24 October 2008
The Five Cycling Senses - Sight
The sense of sight in relation to urban cycling is probably the easiest to document and relate to. You're out in the open, exposed to elements, but also exposed to your city. In turn, your city exposes itself to you in ways that are unattainable in a motor vehicle, even a bus or train. You are in constant interaction with everything happening around you, including your fellow citizens. You see so much. You see the buildings, the sky, the clouds, unrestricted by the glass and roof of a car.
In Nordic countries, light is a powerful drug. When you can ride through a winter's morning into the rising sun, even the squinting of your eyes is a feast for the sense of sight.
Your use the city's features on a bike, like zipping along and glancing up at the clock on the City Hall Tower to see if you're late or on time.
Or the clock on one of the old churches.
You are up close and personal with the urban landscape. Watching other people interact with the city all while you do the same.
Seeing other people seeing, glancing, observing somehow heightens the sense.
There are very good anthropological advantages to having an unrestricted view.
You get to regard those fellow citizens that you find attractive while they are in motion, moving through the city, using the city. Seeing a gorgeous man or woman in the car next to you is one thing, but seeing him/her in motion is far more aesthetic. Homo sapiens wouldn't have gotten very far on the evolutionary trail if we had to choose our mates based on how they sat, motionless and sedentary, in their tents. We have always needed to see each other in active settings in order to choose.
Which men have a better chance of attracting your attention, ladies? These chaps above or this guy below?
A city is far more alive when you are alive in it, on a bicycle.
Your fellow citizens are in motion.
You see them interacting with each other in the most human way possible.
And they see you.