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Saturday, 26 April 2014
Flying in London last night


Bicycling is the nearest approximation I know to the flight of birds. The airplane simply carries a man on its back like an obedient Pegasus; it gives him no wings of his own. There are movements on a bicycle corresponding to almost all the variations in the flight of the larger birds. Plunging free downhill is like a hawk stooping. On the level stretches you may pedal with a steady rhythm like a heron flapping; or you may, like an accipitrine hawk, alternate rapid pedaling with gliding.  If you want to test the force and direction of the wind, there is no better way than to circle, banked inward, like a turkey vulture. When you have the wind against you, headway is best made by yawing or wavering, like a crow flying upwind. I have climbed a steep hill by circling or spiraling, rising each time on the upturn with the momentum of the downturn, like any soaring bird. I have shot in and out of stalled traffic like a goshawk through the woods.

~ Birdwatching author Louis J Halle in “Spring in Washington”, 1947/1957.

Yesterday, Mark of iBikeLondon reminded us that the first two pilots were bicycle fanatics (well, co-owners of a bicycle shop).  He has a fascinating little article here.  It is not difficult to imagine that if flying was not yet invented, a cyclist somewhere would invent it today.

I have put my videos from last night’s ride up here:

For more information about Critical Mass, see here.

Posted by bigblue on 26/04/2014 at 08:46 PM
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