FEELING LITERARY: William Gibson and the future of bikes

Is this a bike book or a sci fi book with bikes in it?

FOR YOUR READING PLEASURE, I give you a glimpse into the future of bikes and messengering:

“Sometimes, when she rode hard, when she could really proj, Chevette got free of everything: the city, her body, even time. That was the messenger’s high, she knew, and though it felt like freedom, it was really the melding-with, the clicking-in, that did it. The bike between her legs was like some hyper-evolved alien tail she’d somehow extruded, as though over patient centuries; a sweet and intricate bone-machine, grown Lexan-armored tires, near-frictionless bearings, and gas-filled shocks. She was entirely part of the city, then, one wild-ass little dot of energy and matter, and she made her thousand choices, instant to instant, according to how th traffic flowed, how rain glinted on the street-car cracks, how a secretary’s mahogany hair fell like grace itself, exhausted, to the shoulders of her loden coat.

And she was starting to get that now, in spite of everything; if she just let go, quit thinking, let her mind sink down into the machinery of bone and gear-ring and carbon-wound Japanese paper

But Sammy Sal swerved in beside her, bass pumping from his bike’s bone-construction beatbox. She had to bunny the curb to keep from going over on a BART grate. her tires left black streaks as the particle-brakes caught, Sammy Sal braking in tandem, his Fluoro-Rimz strobing, fading.”

from Virtual Light by William Gibson (New York: Bantam, 1993).

Let’s analyze this.

• near frictionless bearings = √

• gas-filled shocks = √

But, where are these things?

• Fluoro-Rimz (with strobe lights!)

• speakers built into the material of the frame

• carbon-wound Japanese paper frames

• Lexan-armored tires

• particle brakes

OH, sweet future, sweet technological bliss, please come to me now!



Birkie/Korte 2010: What Went Wrong?


Scraps Near the Korte Finish Line.

First, let me hang my head in sadness. I did not win the Korte.

Second, let me add that I never promised to win.

Third, ’twas a beautiful day:

Just after the 1st Wave has left.

Fourth, I was harassed by three teenage 7th Wavers for 20 of my 23 kilometers. I got hung up in traffic on a hill, and could not catch them again. They beat me by about a minute….or so.

Fifth, without the wonderful company of these youngsters, without their camaraderie, without their cajoling, I would never have ripped it like I did. Thanks guys!

Sixth, I love the 7th Wave! Passing people is an art and an obligation. Proper technique and etiquette must be observed.

Seventh, I love Hayward and Cable, but most of all, I love Spooner!

Eighth, the flats were fast, but the hills were sugar and mashed potatoes and day-old rice. Pick your carbo analogy!

Ninth, you still don’t know how I did, do you?

Tenth, I clocked 1:22:40. That’s good for 12th out of 57 in my age group (40-44).  You can check the Iowa results here. Or, you can check the results here. So, that means that I crushed my goal of placing in the top half of my age category. And that means that you, my dear readers, must buy me that rib trophy that I mentioned a week ago. Huzzah! Did I mention 3:36 per km? Ker-pow!

Eleventh, back down on earth for a sec… the race was not an unmitigated success. I could have gone faster. I spent so much energy passing people, weaving in and out, stopping for falling skiers, that I really believe that I skied an extra 4 kilometers.

Twelfth, I have to thank my sponsors: Dot, Clara, Katie, Geoff’s Bike and Ski, the waxers. Then there’s my travel partner Brian–who kicked it live in the Birkie Classic: from 8th Wave to 2nd Wave–double Huzzah! Thanks to my training crew: Wayne, Hodge, Brett, Rock, Steve, Finn, Grant, Jason, and all the other Ski Punks at Ashton.

Thirteenth, I want to think Angler’s for being such a ski-friendly place:

Miss Birkie and Crew Operate the Shotski at Angler's

Fourteenth, don’t forget to put on the storage wax.

Fifteenth, how do I ride this thing in my garage with two skinny tires? What is it called again?

Sixteenth, forget the bike! I’m gonna get some v2 rollerskis and start training this weekend for next year.

Peace and Wisconsin Cheese,