A new sobriety

Via Copenhagenize — too good not to share! Art by Nick Dewar.

I’ve long loved the ephemeral art of the period between the first and second world wars, particularly Europe’s constructivist and the United States’ Works Progress Administration related work. With a deepening world economic chasm opening, and President-Elect Obama’s likely stimulus scope beginning to resemble FDR’s, there’s a certain bracing smell on the wind, and artists are beginning to respond as they did before. Notice the palette used in this and the New Yorker cover, below? You can even get an Obamafy plug-in to simplimify the process.

And of course, the bikes! Sensible city and cargo bikes with dynamo lights and fenders. Like we stock, starting around $400. That’s right folks, load up on all your depression survival supplies right here while stocks last so shiny.

Pet peeve: the light on the bicycle above is angled too high; dazzling the eyes of oncoming riders more than lighting the way. Most lights of this style have a front piece, or cowl, whose top edge is meant to be further forward than the bottom edge. The seam of this piece with the rest of the lamp, in red above, should generally be vertical or angled downward a bit.

11 thoughts on “A new sobriety”

  • Erik Sandblom

    But that poster is *supposed* to be dazzling!

  • jeff

    guy in art looks suspiciously like the co-owner of clevercycles.

  • Paige

    I want that poster! But of course now I'll never be able to look at the image without noticing the light.

  • Dave

    This and the previous post bring to mind something I've thought a lot about lately - and that is how to positively advertise cycling for the normal person (as opposed to the athlete). I know River City Bicycles put together a TV ad, but I felt it was a bit snide and thumbing it's nose at those who choose to drive.

    The simple fact is, that people are very seldom convinced to do something by statistics and numbers, environmental data, calories burned, etc. They are convinced to do something because they think it will be enjoyable or benefit them directly in some way.

    So, how to we advertise cycling for normal people as being convenient, economical, but most of all *enjoyable*?

    I think advertising such as this one above really helps to do this, associating bicycles with a simple, well balanced lifestyle - I think sites like copenhagenize do a great job of this, showing that it's easy, quick and convenient for normal, everyday people to get on a bike and ride, and it can be very practical for most of your trips to run errands, go to work, etc.

    But how do we get this kind of stuff in the face of the average Portland citizen who would never go looking for bike blogs or even consider that a bike is even a possibility?

    Just using your bike is a great way, but what more can we do for public awareness?

  • Dave

    On a somewhat related note - today when we were out and about, we saw a tri-met bus being towed, as it had broken down, and on the side of the bus was that full-bus clever cycles ad... I thought that whole situation was a pretty good advert for riding a bike :)

  • Lee

    If average people can be sold expensive mountain bikes and stationary exercise bikes that they will never use, than they can certainly be sold practical bikes as well. It's simply a matter of spending sufficient advertising dollars. To men they can be sold as the next practical hardware tool for getting things done, or as a way to pick up ladies (manly bike). To women, sell it as romance or an pretty accessory that fits your lifestyle (and it's great for shopping and being social).

    Getting people to actually use the bike is something completely different. That requires that bikes be an integrated element at every stage of transportation planning at the local and regional level. Letter-writing and talking to policy makers will get small incremental progress. However large-scale protests are still the most effective means of bringing about major policy changes.

    Love the poster! I want one!

  • Joel

    Dave, you didn't get a picture of that?

  • Dave

    Unfortunately not, I just happened to not have my camera on me - I assure you though, it was a wonderful sight (except of course for the Tri-Met guys who had to tow and fix the bus, I'm sure they're getting pretty sick of that at this point).

  • RJ

    Haha, you've got to be a passionate commuter to notice the light angle in an art print!

    Cheers to that!

  • Emlyn

    I often angle my light up, so that it shines in the mirrors of cars, rather than using it to light the road. I think, in the city, it's more about visibility than vision.

    Da Robot

  • Dave

    But if it's angled down (not straight down), it still makes you visible to oncoming traffic, without being obnoxious. This is one thing that irks me about helmet-mounted lights too - I find I often have to look away from other cyclists, because their lights are prohibitively bright and dazzling, and right at eye level. I mean, I guess you know they're there, but you can't really see them - or anything else once you look away again :)

    That's another thing I like about the common city bike placement of the large headlight down near the fork crown, they provide good visibility, better lighting of the road, and all without shining in everyone's eyes.

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