Saturday, June 20, 2015

Urban Bike: Yard Art in a Civil Society

I see things from my bicycle I don't see from a bus or car. 

It might be an old guy on his bicycle, stovepipe hat, bushy beard, archaic black clothes, a character from a Dickens novel. Or a bearded guy cycling the Midtown Greenway in a girlie dress. 

They seek attention, or inhabit an alternate reality, or express art. I'm fine with any of that.

"Did you see that?" a cyclist asks politely as he speeds past me.

It's not just the fellow cyclists who enrich my cycling experience. I get to take in all the individuality around me, including the yards in front of people's homes. 

I'd like to tell stories of three of those yards, including the yard of one of the bearded cyclists I mentioned at the top of this post.  

Thursday, June 11, 2015

A Field by the River Thames

An unassuming meadow on a sunny day in October 2014.

I had gone out of my way to walk across this field. Earlier that day I had traveled to the town of Staines, a short distance from London's Heathrow Airport. Next morning I would catch a flight to Athens, Greece, the cradle of democracy.

After checking in to an old inn set on the River Thames, I followed a path along the river. At Runnymede I walked across this field.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Urban Bike: Car-Free Minneapolis Bridges

Irene Hixon Whitney Bridge. 
Below me sixteen lanes of traffic roar.

I'm standing on the Irene Hixon Whitney Bridge, one of many Minneapolis bridges I cannot cross in a car. The bridge takes me between two parks: Minneapolis Sculpture Garden and Loring Park.

Loring Park.
In Loring Park, the zig-zag approach to this old bridge tells me I'm welcome on foot, not bicycle. Better to dismount.

Sometimes I cross bridges where both cyclists and pedestrians are not welcome: bridges with defaced no-trespassing signs, low guard rails, no guard rails, live rail track, gaps between rotting and fire-damaged boards.