SHORT #34: More Reasons to Bicycle
Last time I mentioned that there are many many more reasons to ride a bicycle. Indeed, and as I keep having interesting encounters, so too do I keep having the urge to draw more of these encounters…
I also mentioned something about the heron seeming to be better at fishing than the dudes who sit on the river every day. There is a caveat to this however, in that I am not sure the fishing dudes have ‘catching and eating a fish’ as their end goal. Here I am reminded of my brother who, like many fly fishers, spends days at the river doing catch and release fishing.
The goal is not always to procure dinner. Sometimes the goal is just to be there, excercising a skill, learning, listening, being attentive to the water and its inhabitants. Sometimes the goal is enjoying moments where the burdens and stresses of this contemporary society are put in a different — or perhaps, proper — context. You know this one. The context where all the things we typically worry about do not matter so much as the way the stream is flowing.
We do not — or should not, if our city is amenable to it — need to go far to experience this kind of contextual reset. The old men that I pass by on the way to the studio every day, experience this contextual reset, just a few hundred meters from a central shopping district.
But there are other, even more simple ‘reset’ moments that do not require a fishing pole.
To be fair, there is no bike in this drawing. We came here for luch last week, while atteding an opening event for the Seoul Biennial of Architecture and Urbanism [soon I will share the news about why we were there].
Unfortunately this parcitular event was in an absolutely sweltering park with no trees and no shade. After the event we walked to another park, where I made the above drawing. This is one of our go-to spots for lunch and a nap when in Seoul’s northern city center.
On this day we were in good company, as the city — or someone else — had put out beanbags and small seating platforms in the area. They were well used mid-day. Perhaps proof of how a few well-placed, long-lived trees and some simple seating options can really transform the use of a space.
While slowly waking up from my nap, I heard an abundance of bird calls, and then, the voice of a woman. She yawned a revitalizing yawn and was talking with a man who seemed to be a colleague. The man said something like ‘Why do you sleep in the park? You are a top analyst, not a hobo.’
Her reply to the man was something like:
Oh please. It’s perfectly normal for a human, after taking lunch on a fine day, to have the desire for a short nap under the shade of a tree. What is certainly NOT normal, is for cities to be designed in ways that make taking such a nap difficult, or worse, to legislate in ways that make it illegal. Are you really an analyst on my team?
The reply from the man was a good-hearted laugh, which suggested that the original question was done in jest. Then again, all of that could have been a tree-shaded daydream of mine. Either way it seems a relatively accurate summary of what many city-dwelling humans want, versus what we tend to legislate or codify into social standards.
Can bicycles help all of this fishing and nap-taking become more of a standard rather than an anomoly?
Of course they can.
If you enjoyed this edition, I guess you might also like this even more dreamy and poetic writing about the power of a bicycle from 2021…
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