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11/08/2012: "Essential"
I'm hoping it's a sign that bicycles are becoming mainstream icons of urbanity, this growing ubiquity of the velocipede in advertising and promotion, even of things that have no direct connection to transportation or recreation.

I've seen dozens of examples over the past two years—in the clothing and home furnishing catalogues that my wife Gina receives in nearly every day's mail delivery, in ads in her cooking magazines, in shop display windows everywhere from Hollywood to Beverly Hills, even in the Los Angeles Business Journal in a series of three full-page ads for Intuit, proferring services to small businesses; every image had a bike parked next to the (imaginary) brick-and-mortar, as in the picture below:

intuit_LABJ (146k image)

Just two days ago, Gina snapped this photo in the men's section of the Banana Republic store in The Grove, currently the upscale/hip LA shopping place (which is set up as a mock Main Street, complete with tram, though with far more security than any Main Street in any real town outside of Kabul):

GMR_BananaRepublic_Pashley (88k image)

And yesterday, as I was walking down Wilshire, I saw this delightful superimposition of the word "essential" over the gratuitous image of a city bike in a poster touting an optometrist's fancy eyeglasses:

essential_window (85k image)

I couldn't agree more: the bike is essential to the new urban experience, and if you want to be among the hip, the chic, the happy, and the forward-looking, you really need one.

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