“We live lives that are waveforms constantly changing with time, now positive, now negative. Only at moments of great serenity is it possible to find the pure, the informationless state of signal zero.”
― Thomas Pynchon, Gravity’s Rainbow
“Smog hung all round the horizon, the sun on the bright beige countryside was painful; she and the Chevy seemed parked at the centre of an odd, religious instant. As if, on some other frequency, or out of the eye of some whirlwind rotating too slow for her heated skin even to feel the centrifugal coolness of, words were being spoken.”
― Thomas Pynchon, The Crying of Lot 49
“If he is going into management, he writes. If he is an engineer or architect why he paints or sculpts. He will straddle the line, aware up to the point of knowing he is getting the worst of both worlds, but never stopping to wonder why there should ever be a line, or even if there is a line at all.”
― Thomas Pynchon
“All the animals, the plants, the minerals, even other kinds of men, are being broken and reassembled every day, to preserve an elite few, who are the loudest to theorize on freedom, but the least free of all.”
― Thomas Pynchon, Gravity’s Rainbow
The tuba is certainly the most intestinal of instruments, the very lower bowel of music.
—-Peter De Vries
“Along the way I stopped into a coffee shop. All around me normal, everyday city types were going about their normal, everyday affairs. Lovers were whispering to each other, businessmen were poring over spread sheets, college kids were planning their next ski trip and discussing the new Police album. We could have been in any city in Japan. Transplant this coffee shop scene to Yokohama or Fukuoka and nothing would seem out of place. In spite of which — or, rather, all the more because — here I was, sitting in this coffee shop, drinking my coffee, feeling a desperate loneliness. I alone was the outsider. I had no place here.
Of course, by the same token, I couldn’t really say I belonged to Tokyo and its coffee shops. But I had never felt this loneliness there. I could drink my coffee, read my book, pass the time of day without any special thought, all because I was part of the regular scenery. Here I had no ties to anyone. Fact is, I’d come to reclaim myself.”
― Haruki Murakami, Dance Dance Dance
“A lot of folks, they got a little bit of shine to them. They don’t even know it. But they always seem to show up with flowers when their wives are feelin blue with the monthlies, they do good on school tests they don’t even study for, they got a good idea how people are feelin as soon as they walk into a room.”
― Stephen King, The Shining
even in calmer times
have I ever
bicycling through that
—-Charles Bukowski, Paris
As Dallas finally fitfully stumbles into the twenty-first century one desperately needed innovation is a useful, healthy, bike-sharing program. Fort Worth has one – it’s pretty cool and it seems to be working. Over here, on the east side of the Metroplex, things are not going so swimmingly.
There seems to be some work going on behind the scenes. The first obstacle to be removed was the City’s helmet law (how can you rent a bike with a helmet?). It was amended to only apply to children.
A bike sharing stand then appeared as if by magic in downtown – but it is a private enterprise; only open to the company’s employees. A very cool idea – but it doesn’t do the general public any good.
Finally, late this year, the city opened two bike sharing… actually, more like bike rental stands in Fair Park. It barely made a notice. The problem is in the size – with only two stations, both on the Fair Park grounds – it isn’t useful for transportation. It isn’t useful for anything, anyway.
The local press jumped on the anti-bandwagon – dubbing the effort the World’s Saddest Bike Sharing Program. And it is.
But that is more than a little unfair. They were careful to insure that these two stands would be compatible with the system that the City eventually installs (they are a B-Cycle system, the same ones used in Forth Worth and many other cities). I prefer to think of this as a tiny baby step – the first toe in the water. When Candy and I were down in Deep Ellum visiting the Kettle Gallery for some art and Cane Rosso for some pizza I spotted a couple of B-Cycle bikes locked up outside a restaurant. Somebody was using the things.
In keeping with this hopeful, positive attitude, I think that it’s important to do something positive, so I decided to go down to Fair Park, rent a bike, and report about it here. The day was coldish, with spitting bits of drizzling rain – so I put on some Gore-Tex and headed out.
