Sunday, January 30, 2011


sometimes in the grand scheme of things i have "wish i may - wish i might" moments that allow me to see what could or perhaps even should have been.

i think that if i had been born twenty or thirty years later than i was,
i would have been a bike messenger.

i love the vibe, the edgy camaraderie, the hovering close to the fringe and
especially the bike as a tool of employment and pleasure.

tuck in to this wickedgood clip of messenger life.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

the great velocipede migration

i'm reading catherynne valente's book the "girl who circumnavigated fairyland in a ship of her own making". a mind-blowing tour de force of fantasy literature, it occasionally makes cool references to bicycle culture.

if you've got time you might like to read these excerpted chunks. if you like them then you can start the whole book online for free by going here. or you can just read the full chapter i've excerpted these chunks from right here.

september looked uncertainly at her denuded sceptre, hanging sadly from ell’s bronze chain. “i don’t think i've anything like enough rubies left to buy bicycles for both of us.”

“pish! we don’t buy, we catch! september, the bicycle herds, well, i suppose they’re called voleries, not herds, right, saturday? voleries. anyhow, their migration path runs though the meadowflats just east of the city, and if we are lucky, and have a bit of rope with us, we can hitch on with them all the way to the provinces. or nearly all the way. it’s difficult, they’re wild beasts, you know. and if i run just as hard as i can i shall be able to keep up with you and no one’s bones need be smashed or jangled. it goes without saying, i think, that it would be a bit ridiculous for me to ride a highwheel, even a big, brawny bull. let us go now, right away! i shouldn’t want to miss it, we would feel much chagrined, and stuck.”

“remember, they are fast and tall and vicious! many have perished or at least been roundly dumped off and bruised in the attempt to travel by wild bicycle.” a-through-l fretted and stamped his great feet in the grass.
a long, loud horn sounded, and several answering hoots honked into the blazing day.

“they’re coming!” shouted ell excitedly, his wings wobbling under the chains as he leapt up, his tongue lolling like a puppy’s. really, he needn’t have said anything. the velocipede volery sent up a choking cloud of dust. saturday and september could see it quite clearly, full of flying grass and dirt. and as soon as they heard the horns the bicycles were nearly upon them, a great throng of old-fashioned highwheels. the front wheels of the beasts were tall and enormous, the wheel behind tiny—though tiny in this case being somewhat larger than saturday’s whole body. their seats, borne loftily into the sky, were battered velvet of various motley, dappled shades, their tires spotted like hyenas, their spokes glittering in the naked meadowflat sun.

“well, a velo is a lazy thing, in the end. they don’t like to go as fast as they can go. it suits them just as well to roll along leisurely-like. this is the great migration—they’re all homebound, to the spoke-nests, to mate and die. some of them feel the mating drive stronger than others. some only feel the dying drive. makes them lag. but if you and i apply a bit of encouragement, they’ll bear down on the road like it’s dinner. and by encouragement i mean whipping of course and i know it’s not civilized and i cringe to think of it but sometimes with steeds it’s all you can do.”

Friday, January 14, 2011

parallel world (i)

who knew that waterloo was the most intelligent city in canada?
have you been there?!
in this video it's given that credential but what's interesting is that while the narrator's dropping that dud,
the camera's entirely focussed on a waterloo dark beer sign!

not to be distracted though, this video shows the cool work of bicycle creator brent curry.

the couch bike wins my award!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

to the sun

i'm getting through the dark icy days of a peterborough winter by reading a book about a journey around the world done on a bicycle by author alastair humphreys. the book (the first of two that he's written to cover the journey) is called "moods of future joys". alastair is a speaker now and you can hear his thinking right here.

by chance - well, if anything is by chance - i came across this clever animation called "to the sun" or "au soleil".

"to the sun" is based on the memories of a cycling trip josh wedlake undertook across eastern europe from berlin to istanbul. he travelled with three close friends on a journey lasting one month; they cycled through incredible scenery in germany, poland, slovakia, hungary, romania, bulgaria
and turkey crossing the beskids and the carpathians.

to learn more about josh and his journey then read the interview right here.

Au Soleil (To The Sun) from Josh Wedlake on Vimeo.

Friday, January 7, 2011

way back home

i've followed danny macaskill's amazing, mind-numbing bicycle work - chiefly because it blows me away and secondly because i wish this had been possible when i was a lot younger. would i have done it then? probably not. but i would've liked to dream. hey i'm doing that now!!!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

winter riding

until a few years ago i cycled through the snow.
there's something about succeeding against all odds that goes with completing a journey on two wheels in the depths of winter.
then again there's something about life that holds a real attraction for me.
so the last deep snow ride i took along a major street that resulted in three "drops" for me, was also my last.
there are a couple of factors that play into the decision.
one is the amount of time it takes for my body to recover from such an event.

time was it took next to no time.
now it seems like days, then weeks pass and i can still feel the damage.
the other factor is that i share the road with cars. cars doing their best to get themselves to wherever they're going.
dealing with a cyclist struggling along, weaving and wobbling and grinding to a halt in the deeper drifts is not entirely fair.

so i love this image.
the boys pegging the guy riding past with snowballs.
as if he hasn't got enough on his plate!

alan lowndes cyclist in the snow