Wednesday, July 12, 2006
Quotations about Bicycling
The bicycle, the bicycle surely, should always be the vehicle of novelists and poets.
It would not be at all strange if history came to the conclusion that the perfection of the bicycle was the greatest incident of the nineteenth century.
Why should anyone steal a watch when he could steal a bicycle?
When I was a kid I used to pray every night for a new bicycle. Then I realised that the Lord doesn't work that way so I stole one and asked Him to forgive me.
I'm a cyclist not simply in the sense that I ride a bike, but in the sense that some people are socialists or Christian fundamentalists or ethical realists - that is, cycling is my ideology, a system of thought based on purity and economy of motion, kindness to the environment and drop handlebars, and I want to convert others.
~Journalist Robert Hanks, The Independent, 15th August 2005
The bicycle is the most civilized conveyance known to man. Other forms of transport grow daily more nightmarish. Only the bicycle remains pure in heart.
~Iris Murdoch, The Red and the Green
When man invented the bicycle he reached the peak of his attainments. Here was a machine of precision and balance for the convenience of man. And (unlike subsequent inventions for man's convenience) the more he used it, the fitter his body became. Here, for once, was a product of man's brain that was entirely beneficial to those who used it, and of no harm or irritation to others. Progress should have stopped when man invented the bicycle.
~Elizabeth West, Hovel in the Hills
When I see an adult on a bicycle, I do not despair for the future of the human race.
Bicycles are almost as good as guitars for meeting girls.
~Bob Weir, Grateful Dead
When the spirits are low, when the day appears dark, when work becomes monotonous, when hope hardly seems worth having, just mount a bicycle and go out for a spin down the road, without thought on anything but the ride you are taking.
~Sherlock Holmes, Scientific American, 1896
All creatures who have ever walked have wished that they might fly. With highwheelers a flesh and blood man can hitch wings to his feet.
~Karl Kron, Ten Thousand Miles on a Bicycle
When I go biking, I repeat a mantra of the day's sensations: bright sun, blue sky, warm breeze, blue jay's call, ice melting and so on. This helps me transcend the traffic, ignore the clamorings of work, leave all the mind theaters behind and focus on nature instead. I still must abide by the rules of the road, of biking, of gravity. But I am mentally far away from civilization. The world is breaking someone else's heart.
An engineer designing from scratch could hardly concoct a better device to unclog modern roads. Cheap, nonpolluting, small and silent...
~Rick Smith, International Herald Tribune, May 2006
The bicycle is the most efficient machine ever created: Converting calories into fuel, a bicycle gets the equivalent of three thousand miles per gallon.
In politics, one can learn some things from cycling, such as how to have character and courage. Sometimes in politics there isn’t enough of those things.
~Guy Verhofstadt, Prime Minister of Belgium, 2004
There is something about the miscreant cyclist that seems to get people more exercised than they are about the misbehaving motorist...When people get into cars, their metal encasement turns them into robots in our minds, and we're grateful to them for any act of courtesy. We're grateful that they don't deliberately kill children, then laugh a rasping, metallic laugh...[Cyclists] are more civic-minded than anyone else travelling in any other manner, bar by foot. If they do run into someone, they at least (like the bee) do their victim the favour of hurting themselves in the process, which is why, if you had any sense, you'd save your hatred for the motorist, who (like the wasp) injures without care.
~Zoe Williams, The Guardian, 4th February 2006
A bicycle does get you there and more.... And there is always the thin edge of danger to keep you alert and comfortably apprehensive. Dogs become dogs again and snap at your raincoat; potholes become personal. And getting there is all the fun.
~Bill Emerson, "On Bicycling," Saturday Evening Post, 29 July 1967
The bicycle will accomplish more for women's sensible dress than all the reform movements that have ever been waged.
~Author Unknown, from Demerarest's Family Magazine, 1895
I want to ride my bicycle bicycle bicycle; I want to ride my bicycle; I want to ride my bike; I want to ride my bicycle; I want to ride it where I like...; I don't believe in Peter Pan, Frankenstein or Superman; All I wanna do is bicycle, bicycle, bicycle...
~Freddie Mercury, Queen, 1978
The bicycle is just as good company as most husbands and, when it gets old and shabby, a woman can dispose of it and get a new one without shocking the entire community.
Cyclists...are the gods of the road.
~Nigel Havers, The Daily Mail, 13th June 2006
Most bicyclists in New York City obey instinct far more than they obey the traffic laws, which is to say that they run red lights, go the wrong way on one-way streets, violate cross-walks, and terrify innocents, because it just seems easier that way. Cycling in the city, and particularly in midtown, is anarchy without malice.
~Author unknown, from New Yorker, "Talk of the Town"
Melancholy is incompatible with bicycling.
~James E. Starrs
The bicycle had, and still has, a humane, almost classical moderation in the kind of pleasure it offers. It is the kind of machine that a Hellenistic Greek might have invented and ridden. It does no violence to our normal reactions: It does not pretend to free us from our normal environment.
I took care of my wheel as one would look after a Rolls Royce. If it needed repairs I always brought it to the same shop on Myrtle Avenue run by a negro named Ed Perry. He handled the bike with kid gloves, you might say. He would always see to it that neither front nor back wheel wobbled. Often he would do a job for me without pay, because, as he put it, he never saw a man so in love with his bike as I was.
~Henry Miller, My Bike and Other Friends
Get a bicycle. You will not regret it, if you live...
~Mark Twain, "Taming the Bicycle"
Cycling is unique. No other sport lets you go like that - where there's only the bike left to hold you up. If you ran as hard, you'd fall over. Your legs wouldn't support you.
The hardest part of raising a child is teaching them to ride bicycles. A shaky child on a bicycle for the first time needs both support and freedom. The realization that this is what the child will always need can hit hard.
After your first day of cycling, one dream is inevitable. A memory of motion lingers in the muscles of your legs, and round and round they seem to go. You ride through Dreamland on wonderful dream bicycles that change and grow.
~H.G. Wells, The Wheels of Chance
It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.
Cycle tracks will abound in Utopia.
It is curious that with the advent of the automobile and the airplane, the bicycle is still with us. Perhaps people like the world they can see from a bike, or the air they breathe when they're out on a bike. Or they like the bicycle's simplicity and the precision with which it is made. Or because they like the feeling of being able to hurtle through air one minute, and saunter through a park the next, without leaving behind clouds of choking exhaust, without leaving behind so much as a footstep.
~Gurdon S. Leete
Doored - Mary a bike courier from Sacremento
The sound of a car door opening in front of you is similar to the sound of a gun being cocked. ~Amy Webster
Bicycling is the nearest approximation I know to the flight of birds. The airplane simply carries a man on its back like an obedient Pegasus; it gives him no wings of his own.
~Louis J. Helle, Jr., Spring in Washington
If you ride you know those moments when you have fed yourself into the traffic, felt the hashed-up asphalt rattle in the handlebars, held a lungful of air in a cloud of exhaust. Up ahead there are two parallel buses. With cat's whiskers, you measure the clearance down a doubtful alley. You swing wide, outflank that flower truck. The cross-street yellow light is turning red. You burst off the green like a surfer on a wave of metal. You have a hundred empty yards of Broadway to yourself.
~Chip Brown, "A Bike and a Prayer"
Think of bicycles as rideable art that can just about save the world.