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New Bicycle art.
The bicycle art site, companion to this blog is here
As I mentioned last time, I’ve been very excited to read Jim Fitzpatrick”s book, The Bicycle and the Bush
I tracked Jim down in Queensland and found he’s got copies to sell at a very reasonable price, half what I paid for the book through the internet. You can find him through Star Hill studio.
This has led to some new bike art, new cycle style. I was already in the mood for historic images, having gone on a ride with a penny farthing at Manly a month ago. here a composite of climbing up onto the penny.
These dangerous machines had their own cycle chic I find
This led to inspiration to try and capture something of the early miners, and shearers who traveled such huge distances across Australia on bikes before cars swept them from the road.
Here you see two shearers with swags draped over the fond and back forks.
In the diamond of the frame there was more space for carrying, often a specially shaped water bottle.
This is a lone shearer’s camp. it was often hundreds of miles between sheds and so a man would camp overnight.
Not an easy life with just your dog for company.
I imagine that sometimes the dog hitched a ride.
Gold prospectors also used bikes at the end of the 19th century and would proudly pose with their machines, their means of mobility to race to the next discovery.
There was a bicycle post in the mid 1890′s in the Calgoorlie area, and very expensive it was too, a single letter could cost the equivalent of hundreds of dollars to be rushed on a bike.
I guess staking a claim might have sometimes been at stake and time of the essence.
This character, below, was called the Coolgardie Nugget. I don’t know that he with anything to do with the cycle post but I’ve out him together with an envelope of the period bearing one of the private postal service stamps.
Here’s the letter I used as my model.
And a close up of the stamps who’s use was soon declared illegal by the goldfields post office.
Before I close, I must report that I was recently in Melbourne and delighted to see that there are many more women riding than a year ago.
Moreover, almost all those I saw were in regular clothes, much less Lycra around. No pennys, though.
Equally satisfying from my POV, most of these women were riding stately sit up bikes, meaning they’re great inspiration for future bicycle art as well as being comfortable.
Sadly, the racks of blue public bikes stand as before, forlorn, mostly unused. In the three days I was in Melbourne, I saw only one public bike being ridden around the city.
When will the authorities admit that the compulsory helmet is killing this vital scheme, and that that is just not acceptable?
You can see more of these on my bicycle art at this site. All the illustrations here are solar prints. You can find out about them in this previous post.
I’ve been doing them with the help of my teacher, Leonard Matkevich who you can in this same link
This is Leonard putting a print though his press for me. Thanks, mate!
I’d be very happy if you’d like or link to this site. As yet, Goggle does not find it. And as for Jim’s book, I can’t recommend it too highly as window into our forgotten past.
Thanks also to Mikael Colville-Andersen for alerting me to some early photos in our cycle history
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