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05/04/2008: "But Is It Art?"
Grant Petersen once described bikes as "movable art that can just about save the world." Maybe that sounds a bit fanciful, but maybe it really isn't....

Today I rode a nice sixty or sixty-five miles in total, rolling out to Pasadena to meet Chuck Schmidt's Rose Bowl Vintage Ride; at the halfway point, my friends John and Brian arrived, and afterwards we rode home together, stopping at The Coffee Table in Silverlake for a bit of refreshment. I hadn't expected to stop anywhere (except Beantown in ultra-safe Sierra Madre), so I hadn't brought a lock; when we got to the coffeehouse I just leaned the Bambina against the wall where the free newspapers and bulletin board lived. I thought she made a pretty picture there , so snapped the below:

bambina_coffeetable_small (192k image)

That led me eventually to think, Can bikes, plain or fancy, really be art?

Interesting because through most of Chuck's ride I had been talking about classical music with Charles, one of the regulars and a programmer at a classical radio can a bike compare to a sonata, let's say?

I say, Yes!

If art is a work, crafted by the hand or mind of a human being, that can expand you beyond yourself by your experience of it, then let me dare say that a bicycle is as much a work of art as a poem, a song, or a painting--or a sculpture or a great building. That it is practical (in this case as personal transport) does not make it any less so.

The Bambina was very good to me today. Plain though she may be, she is certainly a work of art by any functional definition.

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