Are the sixties coming back? Or are we witnessing the beginnings of a genuine populist backlash against the wizards and con artists of Wall Street? Only time will tell. The massive police arrests in the last couple of days, plus some rather obvious complicity on the part of the mainstream media, especially the New York Times, would seem to stack the odds against this fledgling movement. Will Occupy Wall Street be co-opted by outside interests or infiltrated by cointelpro style infiltrators looking to destabilize legitimate dissent? It remains to be seen. Will the traders of Wall Street, who a few days ago stood smiling at the demonstrators while smugly toasting them with glasses of champagne, be chastened by a subsequent uprising of the people’s wrath at the poles, heralding a return to true democracy? Or are we witnessing another toothless children’s crusade like the late sixties that slowly dissipated and self destructed from within? Again, only time will tell. Hopefully, in the next few days I will be able to offer some insight as well as some pictures and video. Most of the demonstrators might be young, but after all, it is there future.
William Gibson’s connection to bicycling, or more specifically, to bike messengers, began with his novel Virtual Light which recounted the adventures of San Francisco bike messenger Chevette Washington. Chevette has stolen a pair of high-tech sunglasses which are embedded with a kind of software that details the massive redevelopment of San Francisco and forebodes the even further displacement of the city’s poor and disenfranchised. Like all of Gibson’s work, Virtual Light is a critique of end game capitalism and envisions a future in which the annihilation of the middle class is complete and the working classes consist of people like Chevette who subsist on marginalized low paying jobs like messengering, and squat in place like the abandoned Oakland Bay bridge.
Gibson evidently solicited help from a messenger named Markus, aka “Fur” who published a messenger zine back in the early nineties and shortly afterwards died of a heroin overdose. Gibson’s elegantly turned tropes and dystopian themes have won him prominent place of notoriety in the mainstream of literature and have solidified his reputation as a techno-prophet. He single-handedly invented the concepts of “cyberspace” and “virtual reality” and may have contributed to the evolution of “reality TV”. instead of 15 minutes of fame, the most we can hope for is 15 seconds.
So busy lately. Wanted to take the time to follow up on the bike Fandango 2010 but, as usual, I am immersed with doing other things. here’s a link from my trip to keep my vast readership occupied: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tg8F1VS1UDA
I recently saw the writer William Gibson at Barnes and Noble promoting his book Zero History. I’m hoping to post something about Mr. Gibson’s work soon. In the meantime, I’ll be thinking about the open road.
The photographer Robert Adams once imparted a set of guidelines for the aspiring artist: What did you do? Did you do it successfully? Was it worth doing? As I sit here back in Brooklyn, wondering what my next move is(by that I mean that while in the immediate sense my course is set, the future is dark and somewhat foreboding), I am happy to reflect upon the last few months. My goals with this trip were quite simple: Take pictures; ride my bike on a long journey. It was as simple as that. Perhaps in a more profound sense I needed to learn something about myself, but ultimately I wanted to start something and finish it. Not that what I did was all that special, after all, I met people on the road who were traveling much farther for much longer. I suppose I needed to prove something to myself.
Through much of my trip my cell phone didn’t work and I was ecstatic. For days on end I read no newspapers, saw no television and barely had a clue to what was happening in the world. What a relief not to be bombarded incessantly with advertising, media hype, political baloney, Internet Spam and all the rest of it. The only thing I had to worry about was water, food, where to rest my head for the night, and where my next picture would be. I think my mileage tally was somewhere in the neighborhood of 1200 miles. Here are some pics of what I saw along the way:
For you touring bicyclists out there, these are the most scenic roads that I took, beginning with:
1) Route 83 between Swan lake and Salmon lake, especially south of Seeley lake. Extraordinary stretch, possibly the most beautiful stretch of road in America.
2) Going to the Sun Road in Glacier Park.
3) Route 191 going north out of West Yellowstone. The last 3rd of this route, south of Bozeman is spectacular, with anglers galore and a class 4 rapid on the Gallatin River.
4) Route 200 between Paradise Montana and Clark Fork Idaho. Very deserted stretch of road. Fascinating little towns along the way like Perma(just one guy and a store) and Clark Fork which reminds me of the town in the TV show “Northern Exposure”.
5) Route 84 between Bozeman and Norris Montana. For a stretch it follows the Madison River through one of the most extraordinary wetlands in America. Paradise for bird watchers.
6) Route 1 between Anaconda and Philipsburg Montana. After I left Butte on July 13th 2010 I was greeted by a ferocious Chinook wind that slowed my progress down to about three miles an hour even though I was riding on flat road. I passed through Anaconda (before which I was greeted by this enormous smelter and a desolate landscape which reminded me of Mordor from the Lord of the Rings) before I decided to camp on the side of the road because of the relentless winds. It was freezing that night. The next day my fortunes changed and I was greeted by the Pintlar Wilderness Area and an amazing descent down a mountain pass through it. I ended up in the town of Philipsburg Montana, which resembled a Confederate Museum. I regret not spending more time in Philipsburg.
I should also mention that my luck in terms of the weather and for the most part mechanical issues was quite good. I am hoping that the next time I go on one of these trips I’ll be able to afford a few more hotels and better meals. Convenience store food is wretched so I would plan a few mail drops along the way. An alternative to motels is to hook up with couchsurf.com. More to follow on this trip wrap-up.
Back where I started six weeks ago. Not sure of the the total mileage but it has to be somewhere over 1000 miles. First off, it has come to my attention that there were some fears for my safety by some of my more well meaning friends after it was rumored that the escaped Arizona convict McClusky was lurking around the Glacier National Park area and might seek to snatch my bike and my identity after murdering me in the woods. Have no fear friends, the crazyflybikeguy has escaped this, as well as other adversities and is preparing for his return to NYC.
While we are on the subject of murderous felons, I recently came into possession of a can of pepper spray, ostensibly to be used on aggressive or dangerous bears or other wildlife. I must say it seems to me that the effectiveness of pepper spray as a deterrent to attacking bears is somewhat overrated. Even so, my experiences with the bear population of Glacier Park was much more cordial than my relationships with some of the humans. I suggest as an alternative that the rangers in Glacier and Yellowstone Parks instead issue the cans to the bears to be used on obnoxious humans who get too close with their cameras.
I will be uploading video and pictures of my travels when I get back to NYC. So long for now.
I’m back in Kalispell Montana. 20 miles out of town my rear wheel went “Ping!”…”Ping!” and I knew right away that this meant trouble. Two of the spokes snapped; one of them actually snapping the joint right out of the rim and leaving a gaping hole where the spoke would normally go. I’m lucky actually. I’m just amazed that I was able to ride the bike back to town without losing anymore spokes. Or without having to hitch a ride from one of those pick-up truck guys that always go whizzing by me.
Ah well. I guess I’ve been pretty lucky so far on this trip. The bike is in the shop getting repaired and I’m here at the library wondering if I can actually get from Kalispell to Jackson Hole Wyoming in six days. It’s about four hundred miles, but is actually longer if you are taking the side roads… stay tuned…