24 October 2008

The Five Cycling Senses - Sight

Winter Morning*
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.
Check the Clock
Or the clock on one of the old churches.

Neon Soup
You are up close and personal with the urban landscape. Watching other people interact with the city all while you do the same.

Girl Executing Right Turn

Turn and Glide on
Seeing other people seeing, glancing, observing somehow heightens the sense.

Summer Glance *
There are very good anthropological advantages to having an unrestricted view.
Summer Glance
Masculin Feminin
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.
Contemplating Soup
Which men have a better chance of attracting your attention, ladies? These chaps above or this guy below?
Style Over Speed

Copenhagen Quintet
A city is far more alive when you are alive in it, on a bicycle.
Accelerate *
Your fellow citizens are in motion.
Cargo *
You see them interacting with each other in the most human way possible.

And they see you.


Unknown said...

wow, loving these blogs, so poetic!!
And so true, I'm surprised by how much I'm enjoying cycling in the cold, but the mornings are lovely and bright in wintertime, and I feel refreshed arriving in work :)

Anonymous said...

You are absolutely right.
On the bike you always get a smile, you talk something kind to others.

In the car, you never smile, and never kind.

At least in Budapest.

Wallabee said...

It doesn't matter if you are in Budapest or the US, commuting by car to work is a drag. My girlfriend will drive to work with me a few times a week and even though I'm not driving it still is boring. I would much rather be on my bike seeing everything as I pass it, instead of me passing it by.

Tapia said...

This blog inspires me. I commute on my bicycle and work at a bicycle shop. I feel that sometimes people lose sight of bicycles as transportation and think of them merely as tools of a hobby.

For those of us that commute in Anchorage, Alaska, where you literally take your life in your hands to ride to work...it is fabulous and uplifting to see places where bicycles are accepted.

This week a young man here was killed when an SUV struck him on his bicycle. The general attitude of drivers here is aggressive and hateful toward bicycle commuters. It is not understood or accepted as a way to get from place to palce. Drivers seem to think of bicycle riders as targets for their stress...how close can they drive next to a bike? What crazy words can they yell as they pass us that scare us enough to crash? How big can they splash that puddle?

What is wrong with people?

Brian Tucker said...

The first photo is amazing! I love starting my day with your blog! I wish you would let us buy your photos!

Dave Feucht said...

I've been really enjoying stopping to take pictures of the city as I ride to and from work lately - I find all kinds of vantage points and opportunities that I just wouldn't have otherwise. Views like this one that only come along once in a while:


While Portland may not have a bicycle culture like Copenhagen, it is a beautiful city, and my bike gives me a great way to get out and see it.

chococat78 said...

Beautiful post. Tapia, you are so right about the attitude of a lot of US drivers. They feel like bicyclists are targets. I just wish it was not that way. Hopefully change will come soon ;)

Dave Feucht said...

One thing I forgot that I love, which is now becoming more apparent to me, is all the lights around the city that go up around the Holiday season (between Thanksgiving and Christmas) - it's no secret that humans love sparkly things, and I love the feeling it gives the city at night - very warm and inviting.

Colville-Andersen said...

i really despise the christmas decorations and lights BUT i'll admit that they are somewhat lovely on cold, dark evenings.