For me there are three areas of interest which this book addresses. First, my son lives in Austin, and uses his bike a fair amount of time when he rides into the city. He goes to concerts, athletic events, and even used a bike as his means of transport finding and photographing locations on Austin’s Painted Cow Parade. Austin is a bike friendly city, and Loren takes advantage of it. So, when Loren has an interest in something, I pay attention, because I might learn something. And that is definitely one of the aims of this book.
The second point of interest I have comes from the time I spent at Burning Man this year. A friend of mine and I finally decided to attend, and among the advice we received from several sources was to take junk bikes with us, because the spaces between the art installations on the Black Rock Playa were huge. It was more than a mile from where we camped to the middle of Black Rock City (the temporary gathering of 50,000 people in the middle of the Black Rock Desert), and since cars were not allowed to provide transport during the event, and the alkaline dust of the dry lake bed was hard on mechanisms, we took two junker bikes. We didn’t pay a lot for them, since they were temporary, and were donated to charity as we left the event.
Many of the bikes at Burning Man would fit well in the chapter on freakbikes. Burners decorate their bikes with multi-colored lights and configurations, to add to the brilliant artistic expression of the event, and carry that decoration over to the costumes they wear when they ride at night. It was amazing to see the results of the time and effort people put into their bikes, and to enjoy their movement through the dark-time space and sound of the playa. It was breathtaking.
After seeing me give it a try for the first time in 30 years, my friend was fond of telling people that the adage about never forgetting how to ride a bike was definitely wrong. He is given to hyperbole, but not much, in this case. These contraptions turned out to be untenable for us, because the seats were designed for girls--they were girl bikes, after all--and our hang-downs just wouldn’t “seat” correctly. But there were tens of thousands of bicycles there, and they were obviously the right mode of transportation and artistic expression. I have ideas about next year.
A third point of interest for me in reading this book, when I think about it, which is a good connection for The Messenger, is health. I have toyed with the idea of buying a bicycle and using it for exercise. In my random wanderings on the Web I’ve bookmarked several pages of bike designs and companies. I’m not sure if that is because I love design, and appreciate some of the new bikes I’ve seen, or if there is a more serious intent lying below my normal conscious awareness. The urge has not yet grabbed me by the neck and dragged me to a bicycle shop, but looking at the articles in this book has sparked my interest, again, in the benefits of this kind of exercise.
Amy Weber has gathered articles from many writers on the emerging bike culture in the country. Initially I thumbed through the pages, letting my eyes fall on random words and topics. Soon I was stopping to read whole sentences, and eventually paragraphs and chapters. So the book has sparked my interest, and I have set it aside for a more thorough investigation.
ON BICYCLES is for people who enjoy riding, and are serious about using bikes for more than a spin around the block. If that is you, I recommend it. You might learn a thing or two, or just be entertained.
Author: Amy Walker
Product Code: 80221
Package: 1 Paperback
Size: 5 X 7.25