Bikes serve many purposes. They give us speed, agility, and utility; they help us exercise and grant us independence. They carry risks and can be dangerous in extreme situations. They can stimulate us intellectually and erotically (I'm not the only one, am I?). They also both give rise to and reflect local communities and cultures, and this might be their most magical and underappreciated quality. I was reminded of this recently when I attended two back-to-back bike events on opposite coasts this month: I was a juror for part of a bike design contest at the Oregon Manifest, and a guest at Bike Rides, a show at the Aldridge Museum in CT. The events and opening night parties highlighted cultural contrasts from two very different communities.
The two events had little in common except the fact that they existed because of bikes, and in both cases the bikes reflected the local culture and brought the community together. Bikes can do that. They are as comfortable being appreciated as aesthetic creations as they are on the street or pounding along off road. The US is way behind most other modern industrial societies in terms of bike usage. We ride bikes about 80% less than do the citizens of most European countries. I know, Europeans are just Europeans, but they were right about cheese and wine and yoghurt, and hopefully events like these two will help focus our attention and wake our culture up to bikes and biking. Both events deserve a closer look and a visit if you are near.
We sold out of our signed copies of David Byrne‘s book immediately. This was a limited offer and there are no more. But we will sell you unsigned copies at the bargain price of $18.00 including shipping (US only). Check it out