my sole contribution to the world of philosophy concerns the human ability to notice that which surrounds them, while being apparently blissfully unaware of other more pertinent details. add to this an innate faculty to project onto others that which they themselves cannot directly see. lest this sounds a tad convoluted for a wednesday afternoon, allow me to illustrate with an example.
if i can convince you just for a minute to be even vaguely interested in performance motor cars, let's take as exhibit number one, a lamborghini aventador. this particular vehicle, leaning towards the utterly pointless generates 700hp from a lamborghini built v12 engine, offers a top speed of 350kph (around 200mph) and can shift the hapless driver from zero to 100kph in a mere 2.9 seconds. performance details aside, and the fact that i doubt there's a road in the hebrides on which it could be driven even in first gear, it is a rather striking looking vehicle. it's not the sort of motor car that you'd lose in a multi-storey car park.
however, this ability to turn heads even when stationary can only be seen by passers-by. at a cost for the basic model of $393,695 (a little over a quarter of a million pounds) the grinning owner can see only the steering wheel, dashboard and windscreen wipers. the folks who gain the bulk of the visual pleasure engendered by this example of italian style are those on the outside.
and so it is too with regard to the bicycle, though admittedly in a less overt manner. hundreds if not thousands of individuals have made use of the bicycle in its ultimate travel form, circumnavigating the globe to view the world at a far slower pace than from the driver's seat of a lamborghini aventador. yet though concerns over the constitution of the bicycle and its associated luggage will have occupied many, many hours of preparation prior to departure, once underway, the rider will be less than visually aware of its existence.
that is not to imply a couldn't-care-less attitude on the part of our hypothetical travelling bicyclist, but more the fact that the world is a far more interesting place than the double-diamond frame and functional componentry. aside from the legendary eight wonders of the world, there are endless other attractions to be seen, such as the statues of buddha in the far east, the remote monasteries of tibet, the oddly shaped backdrop to china's li river and curiously yet attractively lit bicycle rickshaws of malacca.
already you've forgotten the sweeping aerodynamic shapes of that lamborghini.
photographer paul jerissen and his partner grace johnson set off in 2010 "on a multi-year cycling tour covering four continents. Wherever we went, we searched out bike culture, dramatic landscapes and remote places." happily for the rest of us, they documented their travels with some stunning photography. "In 2005 I said goodbye to expensive analogue film and hello to digital photography. With the possibility of unlimited shots, I could finally start taking pictures of a subject that fascinated me; bicycle culture."
Jeurissen grew up in amsterdam surrounded by bicycle culture, but as he states "They were just everyday objects that you used to go to the shops or school." on starting to cycle through other countries and across different continents, he realised that the bicycle meant different things to different peoples, offering the ideal subject for an interesting photographic theme. and so began the extensive cycling trips of jeurissen and johnson.
this free e-book, designed, edited and written by grace johnson is quite stunning. jeurissen has an artistic, yet discriminating eye that picks out the beautiful, the quirky and the downright fascinating without ever once leaning towards pretension, while johnson's accompanying text exhibits a concise regard for the pertinent. it made me realise that i probably spend too much time emulating chris froome and looking down at my stem instead of the potential wonders that surround me. however, as jeurissen has alluded to above, the bicycle means different things to different folks. since free means quite literally, no expense, what do you have to lose? download this minute; you will not be sorry.
whether you own a lamborghini or not.
wednesday 11 february 2015..........................................................................................................................................................................................................