17 August 2008

Signals, Philosophy and Italian Style

She'll be turning shortly.

In Praise of the Bicycle - A little cyclophilosophy in a book by Marc Augé. Available in French.
Eloge de la bicyclette de Marc Augé
"This ode to the bicycle passes three moments: the myth, the epic poem and utopia. The bicycle has a mythical dimension which is at the same time individual and collective. The bicycle, after taking some blows, has returned due to city policy and its image is the object of a renewal of enthusiasm

One can begin to dream and trace the large features of the utopian city of tomorrow when public transport and the bicycle would be the only means of transport and where peace, equality and clean air would reign after the collapse of the oil tycoons. One can dream of a world where the requirements of cyclists dictate political action.

The bicycle teaches us to compose with time and space. It makes us rediscover the principle of reality in a world invaded by fiction and images. Cycling is humanism and it again opens the door to the dream of the future.

Classic Italian Cyclostyle
We can't resist a little plug for L'Eroica, a classic and classy old school Italian affair that celebrates the days gone by when bicycle racers were stylish gentlemen who rode grueling routes and stopped for an espresso and a cognac en route. A far cry from today's lycra louts.

Racing on classic bikes and in classic cycling clothes, L'Eroica is a cyclotouristic rally that has been around since 1997. In short, it's "For bicycle fanatics. For red wine fanatics. For breathtaking panoramas fanatics." l'Eroica. 05 ottobre 2008 in Chianti. Andiamo.


Anonymous said...

Oh, I'll be looking for L'Éloge de la bicyclette here in Montréal.

I live in the old Italian district here, and have met many an old guy who was kitted out as in those pictures when a young man. Many continue to ride for utility, pleasure or health. Alas much fewer women of their generation among them! Fortunately that has changed. Though of course in Italy itself, in the flatter areas (not necessarily as flat as Amsterdam - just not atop a formidable hill - men and women of all ages "vanno à bicicletta" (as opposed to i ciclisti who are the athletes). Ferrara is a particularly bicycle-friendly Italian city.

Though this is not a political blog, do permit me to skewer the shortsighted, car-centred policies of many Italian governments and city administrations of the postwar period - developing autostrade at the expense of modernising the railways, and favouring cars instead of trams (and métros, where adviseable).

There are a lot of Italian cities that could become far more bicycle-friendly (while remaining chic, of course, as the Parisians do) including large districts of Rome. Not all the "7 hills" are really such a barrier. And the climate is certainly most cyclable all year long, except perhaps in some mountainous areas.


ManfredKZ said...

Che bello! Bravissimo!
Very nice posting again, this morning, thanks. I was thinking of that: The bike makes you recompose with space and time: I calculate when to leave to my work differently: I don't live downtown, where the bike can go faster than a car, but at the edge of the city, and yet, instead of 15 min car drive I take only 20-25 minutes with the bike. And: more than once I met people either walking by me or standing at a bus stop, and could exchange a smile, and a "good morning". The other day I exchanged some words with a lady on a bike at a traffic light because of my noisy breaks when I arrived and she looked back :-) There is communication! More: in my empirical feeling I think 85% if not more of the cars I see (99% BIG cars) in Edmonton have only ONE person inside. A disproportion, in the city!

So, enjoy the fresh air, the birds, the people, and recupere a true "art de vivre", and not least: "salute!"

Charlotte said...

I believe this may be the Italian race our Italian friend suggested to my husband.

My husband rides a vintage Pinarello and it seems there is an Italian ride (probably this one) where if you complete it on a vintage Italian bike you will be presented with a bottle of Chianti with great pomp and celebration.

Sounds fun to me!

Anonymous said...

I've started my training.
Eroica 'tastes' very good, served at 25°C, on a sunny Saturday.. an excellent blend of not too steep white roads, and if you ride slow enough you will notice dozen of fantastic places where to stop and ask for a glass of wine.

For this time my performance was 50Km and four glasses, but I hope to do better on the next weekend.

The real race will take place on October the 5th. but any other date is as good as the designed one.

If you wish to join our group please let me know!



Colville-Andersen said...

grazie giorgio! cool!