On Bicycle

When I see an adult on a bicycle, I do not despair for the future of the human race. . . H.G.Wells .

The bicycle is the most civilized conveyance known to man. Other forms of transport grow daily more nightmarish. Only the bicycle remains pure in heart.

 Iris Murdoch, The Red and the Green

Being dangerous without being fun puts bicycles in a category with open-heart surgery, the war in Vietnam, the South Bronx, and divorce. Sensible people do all that they can to avoid such things as these.

P.J. O’Rourke, Republican Party Reptile

I really handled it with ease, except one time I crashed into a dog and another time I collided with two women, and I was very happy.

 Simone De Beauvoir, Wartime diaries

It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.

 Ernest Hemingway, Battle for Paris. Colliers magazine September 1944

Bicycles are almost as good as guitars for meeting girls.

Bob Weir, Grateful Dead  in Dave Hunter The Fender Telecaster  

‘I do not believe in the three-speed gear at all,’ the Sergeant was saying, ‘it is a new-fangled instrument, it crucifies the legs, the half of the accidents are due to it.’

Flann O’Brien, The Third Policeman

To ride a bicycle is in itself some protection against superstitious fears, since the bicycle is the product of pure reason applied to motion. Geometry at the service of man! Give me two spheres and a straight line and I will show you how far I can take them. Voltaire himself might have invented the bicycle, since it contributes so much to man’s welfare and nothing at all to his bane. Beneficial to the health, it emits no harmful fumes and permits only the most decorous speeds. it is not a murderous implement?”

Angela Carter, Vampirella

…bright-shirted racers of the Tour de France zoomed by like fantastically bicycling macaws.

 Joseph O’Neill, Netherland

“But Holmes was shaking his head, and his face was puzzled and expectant rather than joyous. “A bicycle, certainly, but not the bicycle,” said he. “I am familiar with forty-two different impressions left by tyres. This, as you perceive, is a Dunlop, with a patch upon the outer cover. Heidegger’s tyres were Palmer’s, leaving longitudinal stripes. Aveling, the mathematical master, was sure upon the point. Therefore, it is not Heidegger’s track.”

Arthur Conan Doyle, The Adventure of the Priory School

The man who is learning how to ride a bicycle has no advantage over the non-cyclist in the struggle for existence: quite the contrary. 

George Bernard Shaw, Back to Methuselah

Still I am not thoroughly convinced yet that I was not killed. Anybody but a vegetarian would have been.

Shaw learning to cycle in  Michael Holroyd,  Bernard Shaw: The New Biography

I think it is just terrible and disgusting how everyone has treated Lance Armstrong, especially after what he achieved, winning seven Tour de France races while on drugs. When I was on drugs, I couldn’t even find my bike.

Willie Nelson, in Al Wiggins, In the World

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