I locked my folding bicycle up behind Craft and Growler and walked into Fair Park. I suppose I could have ridden my bike right up to the bike rental stand – but that seemed too odd, so I walked a little bit. There is a bike stand near each of the two Fair Park DART stations – so you could take the train down and grab a bike with ease.
Getting a bike is easy. Eventually, the system will require a membership, but that doesn’t make sense with only two stations in a tourist destination. All you do is swipe a credit card and take a bike. So that’s what I did.
The bikes are really nice (made by Trek). Of course, they are heavy, but this isn’t racing, it’s transportation. They have step-through frames, which is nice when you are riding in street clothes. I thought they were single-speed, but they have a nice three speed internal geared hub. I wouldn’t want to climb a mountain with one, but it works fine for tooling around the city. The seat is wide and the handlebars upright – the seat adjusts easily, and the bike should fit pretty much everyone.
There is a heavy utilitarian basket on the front. The bike had lights, good brakes, and a bell. It also had a built-in cable lock, but I wasn’t able to figure out how that worked (OK, here it is).
I rode off around Fair Park, looping around looking at the murals, sculptures and Art Deco architecture. I even tooled by the Texas Woofus a couple times for good luck. I rode by the Leonhardt Lagoon and visited the second bike rental stand. In theory, I could have left my bike there – eventually that’s the idea – to ride from stand to stand, leaving the bikes for others while you do what you need to do. I didn’t see anyone else riding a rental bike, but there were three or four empty slots at each stand. I don’t know if that means that the other bikes were out or if they are just empty spots.
Turning, I mostly retraced my route back around and back to the starting point, winding around when I saw something interesting until I put in about five miles. When finished, all you have to do is push the bike back in the stand and it’s good to go for the next customer.
So, I had fun. True, it was about the same amount of fun that I would have if I rode my own bicycle around Fair Park on a cold, rainy day, but it is another option. Now we need a city-wide system that would reach a critical mass. I can imagine a B-Cycle station at critical DART rail stations, the Arts District, Klyde Warren, Trinity Groves, Main Street Garden…. That is a vision of the future.
For now, as soon as the weather warms a bit I’d like to organize a writing marathon/photo trip/bike ride around Fair Park with rental bikes along with maybe a few folks on their own rides. That’s the ticket.
“I am now 33 years old, and it feels like much time has passed and is passing faster and faster every day. Day to day I have to make all sorts of choices about what is good and important and fun, and then I have to live with the forfeiture of all the other options those choices foreclose. And I’m starting to see how as time gains momentum my choices will narrow and their foreclosures multiply exponentially until I arrive at some point on some branch of all life’s sumptuous branching complexity at which I am finally locked in and stuck on one path and time speeds me through stages of stasis and atrophy and decay until I go down for the third time, all struggle for naught, drowned by time. It is dreadful. But since it’s my own choices that’ll lock me in, it seems unavoidable–if I want to be any kind of grownup, I have to make choices and regret foreclosures and try to live with them.”
― David Foster Wallace, A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again: Essays and Arguments
Truck is from Bertrand’s Inc..
“Nations are possessed with an insane ambition to perpetuate the memory of themselves by the amount of hammered stone they leave.”
― Henry David Thoreau
At the statue’s base is an iron crypt. Made of ore mined in Cherokee County, Texas, it once contained the front pages of three-hundred Texas newspapers for October 8, 1938, the date of the dedication. At the ceremonies, attended by some three-hundred descendants of the founders, the statue was unveiled by the Fair’s 1912 president, Mr. J. J. Eckford. Senator Tom Connally was the guest speaker. The key to the crypt was handed over to the Texas Press Association for safe-keeping until the crypt’s scheduled re-opening, fifty years from the date it was sealed. Unfortunately, when officials took a “sneak peek” inside the crypt, just before the 1988 State Fair, it was discovered that the vault had not been well-sealed and had leaked. When the bundle of deteriorating newspapers was touched, they crumbled into dust. As a result, ceremonies for the opening of the crypt were cancelled.