Bike: the final frontier

14 06 2010

One of the joys of experiencing the world from atop a bike is discovery.

No matter how many times I ride a route (and believe me, once I find a route I like, I ride it over and over), I always see something new, maybe even surprising. Sometimes it makes me smile, like an impossible cluster of satellite dishes on a house rooftop; how can anyone possibly watch that much tv? Sometimes it makes me frown, like a sign notifying an upcoming road closure or detour because of sewer upgrades or paving. Sometimes I just take a moment to admire something I’ve noticed dozens of times before, but never really looked at.

Sunday’s ride had a bit of each. Like the public art installation on the 49th Street SkyTrain station of three giant bear heads, their dayglo orange pallor not of this earth. But remarkably like the color of my bike! I’ve seen these bears every ride; Sunday I decided to stop for a moment to take a photo.

The only other things on earth that are this shade of orange are Cheesies and my bike.

Or the old red Honda parked along the curb in Kerrisdale that caused me to do a double take, and then a double back; the engine compartment had been converted to a planter for an apple tree! Turns out it’s one of four such vehicles that have been dropped around Vancouver by a group called the Stick Shift Project to heighten awareness about our dependance on fossil fuels to deliver to us our food, rather than growing our own sustainably, nearby.

It's a car! It's a planter! It's a political call to action!

The slower pace of the bike (especially in my case) invites discovery. Or maybe I’m just trying not to be lulled by the monotony of turning over the pedals 70 or 80 times a minute?