Bike Lane Impressionist Art
One of the things you absolutely, positively, definitely, without fail, must go and see before you die is the original Monet Water Lillies in the Orangerie Gallery in Paris’ Tuilerie Gardens .
But for many of us that’s quite a hike, and something that you might end up having to delay until you’re in the general area (actually, it’s worth a trip to Paris just to see these paintings, but never mind).
So in the meantime, how can you satisfy your cravings for impressionist art? The answer . . . is probably right beneath your bike’s wheels, in the shape of the amazing variety of impressionist drawings of bikes that councils all over the world use to mark bike lanes.
In San Diego, we have images of cyclists in free-fall with poorly fitting helmets:
Sean Bonner photographed this one, which is either a DIY effort, a representation of an ethereal ghostbike & rider, or just got painted during wet weather after the style of Turner:
This one from Kitophotos has a certain distressed property. Is it trying to tell us that people round here ride their bikes ’till the wheels fall apart, or that people drive cars over bikes & crush them? With the apparent head injuries to the subject, I feel it’s the latter, with maybe just a hint of drive-by shooting:
As we all know, the Dutch ride their bikes a lot. So it’s no surprise that the detailing on their bike lane signs reflects a certain familiarity - just look at the styling on this bike, with its swept-back handlebars and full chain case it’s the image of Dutch practicality:
Just down the road in Paris (where you WILL be going, to see the Water Lillies, won’t you?), you can see these strange contraptions represented. I’m not sure if they’re extra-long wheelbase, invisible-frame bikes, or images of riders standing over their recumbents which have road-coloured frames . . .
In Belgium, we have this cobbled-together sign - possibly seen through a beer bottle to give it that green tint?
The bikes in Geneva are either running on oval wheels (compensating for bumpy roads? I can’t believe that of the Swiss), or shown so that the visual foreshortening experienced by fast-travelling motorists is compensated:
In the UK, Gary Foulger thinks that this is the worst-painted ‘bike’ he’s ever seen. And while many of the details are incorrect, there’s a certain naïve quality of this still recognisably bike image:
In Glasgow, we see a rare thing - a bike from the pages of Dr Dolittle. Yes, that’s right - it’s the Push-Me-Pull-Me bike, which has two sets of handlebars, but no saddle:
In Rio de Janeiro, it seems that alien robots are only allowed to cycle under the supervision of their parent alien robots, who must keep hold of the handlebars at all times:
Another DIY effort - this time from Halifax in Nova Scotia. Though on reflection, this may be a scooter rather than a bike:
And finally, two images that move distinctly from the Impressionist school, and into the domain of Surrealists. A lane reserved for unicycling jugglers in Portland:
. . . and a rather true warning from San Fransisco to anyone riding a bike who’s about to leave a nice, car-free, segregated route, and once again experience the delights of vehicular cycling:
Have you seen any particularly impressive impressionist bike art where you ride? If so, post a link here in your comment!