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March 04, 2008


ilse lang

Maybe paradox ,like patterns,are more often present everywhere than we suppose,after a careful analysis.
Interesting your observation of it's value on turning things more special.

Kathleen Bouvier

Oh my goodness! Your opening photo takes me aback in its similarity to scenes from the film “The Triplets of Belleville” (aka Bellevue Rendezvous). There is something just a little bit creepy in your description of it all. This animated movie was also a bit creepy. Its many messages are delivered within the tale of a boy/man and his bicycle. A coproduction of French/Belgian/Canadian making; it is virtually without dialogue and so accessible to people of any language. The soundtrack is terrific and the whole is a visual treat. I hope that you, and everyone else reading this, have already enjoyed viewing it. If not, do run out and find it.

I am living in an amazingly warm and friendly place that happens to be saturated with things Velo. Perhaps it is not happenstance at all – but a matter of things that naturally go together…warm, friendly, bicycle…There are, here in Montreal, more than 300km of biking path. (15km of that sits at my doorway on the Canal Lachine – what luck!) We have enjoyed being designated the best cycling city in North America. This is astounding to me given that the city is buried under imponderable depths of snow for such a large part of the year.

It seems that once the snow begins to melt the cyclists will burst forth like so many birds from a cage. (Even in the depths of winter there are the stalwart peddlers out there wrapped in high-tech anti weather fibers). If you want to purchase or service a bike for the approaching spring, you had better to do it before The Rush. So, facing my first spring here and having left my previous bike behind, I’ve been looking for sources and discovered an operation called:

SOS VELO. I’ve yet to get there. But going by the press, it embodies all the allure of the handmade bike – and much more. They emphasize giving second chances to both bikes and people. Apparently they collect in excess of 3,000 discarded bikes per annum and refurbish or ‘chop’ (like a legit version of the shops that process stolen automobiles) them into new cycles. The job is done by those on the fringes of the work force (the seemingly unemployable) and the parts deemed not serviceable find reuse in decorative objects. This will be an exciting visit, and hopefully a happy purchase!

I’ve read that the city of Montreal is en route to launching a public bicycle rental system (300+ self-serve kiosks!) akin to the program ‘Velib’ in Paris…(SEE a fabulous article in Air Canada’s ‘enRoute’magazine.on the topic of Happy Cities… ) http://www.enroutemag.com/e/february08/feature2_a.html
Like HG Wells, this lightens my despair.

Ooooh. What is it about the bicycle that so inspires? I had no idea that I had so much to say! I know I am a pushover for anything that marries art and engineering. I had not been thinking of how this relates to community. But contemplating it has excited me over the coming prospects of getting out, of putting an end to the cabin fever that has set in with the month of February. Even if I am no longer a kid, and it will not be my first taste, I am hungry for the freedom and mobility that come with those two wheels.

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