Watching A Bike Decompose One Day At A Time
I was in New York in the summer of 2005, and one morning found myself in a bookshop flicking through a book of photos of bikes left locked up on the city’s streets. It showed their decline over time from usable transport, to components, to scrap metal. It was depressing, yet fascinating stuff.
Anyway, someone’s done the same sort of thing with video. The premise is that they locked a perfectly serviceable bike up on a New York street, and left it there for a year, returning every day to photograph its progress. It looks a bit like a time-lapse film of animal carcasses being reclaimed and rendered down by flies and maggots:
This could make quite depressing viewing. But take heart - the bike was locked with a chunky-looking U-lock on the front wheel & frame, and another chunky chain on the rear wheel:
- Nothing appears to have been stripped from the bike for the first 211 days - that’s SEVEN months.
- Day 212 - the front basket goes, along with the chunky U-lock
- Day 231 (three weeks later) - the saddle goes
- Day 250 (another three weeks later) - the front wheel’s gone
- Day 252 - the handlebar grips. WTF? And the bottle holder.
- Day 270 (almost another three weeks again) - the rest of the bike vanishes.
I’d have expected it to go a whole lot quicker than that. This was a nice bike - technically nothing special, but the sort of thing I’d have thought there’d be a ready market for with its retro-chic styling.
Heck - this is almost enough to restore my faith in humanity.