Confession: I am not an intrepid cyclist. I do love my orange bike with its big comfy seat, and its step-through frame (what we used to call a “girl’s” bike) so I can leave my little skirts on when I ride. And I love to pedal to the grocery store, or my favorite cafe, or around the neighborhood on a pretty fall day. But if it is raining, or there are too many hills, or my destination is far too away, or I feel whiny, I don’t ride (I do walk instead much of the time, which is not as daunting to me when facing hills or rain…). I want to do better.
In seeking inspiration, I was thrilled to discover the incredible grassroots work of Brazilian artist Valdinei Calvento, known in his country as “Cabelo.” His work and his words evoke the strength of connection between self, community, nature, and cycling. Tom (my awesome hubby, who is an intrepid cyclist) just discovered Cabelo’s work, and published a series of three posts about it on his blog Bikejuju, featuring Cabelo’s illustration, street art, and posters. So yes, this is a bit of family blog nepotism, but I couldn’t resist sharing a couple of my favorite images, which are followed by the artist’s lovely thoughts.
What is the noise of the cities today? It is the noise of car engines, right? It is not the noise of the birds nor the wind, it is the horns, the accelerations, and the brakes. A city that validates bicycles permits the exchange of courtesies, of looks, of experiences, of contemplation, of gratitude.
Bicycles have a magical effect on their riders. There are moments of reflection that only the pedals can give to us–bicycles point out a different way of looking at the world, a cheap technology, non-polluting, that humanizes and harmonizes the city and its inhabitants.
And while I posted a couple days ago about handmade gifts as a way to lift dark winter spirits, Tom was addressing the same issue on Bikejuju, teaming up with Go Means Go to offer the Dark Days Photo Contest, designed to “celebrate riding in the darkest part of the year, when our motivation flags, the danger increases, and the temperatures plummet.” Submit a photo with bike-related content, taken outdoors, after dark. Bike Glow and Planet Bike have stepped up with amazing prize packages. Details, links, and contest rules at Bikejuju. Go for it!