David Byrne is a bicyclist!

I have always admired David Byrnes talent and imagination, including the work he has done with the “Talking Heads”. David also takes time to post his own ” musings, reviews, polemics, tour logs, drawings, dreams, etc.” in his blog, the “David Byrnes Journal”

Today, he talked about his love of bicycling. Here are some interesting thoughts:

  • I have been riding a bicycle in New York City for almost 30 years! For transport, not for sport
  • A ride across town gets the adrenalin going as one heads to work or to the studio in the morning. By the time one arrives for a meeting one is fully awake — blood pumping, on alert — having often just had 3 near-death experiences.
  • But, if one pedals at a relaxed pace and stays away from the snarled traffic as much as possible (cars and trucks raise the surrounding temperature) one can arrive more or less dry, but with a healthy glow.
  • Now there are markings on some streets indicating imaginary bike lanes (imaginary because the traffic and pedestrians often ignore the markings) but they are there in spirit, at least.
  • Bikes as a means of local transport has worked elsewhere; the mayor of Bogota, Enrique Peñalosa, relieved traffic congestion AND made his city more livable by converting streets to bike/pedestrian use and by adding dedicated bus lanes. Of bike lanes he said, “If an eight year old kid can’t ride on it safely then it isn’t a bike lane.”
  • After a few years of riding in New York I discovered a folding bike and I began to take it on tour with me every couple of years. I realized I could then explore the city where I’d be performing that evening
  • There’s a feeling of freedom that comes with cycling in a big city which is very important, as one can feel trapped by the routine of touring, work, or even travel. Trapped in a neighborhood of hotels and offices, or a neighborhood of tourist attractions, one can escape — quickly and instantly — and ride along the levees in New Orleans (pre-Katrina) or through the back streets of Grenada. (In New Orleans I rode to the Decadence Ball, an outdoor affair that admitted guests on two conditions: if they were in costume or were naked. I guess my helmet and odd fashion sense qualified as a costume.) Even if freedom is an illusion the physical sensation of riding does a pretty good job of making it seem attainable for a moment.

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