Monday, June 08, 2009

50 Posts in 50 Days #2, Save the Bicycles!

Save the Bicycles #2,
12 x 12 inches, acrylic on canvas
from the series, "Save the Bicycles!"

Now that the camera is working properly, here is the second of the series, and here a two short anecdotes about cycling.

"Many, many years ago I worked as a portrait artist at Canada's Wonderland. In spite of the crappy pay and long hours, I loved that job. The only real hassle for me was the commute. Two subways and a bus to get up to Vaughn. The trip could take anywhere from forty-five minutes – if I was really lucky, to an hour and a half. On top of that, I was always sharing the bus with annoying groups of hyperactive kids. It got to the point where I decided that biking the 30km each day was a more favourable option. This worked out fine for the ride TO work, but coming home was a completely different story.

There are long stretches of Jane Street, north of Steeles, where there aren't any streetlights. It's really more of a highway at that point. Coming home at 10pm meant riding through these stretches without really being able to see anything. In spite of having a light and reflectors, I suspect I was pretty invisible to the other drivers as well. One night during my ride home a car flew past me. There's no way he was paying attention because he passed by me so closely that his sideview mirror clipped my handlebar – which spun my front wheel to the side, effectively bringing me to an instant stop and throwing me over the handlebars and into the street. The car didn't even slow down.

I must have been out for a few moments because the next thing I remember I was sitting in the middle of the road struck with panic because I was sure I was going to get run over, but as I looked ahead there wasn't a car in sight. I DID notice that the road seemed to be getting steadily brighter, though. Apparently, in my daze I mixed up which side of the street I was on, and I actually had my back to oncoming traffic. I turned around just in time to see a transport truck bearing down on me, probably less than twenty-five meters away. I was sure this was how I was going to die.Without thinking, I rolled onto the shoulder just in time to see the truck run over my bike which was still laying in the road. Again, this guy didn't even slow down, let alone check to see if I was alright.

While thankful that I was still alive, I was now faced with being stuck up in the middle of nowhere at 10:30 at night, with a busted bike. Then the second miracle happened. The only damage to my bike was that the handlebars were rotated ninety degrees – parallel with the frame. I easily rotated them back and was on my way. For the next few days I took the bus.

from M.S and here's one from A.M

Back in my somewhat-darker-clothing days, I used to bike back'n'forth to work on a regular basis (now work is too close). My bike at the time was a beat-up old cruiser my old boss "found in his basement" and handed off to me (presumably easier than taking it to the dump).

Of course, I immediately painted it flat black. The Boy of the time, though, had reservations about girls-who-wear-all-black-riding-dark-bikes-at-night and (sensibly) insisted I add some sort of reflective material.So I painted a skeletal structure on the bars using a white iridescent paint (source from Honest Ed's hardware section, of course).Seemed to work fairly well, but did nothing to improve my general lack of coordination.

So there I am, peddling my way home early one evening, mass of black locks tied up in a ribbon, black mini skirt and big'ol black platform boots, perched atop my undead bike. Ever safety-conscious (or at least having the intention to be), I was trying to make the best of a break in the traffic just before Dundas and Bathurst to make a turn up one of the side streets....When my tire got stuck in the streetcar tracks.

Next thing I knew, a little old man was dragging me and my bike off the road, my head spinning and my hand wet with blood as it covered a new gash in my chin.Quite the spectacle, I'm sure, though my hero said nothing.Later I realized it was because he was mute.

stay tuned for more, many thanks to the folks sending in their stories.


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