GREAT CYCLING QUOTES

posted, 09/05

Poets, presidents, prime ministers and prime-time newscasters have said great things about cycling. Here's a sprinkling of bicycle-related quotes...

"I thought of that while riding my bike."
Albert Einstein, on the theory of relativity

"When the spirits are low, when the day appears dark, when work becomes monotonous, when hope hardly seems worth having, just mount a bicycle and go out for a spin down the road, without thought on anything but the ride you are taking."
Sherlock Holmes author, Arthur Conan Doyle, Scientific American, 1896

"Nothing compares to the simple pleasure of a bike ride."
John F. Kennedy

"The finest mode of transport known to man."
TV boffin and folder enthusiast Adam Hart-Davis on the bicycle.

"Five years from now, if I'm in Texas and there is a local mountain bike race, will I go down and do it? Probably. That's just simply as a fan and somebody who does cycling for fitness. I'm committed to the bike for life!"
Lance Armstrong, 18th April 2005, the day he announced he was retiring.

"[Jeremy Clarkson] always moans on about drivers being attacked. We should be hounding them even more - cars have no place in an urban environment."
John Grimshaw, founder and chief engineer, Sustrans, The Guardian, June 8th 2005.

"I want to ride my bicycle bicycle bicycle; I want to ride my bicycle; I want to ride my bike; I want to ride my bicycle; I want to ride it where I like...; I don't believe in Peter Pan, Frankenstein or Superman; All I wanna do is bicycle, bicycle, bicycle..."
Freddie Mercury, Queen, 1978

"I'll tell you what I think of bicycling. I think it has done more to emancipate women than any one thing in the world. I rejoice every time I see a woman ride by on a bike. It gives her a feeling of self-reliance and independence the moment she takes her seat; and away she goes, the picture of untrammelled womanhood."
Susan B. Anthony, 1896

"The more I’ve been mountain biking, the more I see myself as a female. In letting your femininity go to become a mountain biker, you actually find it more."
Niki Gudex, FHM magazine, February 2005

"The bicycle is the perfect transducer to match man's metabolic energy to the impedance of locomotion. Equipped with this tool, man outstrips the efficiency of not only all machines but all other animals as well. Bicycles let people move with greater speed without taking up significant amounts of scarce space, energy, or time. They can spend fewer hours on each mile and still travel more miles in a year. They can get the benefit of technological breakthroughs without putting undue claims on the schedules, energy, or space of others. They become masters of their own movements without blocking those of their fellows. Their new tool creates only those demands which it can also satisfy. Every increase in motorized speed creates new demands on space and time. The use of the bicycle is self-limiting. It allows people to create a new relationship between their life-space and their life-time, between their territory and the pulse of their being, without destroying their inherited balance. The advantages of modern self-powered traffic are obvious, and ignored. That better traffic runs faster is asserted, but never proved. Before they ask people to pay for it, those who propose acceleration should try to display the evidence for their claim."
Ivan Illich, Energy and Equity, Toward a History of Needs, 1978.

"Drivers wish for better roads and less congestion, but are unprepared to make personal sacrifices by reducing the amount they use their car in order to achieve this outcome."
Counting the Cost, Cutting Congestion, RAC Foundation, 2004

"The bicycle is the most civilized conveyance known to man. Other forms of transport grow daily more nightmarish. Only the bicycle remains pure in heart."
Iris Murdoch, The Red and the Green

A Zen teacher saw five of his students returning from the market, riding their bicycles. When they arrived at the monastery and had dismounted, the teacher asked the students, “Why are you riding your bicycles?”

The first student replied, “The bicycle is carrying this sack of potatoes. I am glad that I do not have to carry them on my back!” The teacher praised the first student. “You are a smart boy! When you grow old, you will not walk hunched over like I do.”

The second student replied, “I love to watch the trees and fields pass by as I roll down the path!” The teacher commended the second student, “Your eyes are open, and you see the world.”

