Friday, January 14, 2011

Brokeback Bicycle Blues . . . Or ; A Bicycle Built For the Blues . . .

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In the post below this one, Tom b. caught me in the act of photographing a bicycle which had obviously been run over more than once. These are some of the photos that were in progress at that moment. I hope the rider managed to escape the catastrophe which struck. This poor bicycle seems to be pretty much beyond repair. A case for all the king's horses and all the king's men.
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In this first photo you can see a large chunk is missing out of the back wheel and tire. I recall commenting to Tom that a very large dog must have been chasing this bike, and caught it ! May have shaken it and worried it a bit as well. Hard to say what tragedy happened here. The anatomy of a bicyclic cadavre.
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A pedal already sporting some green growth. The beginnings of disintegration. And rust.
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Hub and spoke theory . . .
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Seen better days . . . ready to roll, but maybe a bit wobbly . . . Anybody care to go for a ride ? Heaven only knows where we could get to on this bicycle built for the blues.
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57 comments:

Stickup Artist said...

These are really cool. Some of your best work to date in my opinion. The second from the last is masterful. Just want to mention, I used to do long distance cycling and I was pretty good too. Too many epic crashes put me out of business. So these really speak to me on a deep level. I expect my early bird award now...

Alistair said...

Who would have thought a dead bike could be such an interesting subject. Very thought provoking.

...louciao... said...

This posting "spoke" to me, too.
Amazing how we humans project stories onto inanimate objects. Lots of gorgeous rust and grit, textures, and other good stuff that photographers like to play with (I wouldn't know) happening here. Do you have a favourite? The bike that was once a vehicle of joy for somebody, or maybe multiple nobodies, goes on providing happiness even in its decaying state. A thing of joy is a beauty forever?

Steve said...

That bicycle is a good metaphor for how I feel this morning... all the parts are there but they're a bit wobbly...

Roxana said...

so hard to choose a favourite, so many layers of colours, of textures, of history and feelings - i was just working on the text for my next little video and was pondering how objects become impregnated with memory... then i come here and find the best illustration, thank you dear friend, yet again, for a marvelous trip in time and into my own self...

Nevine said...

And I thought such sights only existed in Egypt... or along the backroads of Texas. That poor baby is beyond TLC, Owen. It (no, she) has been weathered and beaten until there is no more to be damaged. But, her delight... her one smile... came when you stopped and gave her that tender attention she's been craving. Look how she bends up to you so you can capture her better! Look how she says, "Am I not so beautiful, anyway?" And so, though she was desperate, you have given her something for which to survive another day.

I tell you, Owen. I don't know how you stop to take photos of things I would just walk right by, but when you stop... and take... I look... and things happen inside my head. I love that!

Bon weekend!

Nevine

Gwen Buchanan said...

very expressive and well documented.. but sad none the less to see a thing so useful in this state.

mythopolis said...

The pictures conjure reflections about the bike, its past, unknown people. A girl, I would guess, once rode about on this. Wonder who she was; what sights she saw while pedaling about.

James said...

Amazing shots! You really have a knack for seeing the artistic beauty in ordinary objects. This reminds me of our conversation about moped riders in Paris.

Regarding your comment the other day on my Newtown blog. I have never tried HDR either. I don't think I will because I don't like it very much unless it's done extremely well. I think some people tend to go overboard with it.

Springman said...

Great post Owen. Am I crazy or were you making reference to String Theory with your "spoke and Hub theory" caption? Perhaps ramping off on a metaphorical bike ride into the world of quantum physics? Of course you were! Hysterical!

Lena said...

Cadaveric beauty!! I love these shots, Owen!!

Le Journal de Chrys said...

Mais qu'as-tu fait de ta bicyclette Owen??????

English Rider said...

The random directions of the spokes are rather elegant.

-K- said...

I agree with all th eabove comments. Love the rust and all the texture and some of them are really quite melancholy.

Owen said...

Hey Stickup,
Oh most certainly, you definitely get the early bird award ! You must have dropped in just after I shuffled off to bed to get my beauty sleep... so now, it's yours for this one. I have no idea what the award actually is, and whatever it may be, you're going to have to come to Paris to collect...
:-)
I had no idea you would have been a bike rider, and at the level where crashes actually happen. Sorry to hear you had some bad ones, but at least you are still able to hike and take photos... so I guess you survived them without too much major damage... But if these torn spokes and bent rims spoke to you on a visceral level, then I'm happy... connecting with art in a personal way is what makes it meaningful and worthwhile for both the artist and the observer to have met at the interface of a work of art... without the observer, art has no value, without the art, the observer has nothing to observe. So both are vital to the exchange. Is that patently obvious ? I don't know, I guess so, but I never verbalized it before, so there you go....

