!
Forever two wheels!

You drive like a simp
And you think you’re a pimp
In your climate controlled cage
I’ve got hostile envy and it sets me in a rage
You’d better hope I don’t survive
If you get me in a crash
Cuz I’m looking to kill you
And they call me scooter trash
Fuck the world!
Forever two wheels!

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Isaiah Berlin...

and the lost cosmonaut

The 65th Anniversary of the D-Day Landings in Normandy on 6 June greatly overshadowed the 100th birthday of Isaiah Berlin that same day. And I realize there haven't been any posts on Isaiah Berlin lately. It's not that I've stopped reading this spring. Much to the contrary: I'm a dipper who usually reads 3 or 4 books at a time. I try to balance the serious, long reads on philosophy or politics with the lighter stuff: historical novels or short story collections.

In the last few months I've stacked up my current reads in the living room and bedroom. Both stacks, typical of a fox, include historical espionage by Eric Ambler and Alan Furst, a series of fictional biographies on Winston Churchill, the Soviet experience of WWII, obscure historical figures, and bizarre travel adventures.

I just finished a book in that last category: Daniel Kalder's Lost Cosomonaut: Observations of an Anti-Tourist. I discovered it in a review at the Times Literary Supplement website. It is his first book in what I hope will be a prolific career. Kalder is a 20something Scot who has just returned from a five year stint working and travelling in the Russian Federation.

Kalder was not your typical tourist. He consciously rejected the I came, I partied, I got laid invasion route preferred by the Eurotrash. Instead, Kalder went to places that aren't listed in the Lonely Planet and Let's Go travel guides.

Finding his four destinations on current maps ain't easy. Tatarstan, Kalmykia, Mari El, and Udmurtia lie along the lower end of the Volga River. Huddled in the southeastern corner of Russia, these semi-autonomous republics are largely ignored by Moscow and entirely forgotten the rest of the world. Together they are part of what Kalder calls Shadow Europe.

But adventure tourists beware! There is absolutely nothing to recommend these tiny republics. Whatever local authenticity there might have been faded long ago. The Russian Empire nearly wiped out the local pagan religions by imposing Orthodox Christianity. Later, the Soviet Union cruelly deported most of the native populations, replacing them with Russian settlers. Despite token Soviet efforts to promote quaint folk arts and crafts there was no room in the workers' paradise for authentic cultural diversity. Today, daily life is terribly nasty, thoroughly brutish, and desperately short.

Drawn to this Shadow Europe, Kalder is an anti-tourist. That makes his first book a uniquely fresh travelogue. During an all-night bender with fellow-travellers in Shymkent, the capital of South Kazakhstan Province, he declares the principles of Anti-Tourism.
As the world has become smaller so its wonders have diminished. There is nothing amazing about the Great Wall of China, the Taj Mahal, or the Pyramids of Egypt. They are as banal and familiar as the face of a Cornflakes Packet.

Consequently the true unknown frontiers lie elsewhere.

The duty of the traveller therefore is to open up new zones of experience. In our over explored world these must of necessity be wastelands, black holes, and grim urban blackspots: all the places which, ordinarily, people choose to avoid.

The only true voyagers, therefore, are anti- tourists. Following this logic we declare that:
  • The anti-tourist does not visit places that are in any way desirable.
  • The anti-tourist eschews comfort.
  • The anti-tourist embraces hunger and hallucinations and shit hotels.
  • The anti-tourist seeks locked doors and demolished buildings.
  • The anti-tourist scorns the bluster and bravado of the daredevil, who attempts to penetrate danger zones such as Afghanistan. The only thing that lies behind this is vanity and a desire to brag.
  • The anti-tourist travels at the wrong time of year.
  • The anti-tourist prefers dead things to living ones.
  • The anti-tourist is humble and seeks invisibility.
  • The anti-tourist is interested only in hidden histories, in delightful obscurities, in bad art.
  • The anti-tourist believes beauty is in the street.
  • The anti-tourist holds that whatever travel does, it rarely broadens the mind.
  • The anti-tourist values disorientation over enlightenment.
  • The anti-tourist loves truth, but he is also partial to lies. Especially his own.
What fascinates me about all this is Kalder's resemblance to Isaiah Berlin. Like Berlin, Kalder is a classic fox with a passion for seemingly contradictory, otherwise disconnected, things. Although he claims no interest in local history or current events, the book betrays a widely read, curious mind.

Kalder's voracious curiosity for the dark corners of humanity also parallels Berlin. The latter's defense of a live and let live liberalism was strongest when he invesitgated its obscure opponents. And to be frank, Berlin's descriptions of them were often more fascinating and ultimately more instructive than those of liberalism's defenders.

Perhaps it is their roles as consummate outiders; the Scottish European in southeastern Russia and the Latvian Jew in western Europe, that compels both Kalder and Berlin to explore of the shadowlands in the first place. Perhaps it also the source of their profound sympathies for lonely communities that struggle daily for survival largely unappreciated, if not unseen, by the wider world.

So why read The Lost Cosmonaut?

