Country Bike: A Prisoner in the City?

Does a country bike feel like a prisoner in the city? Does it secretly yearn for open roads and soaring vistas? Can it be truly happy, sequestered in the urban jungle?

15 Responses to “Country Bike: A Prisoner in the City?”

  • Supp Suppinger says:

    Sidewalks are a strange thing. People do not need them. Cars made them necessary. To protect the people from the cars. Before cars came, streets were the places, where people have been, where they traded goods, socialized, meet friends, sat in front of their houses, chatted with neighbours, laughed, enjoyed the streed side view …
    Nowadays there is only few space left for people, pedestrians. The majority of public space is occupied by cars, driving or standing around. People got stuffed to tiny paths on the side of the streets, sidewalks. Well, already the name “SIDEwalks” is ill.
    OK, so now we have them. People got incredibly fast used to them and stay on them.
    In Vienna, some transportation planners tought, there is enough space among pedestrians, so we could even take more space of their sidewalks and paint bicycle lanes on them. So cyclists started hating pedestrains, because they are all the time in “their” way, and pedestrians started to hate the “dangerous” cyclists.
    Because of that, the bikelobby of Vienna, promotes the idea, that bikes are a mode of transportation and should use the streets. Bikelanes have to be put on streets, not on sidewalks. If there is too little space, just take a car lane and transform it into a bike lane. Driving a car is a mode of transportation, but cycling as well, and of course walking as well, too! People are born as pedestrians, and what they can do best, is walking! Bikes can help to increase their range and speed.

  • davidg says:

    Does the cycler yearn only for soaring vistas, or another the choked grid of urban traffic or maybe they desire a lifelong varied experience. Memories of long climbs through the Rocky Mountains, treks through the desert, blasting across the urban landscape as if being chased or the satisfaction of rolling up the driveway loaded panniers bulging with groceries and sundry supplies.Perhaps cycle and cyclist also seek the challenge of true freedom. Man and machine, a merging symbiosis; taking on any terrain or climate. Both having pride in being a solution and not furthering a problem. Perhaps it yearns only to be, rejoicing when called upon to function as it was designed and built, but reveling when called upon to do more.

  • townmouse says:

    Two places bikes hate to be: hung up on a wall, locked in a garage, or stuck on a rack on a car, while the car gets all the fun.

    Free the bikes!

  • bongobike says:

    Man, I’m slow. The shadow/jail bars thing finally just clicked, ha!

  • Alan says:

    @bongobike

    ;-)

  • Sharper says:

    I will say that after the weeklong thrill of the AIDS/LifeCycle ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles, I think my old Raleigh Competition hates the transition back to daily commuting even more than I do…

  • Bob says:

    Do the birds love to fly?

  • doug in seattle. says:

    @Supp Suppinger

    The streets of cities have never been very welcoming to pedestrians. Cities have always existed because they are centers of commerce — this was just as true in Roman times as it is today. One of the leading causes of death in 18th century London was being crushed by horse-drawn carts. Congestion in ancient Rome was so terrible, wheeled traffic was banned during the day only to lead to an unimaginable din after darkness fell. The sound of steel-tired wooden wheels on cobbles was so piercing that many could not sleep, thus fancy neighborhoods in London were among the first in the world to be paved in asphalt. In addition to the dangers presented by goods hauled by wild animals led by apathetic drivers, streets were typically opens sewers of animal and human waste (imagine all those thousands of animals on the streets all day, every day, doing what animals do…do). Sidewalks, made of wooden boards, were created so pedestrians could traverse their neighborhoods without sinking knee-deep in animal shit and piss. The smell was so terrible, especially in summertime, that the wealthy fled to the countryside, as it was considered unhealthy to breathe fetid city air. I would bet all my bikes that the most crowded cities of today are worlds more livable than their pre-autombile counterparts.

    I am, of course, not pro-car. I am merely suggesting some perspective.

  • Billi says:

    I think it’s sad that as the sign in the picture says you can’t do anything on the sidewalk except walk, and you had better keep moving, because loitering is a crime too.

  • Garth says:

    Perhaps the suburban sprawl is what really hampers us. If we city dwellers were able to more readily access the rolling countryside, things would be better. I grew up in the country and am yearning for it more and more, especially as my young children are growing so quickly. But maybe we just need a good vacation?

    A lot of rural America isn’t really the place I’d like to bicycle. Miles of straight roads becomes tedious. I really envy the Rivendell folks who bicycle out of their city and up into those rolling mountains…

  • Richard says:

    I guess I’m a city boy at heart. I’m always much more comfortable in the urban landscape than in any rural or suburban setting. Something about the pulse of the city makes me (and my bike) happiest.

  • Justin says:

    @ Billi
    I disagree. I’m of the opinion that bicycles belong on the street and not on the sidewalk. Cyclists move much faster than pedestrians and pose a danger to the pedestrians and wheelchair users who use them. It’s against the law in my city/state but, unfortunately, is not enforced as it should be. Some simple public awareness ads at bus stops would help a good deal, I think. i.e. “Are you riding your bike on this sidewalk? If so, STOP IT.”

  • Supp Suppinger says:

    @ doug in seattle.
    You just lost all Your bikes.
    I´m kidding. Well, these are probably all assupmtions, how it used to be … what´s better, when was it better, etc.
    As You wrote, cities have been centers of commerce, as they are today. Maybe it´s not only about cars, or transportation, maybe it´s also about size and growth. Everything which gets too big does not get too good. There is no endless growth. As we recently see, not in economy, neither in cities etc. People do not need growth, but growth needs people.

  • Supp Suppinger says:

    … meaning economic growth …

  • Will says:

    Back to original thread, don’t know the answer, but as Alan’s photo suggests, there’s a certain quality of country bikes photographed in the city. In my case (flickr): http://bit.ly/dnUC0n and http://bit.ly/9pnGXA and http://bit.ly/dtV5pr.

 
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