Hmmm, maybe some of the knocks on your head you got from falling off various bicycles could account for some of your intense artistic visions ??? We may be onto something there...
:-)
(just kidding... I've had some bad knocks on the head too...)

Elisa said...

I like this 'rustic look' but these bicycles make me still sad.. I see lots of them - mostly at summer, on the way our home. Sometimes somebody has thrown them on the river.. I can't understand that at all ;(
Thank you for your links, I must go to these blogs ;) I love all kinds of birds and I also love take photos of them. My lenses are not so good and big, that I could take good pictures of them.. but I don't care ;)
Have a nice weekend, we have -26 C now.. so.. what can I do!

Deborah said...

With this persepctive, I see the bicycle as a being - a once-was soul now cast-off and broken, and entirely independent of whatever human might have once ridden it.

TechnoBabe said...

Seeing the pictures of the broken bike I wonder what happened to the person riding it. Yikes.

Dee Newman said...

Watching the infinite transform through color, light and shadows. . .
nice post, Owen.

Eleonora said...

I don't know how you do it, but you manage to make rust look sexy.

Bon weekend, mon ami
E xx

Owen said...

Lola... but rust IS sexy !
:-)

Bon weekend to you to, I hope you are cooking up a storm of good things...

Owen said...

Alistair, I think dead bicycles are almost ALWAYS fascinating. I guess it helps if one has loved the bicycles one has had along the line. Will never forget one that had been thrown in a canal. Was just barely visible under the water...

Owen said...

Lynne... glad it spoke to you, yes, can only agree about things of beauty that go on shining no matter what happens to them, age, damage, decay, decrepitude.

I can remember walking around Paris long ago talking with a friend, and we agreed that there are some things that are ugly that are just simply ugly, and will be that way no matter what, but there are other things that at first glance may appear ugly, but then one realizes there is an inner beauty shining through, that no amount of ugliness can hide. That may be the case here.

My favority may be the last one, where the front wheel fills the frame of the photo nearly perfectly, just a small gap at the top, which I guess I could have cropped out, but no matter. But they have... true grit...
:-)

And what's this "I wouldn't know"??? Pardon ? I beg to differ, I think you are a fine connaisseur of all things visual...

Owen said...

Steve, does that mean you are a Wobbly ? I thought they went out back in the 1930's...

I know how you feel though... I'm like that a lot in the morning these days... sometimes it lasts all day long ! My advanced old age is not helping things...
:-)
(birthday coming up)

Owen said...

Roxana !
You slay me not only with the magic on the Floating Bridge but with your words here as well... consider me slain.
:-)
Thank you so much. This downtrodden bicycle was literally oozing with memories.

Owen said...

Dear Nevine,
I can assure you, I was whispering sweet nothings and somethings to her the whole time I knelt by her side. I felt like I was visiting a patient in a hospital bed who has had a bad accident, she wanted to sit up, but couldn't, so I knelt by her side, held her hand, whispered...

Hope to see some of your back road beauties from Texas someday...

It is often worth stopping to look more closely at such sights...

Owen said...

Hi Gwen,
Hope you are not too snowed under on the coast there.

A little bit sad, but part of the natural scheme of things I suppose. Although why this bicycle came to grief here in an abandoned factory instead of aging quietly gathering dust, but upright and un-damaged, in someone's garage somewhere is a mystery to me...

Owen said...

Hi Mythman, I'm thinking it was probably a brown-eyed girl, but I could be mistaken :

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DTMZ1fcMIXA&feature=related

And then of course there is always this ode to bikes...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GugsCdLHm-Q

:-)

Owen said...

Hey James, for sure, bicycle, moped, and motorcycle riding in Paris is a dangerous undertaking. A few too many end up looking like this one...

Love your shot of 30th Street Station there !

Owen said...

Springman !
You are a gifted observer and philospher and scientist all wrapped up in one I think... Old bicycles slowly rusting in abandonned factories are an integral part of the universe, like all other matter. Their rusting atoms slowly transforming their quarks into quirks are fascinating subjects to observe, the violin strings of string theory and resonating bosonics cannot fail to capture the imagination of a caring witness...

