Rocking Out on Bicycle

I personally think the best way to see any city–a new one, the one you live in–is on bike. But when I say that, it is not quite as well heard as when David Byrne sings it.  His new book, Bicycle Diaries, is the story of his urban explorations on two wheels, in cities around the world.

From his website (which has a really good streaming radio station by the way): byrne-bike-rack

Since the early 1980s, David has been riding a bike as his principal means of transportation in New York City. Two decades ago, he discovered folding bikes and started taking them with him when travelling around the world. DB’s choice was initially made out of convenience rather than political motivation, but the more cities he saw from his bicycle, the more he became hooked on this mode of transport and the sense of liberation, exhilaration, and connection it provided. This point of view, from his bike seat, became his panoramic window on urban life, a magical way of opening one’s eyes to the inner workings and rhythms of a city’s geography and population.

I couldn’t agree more. Bikes do afford the opportunity to up the magic factor, which is why they are as good in new places and old. And it is nice to be reminded that bikes don’t always have to be a political statement, although they can definitely feel like one in this city at certain times. But for anyone who rides a bike, there is definitely a sense of cognitive restoration afforded to you when on two wheels. In another write up, Byrne said, “Your unconscious is free to kind of mull over what it is you’ve got to deal with that day or whatever creative stuff you’re working on or whatever problems,” he said. “Sometimes the problems get a little closer to being solved by the time you get to where you’re going.” Maybe we’d all be a bit more creative, a bit calmer, and a bit better if we rode our bikes more. My evidence is only anecdotal of course, but I think I think its true.

For a quick video of DB and his bike, visit the Times.


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Comments (1)


  1. Portland is the bike capital of the USA. I would love to see NYC get a few more bikers, bike lanes, and more places to keep a bike locked up. That is the worst part is finding somewhere safe to keep a bike. I just need to save up and get a folding one.


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