Freedom Machines

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This blog has been alone and empty for too long. Summer brought so many new challenges and anxieties. I have been working at least sixty five hour weeks while simultaneously attending interviews trying to find a real job after the summer. I have been feeling overwhelmed by my own future. I usually find myself embracing my complete lack of concrete plans and accept it as an exciting and open ended chance for exploration and discovery. Day by day the summer has started to weigh me down. Back to back 16 hour days have started to leave me in what almost seems like disorientation. I punch out, go to bed, wake up and punch in. My Sundays off are a glorious day of Freedom.

A few months ago at school my bicycle got stolen. It was devastating. I rode that thing everywhere. It was only a $200.00 Schwinn but I loved it.

On Sunday I bought a new bicycle. I ponied up and got a really nice one figuring I will need it eventually for commuting. After all, I don’t have a car. The weather on Sunday was absolutely perfect. I rode the bike out of the shop and took it around the entire back bay and eastern prom of Portland. It was the most liberating feelings of freedom I have had in some time. My passion for the freedom that comes with a bicycle all returned in a flash supplemented by the inspiring new bike paths I had never tried in Portland. Bicycles are ingenious and perfect machines which have stood up to the test of time. These simple man powered feats of engineering have survived through the steamy and metallic industrial ages and pushed into the wirey buzzing digital era where they remain for the most part completely unchanged.
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I recently started to go back and look at some of the lore of the bicycle. The engineering milestone that made the bicycle possible was in innovation of tubular steel. The bicycle was born in a time of rapidly flourishing technology and industry. People in the west were living relatively comfortable lives. The bicycle acted as a machine which could literally embody the principals of the freedom citizens sought out. The way in which the bicycle was advertised in fascinating. The bicycle first found popularity and widespread use in France. At this time illustrators and designers such as Arthur Mackmurdo and Aubrey Beardsley were pioneering the art nouveau style of illustration which would come into massive popularity used by artists such as Alphonse Mucha. The bicycle is one of the objects which was displayed to the public in the style of art nouveau. The whole premise of art nouveau was a style with a curvy flowing sexiness which acted as a rejection of the rigid decor of the past. It is interesting to think about the reasoning behind using this style to market something like the bicycle. The bicycle in a sense also acted as a rejection of the past, especially for woman. It embodied a new found freedom. Susan B. Anthony commented on the bicycle, “Let me tell you what I think of bicycling. I think it has done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world. It gives women a feeling of freedom and self-reliance. I stand and rejoice every time I see a woman ride by on a wheel…the picture of free, untrammeled womanhood.” The bicycle was the point that helped woman’s rights activists finally achieve the rational dress movement, which liberated them from long skirts and corsets and other restricting garments. It seems that with the sensual ad campaigns and notions of equality the bicycle was much more heavily marketed toward woman than men.
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THE LIBERATOR!
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The advertisements themselves are some of the most beautiful art pieces in history.
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With over one billion bicycles in the world they serve as the most commonly used source of transportation. Completely green and human powered Freedom Machines. They make us healthier and Albert Einstein swore by the intellectual benefits to the bicycle. He claimed to have made his major breakthrough regarding the theory of relativity while riding his bicycle!

“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving” -Albert Einstein

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~ by joelkuschke on July 22, 2009.

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