Although "hub & spoke" theory can also refer to the transportation oriented theme of airline optimization of routing problems for passengers. If the planes don't fly though, we can always ride a bike...
:-)
(pardon my rambling...)

Owen said...

Lena,
Don't you think she might look better with a little makeup and dressing up to hide some of her flaws ? Perhaps you could give her some coaching ?
:-)

Owen said...

Ah Chrys, si seulement tu savais !!! Mais certains mystères dans la vie ne peuvent pas être révelés...
:-)

Owen said...

Hi ER,
But perhaps if a true artist ventured along, the spokes could be twisted up skillfully to make a new sculpture, not unlike the one you shipped off to Virginia not too long ago? But I like them the way they are too. I really would have liked to bring it home with me, to add to the collection of lovely lawn ornaments...
:-)

Owen said...

Hey K.,
Thanks so much, glad you enjoyed this one. I have no doubt that with all your wanderings around the LA area, you must come across all manner of cadavers like this one, in all shapes and forms and states of decay...

Owen said...

Elisa ! "Rustic" ? I do believe you are making a pun, which I quite admire, as punning in a second language is not always easy... but yes, this bike certainly had a very rustic look to it !

Sorry to hear about bikes in the river there, hopefully when warm weather comes they can be fished out again ? I guess right now with -26° the rivers are frozen solid. Can you at least get out to ice skate ? Or is it too cold even for that ? -26... I can't imagine...

Owen said...

Hi Deborah, well, I hope the person this bike belonged to went on to find happiness in life, independent of this cast off burden... Which has indeed taken on an identity of its own here, an object of mystery. I couldn't help but wonder what had happened to it though, and hope that it wasn't a tragic accident...

Owen said...

TechnoB, I hope not too !

Owen said...

Dee, Many many thanks... such transformations are wondrous to behold. I would love to go back and see it five years from now, ten years from now...

...louciao... said...

Being "a fine connoisseur of all things visual" I find that by not cropping that bit off the top of the last picture, a deeper field is given to the visual plane.
{:-)
So, when should we all start singing "Happy Birthday to You"? Let me know in plenty of time so I can get my teeth in and the wheels on my walker greased.
Big Sis

Owen said...

Dear Lynne, I knew it ! I was wondering what that clackety-clack-clacking noise was that I was hearing sometimes, but it's just your wooden teeth... Yep, get that walker all greased up... or if you like, we can send you a bike like this one for you to get around on ! Ah, your teeth and walker, I'll be grinning over that for weeks to come. Does Saj know about this ???

Looking for Siddhartha said...

Hello Owen,

you are always so conspicious (in a positive way) if you are commenting on other blogs. Well, today I wanted to see who you are... and I see that you love when someone leaves a comment. So I'll let a note and tell you that the photos of this bicycle are really marvellous. You seem to be a great artist. Your pictures are so colourful and they bring a bright atmosphere with them!
Greetings!
Renée

clo said...

mon Cher Owen,j'ai mis un peu de temps pour arriver jusque chez toi,ce coup ci ce n'etait pas la neige ..
J'ai laissé mon velo là ,devant la porte..le voyage etait long..:o)
J'espere que tout va bien par chez toi dans le grand nord..
Je vois qu'ici, le temps qui passe continue son travail de destruction..et il y a du boulot, avec toutes ces montagnes de metal a reduire en molecules ...J'adore le travail de la rouille..
De belles photos de natures mortes..
J'ai trouvé hier dans la campagne un magnifique specimen de vieux camion ,je l'ai photographié en pensant a toi..:o)
merci pour tes visites et tes commentaires Owen..
je t'embrasse..a bientot..

The Sagittarian said...

Oh but wasn't it a fabulous night out nonetheless? I thought you were a bit rough on that bike, and when we went over that bump and our Sister's teeth fell out I thought I'd never stop laughing!!

So, who's making the birthday cake??

Owen said...

Hi Renée,
Thanks so much for dropping in here and leaving a word, a message in a bottle... and here I thought I was being very discreet while out visiting various blogs around the blogosphere... I'm not sure that "conspicuous" has a positive side to it, but so be it, I guess I'm more the elephant in a china shop sometimes...
:-)
No, just kidding, really, I think the exchanges that happen through the comment boxes back and forth are what really make blogging worthwhile, that is where one discovers that there are warm and wonderful human beings out there behind some of the blog pages... I've been very pleasantly surprised especially be getting to meet some fellow bloggers, so I think it's a very fine way to communicate.

