2 April 2010

Cycling Poise

Upright Poise
Photographically speaking, it's not an instant Cycle Chic classic. But I keep returning to it in my head. For the poise. The poise.

Look at the lines. Such elegant lines. Sitting up straight like her mother taught her. Pedalling with true Style Over Speed. Taking it easy. Oh, the lines. Can't get much closer to a 90 degree angle.

Together But Not
Then I remembered this one from a week or so ago. It hammers home the point that cycling doesn't have to be a hunched over, adrenaline-based, testosterone-driven activity.

Here's a quote from an American book on ‘How to bicycle’ from 1892, by L. F. Korns, as seen on Quickrelease.tv:

“As a means of pleasure, cycling stands in the foremost rank, but in common with all the great pleasures, it may easily stand in the foremost in abuse. The desire to ride at an unreasonably high speed may become morbid... The ever lasting scorcher, bent like a hoop, and with sunken cheeks, ought to be quite sufficient warning against this abuse.”

No 'scorchers' and thank goodness for that. Cycle like you walk. Head raised high.


Roni Faida said...

Once again, great pics. I am planning on visiting your country pretty soon, I'm looking forward to riding a bike all around the city while I'm there! www.trilingualdiva.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

I love the quote from the bicycling book(and the photos!). In the uk the elegant upright style is very rare. Think it's a combination of lack of cycle lanes which puts pressure on people to go quickly to be out the way or out of danger from traffic and the relative lack , so far of urban style bikes. They are increasing in number lately tho so there's hope! I confess to being a weekend scorcher, but also ride my upright Dutch bike sedately as well.
I don't think the two closely related activities have to be mutually exclusive.

Colville-Andersen said...

It's because you have experienced in your country a few decades of branding cycling as a sport and not transport. Upright were a major part of British cycling history, even well into the car era.

Style Over Speed is the greatest safety slogan in the history of cycling. :-)

Anonymous said...

Yes, cycling is largely a sport rather than transport here in the UK. But there has been a tremendous upsurge in interest and sales of hybrid/utility cycles recently (and not just from me!) however so it's looking good and it feels as if the cycling lobby is approaching a point where we'll be able to influence political decision making more and more. There is some political will as seen in various cycling city schemes but no truly coherent policy or seemingly, any idea how to implement anything of real value. All very ad hoc and still too many unsympathetic motorists here at the moment. 
Different cultures will always have differing styles and while the UK is a long way from embracing cycling as everyday transport I'm hopeful that the more people try it, the faster the word about how convenient, simple, healthy and fun cycling is will spread. The ever rising cost of petrol will do nothing but good in that regard. Only a year or so since I restarted cycling and I rarely use the car anymore, but I'm the only middle aged guy parking up a bike at my local shop with the kids!
As far as integrating cycling into a transport scheme, all it really requires is a little respect and consideration for ones fellow man and his choices.


Anonymous said...

Well said ,Chris.


Sigurd said...

From poster "Bo Bo" over at BikeSnobNYC: "Everyone always cites Copenhagen as a model city for bicycling, but what's not said is that it wouldn't be this way today if they hadn't completely junked their transit system in the 60's and 70's. Between 1972 and 2002 when the first part of their subway system opened, there was no mass transit in Copenhagen aside from buses and a pretty limited commuter rail network. In other words, it was not unlike most US cities except for the lack of parking in the city. Given the size of the city (walking around there takes forever!), the only real choice became the bicycle.

The lesson for NY: if you want to make bicylcing a realistic transportation commuting option (outside the relatively hardcore few who do it today) then you've got to shut down the subway, or at least make it so slow and lousy as to make bicycling a viable alternative! Thankfully, we have the MTA doing their part.

The lesson for other US cities: make parking prohibitively expensive and invest in bike lanes, not transit systems."

Oldfool said...

Mary Poppins is that you?
If Mary Poppins is there then I know it's the right place.

Gwendolyn said...

I wish that here in the U.S. we had good taste in city bicycle design. Beautiful lines. I have a chronic illness and am not as athletic as I used to be. I really, really want a simple bike with a chain guard. The thing I remember most about my childhood bike is just simply smiling. I want to feel that way on a bike again.

Do you know of any good, comfortable bikes like the one in your picture, that are available in the U.S.? I saw the Electra Amsterdam and it is the closest, but reviews are mixed.