First, you'll discover the reason for its peculiar title. Second, you'll learn how not to be an asshole in other people's countries. Finally, it may convince you that going native in a desperate search for intimate connections is a contemptible delusion even for Kalder:
I didn't want to be a tourist. I wanted to be something more. But how can you ever be anything more than a tourist when you know you can leave? When you know, not that your stay is temporary, but that it need never not be temporary?

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The nomadic alternative

wandering and wondering

Back in 2006, I posted a NYTimes op-ed piece by David Brooks eulogizing the passing of the old school, streetwise skeptics of the Chicago press corps. It, as well as comments from a couple of readers I wrote about in Second thoughts, reminded me of the author, Bruce Chatwin. Although he was sometimes careless with the facts, his writing reflected a connoisseur's fascination with the gritty details of people's lives around the world. I guess that's why I've been reading him recently after a ten year hiatus.

In 1989, I first read Chatwin's The Songlines. It was the year I started grad school at the Unieversity of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. It was also the year he died of what I later learned was AIDS. Not that I was ignorant of HIV/AIDS back in those early days of the epidemic. My cousin, a virologist living in Macon, GA, had just appeared in a photo for the National Geographic Magazine HIV/AIDS cover story ... or at least his hands did. They were in a photo of a rural AIDS hospice where my cousin was examining the residents.

Actually, the reason I was ignorant of Chatwin's illness is that he denied its cause until the last months of his life. Instead, he believed and convinced his family and closest friends that he had picked up a rare fungus in China. Even after it became apparent that this fungus was merely an opportunistic infection, Chatwin stoically refused to publicize his AIDS. His family and friends respected this silence.

Chatwin's death is a tragedy in both personal and literary terms. Salman Rushdie, a close friend who joined him on a road-trip through central Australia, has said that his books and essays, all of which dealt with travel as a way of life, have changed the way writers write and readers read travel books. Chatwin wouldn't have agreed though. He hated being pegged as a travel writer. He thought of himself as a writer who simply happened to travel ... a lot and everywhere.

Chatwin's great appeal for me lies in an apparent contradiction: he was a hedgehog with one big idea who pursued it like a fox. On the one hand, he believed that the nomads' travelling way of life is the natural state of humanity and having lost this for the most part, the world is now a more neurotic, violent place.

On the other hand, Chatwin rambled across six continents looking for this Nomadic Alternative. While many authors have written about exotic locales, from the comfortable security of their dens, Chatwin loved to visit them. Infamous for his non-stop, rapid chatter, he was yet a sensitive listener. He had intense discussions with a dizzying array of other travellers and writers as well as nomads, warriors, conquerors, cowboys, artists, shepherds, mystics, and mercenaries.

No matter how prickly or cautious the people he met, he wore down their defenses. No matter how confusing or murky the setting, he figured out what was really going on. Ultimately, Chatwin is an incredible storyteller; he combines the facts he observed with a brilliant imagination in a wholly novel and compelling way.

So I've returned to Bruce Chatwin as I write this blog. It seems to me that he offers a natural bridge between travel as a way of life and bikes as a means for travel. In purely Chatwinesque fashion, he asks questions... the right questions:
Why is man the most restless, dissatisfied of animals?

Why do wandering people conceive the world as perfect whereas sedentary ones always try to change it?

Why have the great teachers - Christ or the Buddha - recommended the Road as the way to salvation?

Do we agree with Pascal that all man's troubles stem from his inability to sit quietly in a room?
All I got to do now is answer them
by pointing my bike
in the right direction.
Yeah, yeah ...
it's a corny ending, I know %)

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Brit cager kills biker

... & 2008 Beat Bobby
of the Year

From the BBC,
Pc Guy Swatland, 49, who had been with the Leicestershire force for more than 15 years, was a beat officer for the Stoneygate and Knighton area. Named Beat Bobby of the Year in 2008, he collided with a silver Mercedes Sprinter at 0845 BST on Friday on the A6 at Great Glen.

A 43-year-old man has been arrested in connection with the collision. Chief Constable Matt Baggott paid tribute: "Guy was a dedicated and highly respected beat officer. "He was not only hugely popular with his colleagues but was also well-known, liked and truly influential in the community he served. "His death has come as a terrible shock."

Chief Supt Chris Garnham added: "The fact that Guy was named Beat Bobby of the Year last year shows the high regard the people of Stoneygate and Knighton had for him. "He was always there when people needed him. He will be greatly missed."

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Sinister motordom

in the
Windy City

The Hope Chest, posting Bad news from the past, came up with this little depressing nugget from the 22 April 1922 edition of The Chicago Tribune. Every 19th cager driving the streets had killed or injured a human being in 1921.

That's 9,406 total cagers of which 561 were killers!

The biggest reasons for this sorry state of affairs
was congestion and lax law enforcement.

Cagers tended to go between 25 and 30 MPH
do get out of the overly crowded Loop.

Would-be alternative transport experts,
not surprisingly, suggested
the expansion of the subway system!

Cager advocates, on the other hand, demanded
double-decking of the streets in the loop,
leading to today's subterranean wonderland
along the Chicago River!

Of course, they didn't anticipate the 1992 Loop Flood!

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