Do you have a blog or a website somewhere ? Didn't see one on your Blogger profile... in any case, welcome, drop by anytime, thanks for you kind words about the photos here, much appreciated...

Owen said...

Howdy Clo !
Ah, c'est un long voyage donc que tu as fais en velo, pas surprenant que le velo avait l'air un peu fatigué après tous ces kilomètres ! J'espère que tu t'es arreté au moins pour prendre le café en route ???

Un vieux camion en pleine campagne vu par Clo? Je suis déjà pressé de le voir. Ca doit être un beau specimen si tu t'es arretée pour regarder de plus près... oui, j'ai hate de voir ces images là !

Et la rouille, c'est fou comme ça marche lentement mais sûrement. Dans quelques années il n'y aura que la forme de ce velo écrit sur le sol par la rouille, et après ça, le vent et la pluie fera partir les dernières traces...

Bonne route pour le retour... à bientôt !

Owen said...

Saj , really ! I'm not sure Sis is going to want us blabbing about how her teeth came out and got run over by a truck, but now that the cat's out of the bag, it was sort of funny, in retrospect and all, as mortified as I was at the time !
:-)

I think the same person who made the rasberry charlotte with candles on top featured here a few posts back is going to be doing something about a birthday cake... I think anyway, I've been on my very best behavior, so if I'm lucky, there may be a lemon chocolate layer cake, another one of her absolutely decadent desserts...
:-)

me said...

i think this might be my old bicycle that someone stole in 1989>>:)

me said...

by the way,,, your title tickled my funny bones,

...louciao... said...

oh goodie!--lemon chocolate layer cake sounds like it wouldn't require much gumming.

I hope Saj doesn't burst out laughing at me again and have a piece of cake go down the wrong way and have to have the Hindlick Manoover applied.

Renée said...

Dear Owen,

thank you very much for you nice reply. I am regularly visiting Roxana's and Robert's blog and I am always amazed by your comments.
I also have a blog but it is still in his beginnings. It is "Looking for Siddhartha" and the address is:
http://tosiddhartha.wordpress.com/
Your are right. The warm exchange is so precious. A long time I did comment on blogs anonymously but then few people always asked me to create a blog and so, after long hesitation, I did it and now I am happy to participate in this amazing world.
By the way, it is possible that I don't always use the right word in English... English is a foreign language to me but I never would like to hurt any person. Just to say :-)!
I will visit your blog again. I like it very much!
Bye and see you!
Renée

The Sagittarian said...

I'm fussy who licks my hind, I'll have you know! ;-)

Owen said...

Hi Me,
I'm so happy to have re-united you with your long lost stolen bike ! What a small and surprising world we live in...

PS I'm always happy to tickle a funny bone if I can find it...
:-)

Owen said...

Lynne Louciao, most certainly, a minimum of gumming is needed to get the lemon-chocolate cake down the hatch... you should be able to handle it.
:-)

As for that Hindlick Manoover, I think I'll let you a and our dear sister Saj sort that out between the two of you ! Sounds like girl talk if you ask me !!! As for me, if I see someone choking on a piece of cake, you'll just get a big hearty thump on the back, guaranteed to eject any objects blocking the airway.... It just can't be done with anyone standing directly in front of the the "thumpee", as the ejected objects can emerge at high velocity...
:-)

Owen said...

Saj,
Oh dear, I'm definitely confused now, I thought only cats did that !
:-)
:-)

I swear, I never knew having two sisters was going to be such a barrelful of laughs all the time !

...louciao... said...

Saj, I think our BrOwen is comparing us to monkeys now!

Pastelle said...

Affreux...
Ce soir je suis fatiguée, je ne lis pas le texte.
Je regarde juste les images.
Et je pense qu'il te faut l'avis de Kay Scarpetta, l'héroïne imaginée par Patricia Cornwell. En tant que médecin légiste, elle saura te dire ce qui est arrivé à cette malheureuse bicyclette.
J'espère que tu sauras t'en remettre. ;)

Brahe said...

This is a pre war Lea Francis. Quite rare bicycle. I estimate about 1920's. Especially the axles were made of a special kind of steel and really sought after.
Does anyone know where the location is?