The third student replied, “When I ride my bicycle, I am content to chant nam myoho renge kyo.” The teacher gave his praise to the third student, “Your mind will roll with the ease of a newly trued wheel.”

The fourth student replied, “Riding my bicycle, I live in harmony with all sentient beings.” The teacher was pleased and said to the fourth student, “You are riding on the golden path of non-harming.”

The fifth student replied, “I ride my bicycle to ride my bicycle.” The teacher sat at the feet of the fifth student and said, “I am your student.”
Zen proverb

"When man invented the bicycle he reached the peak of his attainments. Here was a machine of precision and balance for the convenience of man. And (unlike subsequent inventions for man's convenience) the more he used it, the fitter his body became. Here, for once, was a product of man's brain that was entirely beneficial to those who used it, and of no harm or irritation to others. Progress should have stopped when man invented the bicycle."
Elizabeth West, Hovel in the Hills

"The bicycle is a curious vehicle. Its passenger is its engine."
John Howard

"When I was a kid I used to pray every night for a new bicycle. Then I realised that the Lord doesn't work that way so I stole one and asked Him to forgive me."
Emo Philips

"A bicycle does get you there and more And there is always the thin edge of danger to keep you alert and comfortably apprehensive. Dogs become dogs again and snap at your raincoat; potholes become personal. And getting there is all the fun."
Bill Emerson

When I see an adult on a bicycle, I do not despair for the future of the human race."
H.G. Wells

"The bicycle is just as good company as most husbands and, when it gets old and shabby, a woman can dispose of it and get a new one without shocking the entire community."
Ann Strong, Minneapolis Tribune, 1895

"I took care of my wheel as one would look after a Rolls Royce. If it needed repairs I always brought it to the same shop on Myrtle Avenue run by a negro named Ed Perry. He handled the bike with kid gloves, you might say. He would always see to it that neither front nor back wheel wobbled. Often he would do a job for me without pay, because, as he put it, he never saw a man so in love with his bike as I was."
Henry Miller, My Bike and Other Friends

"The hardest part of raising a child is teaching them to ride bicycles. A shaky child on a bicycle for the first time needs both support and freedom. The realization that this is what the child will always need can hit hard."
Sloan Wilson

"It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle."
Ernest Hemingway

"If you brake, you don't win."
Racer Mario Cipollini

"[A bicycle is] an unparalled merger of a toy, a utilitarian vehicle, and sporting equipment. The bicycle can be used in so many ways, and approaches perfection in each use. For instance, the bicycle is the most efficient machine ever created: Converting calories into gas, a bicycle gets the equivalent of three thousand miles per gallon. A person pedalling a bike uses energy more efficiently than a gazelle or an eagle. And a trinagle-framed bicycles can easily carry ten times its own weight - a capacity no automobile, airplane or bridge can match."
Bill Strickland

"The bicycle is the noblest invention of mankind."
William Saroyan, The Noiseless Tenor

"A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle."
Irina Dunn, 1970

"I live and breathe bike transportation. Does that make me a granola-crunching, world-saving utopian? Actually, my riding has a lot to do with what's good for me. Riding makes me healthy. It saves me time. It makes me feel good and gives me energy to do more in life. Of course, getting around by bike is a green thing to do. And altruism does have its rewards. Frankly, I wouldn't mind saving the world. Makes one want to crunch some granola."
US bike builder Joe Breeze, VeloNews, 2005

"Bicycles are almost as good as guitars for meeting girls."
Bob Weir, Grateful Dead

"It's something I find enjoyable. Whether it is a road bike or mountain bike or tandem bike. I enjoy riding a bike."
Lance Armstrong

"I relax by taking my bicycle apart and putting it back together again."
Michelle Pfeiffer

"People like to travel: that is why the grass is greener over the fence. We are walkers - our natural means of travel is to put one foot in front of the other. The bicycle seduces our basic nature by making walking exciting. It lets us take 10-foot strides at 160 paces a minute. That's 20 miles an hour, instead of 4 or 5... It is not only how fast you go - cars are faster and jet planes faster still. But jet-plane travel is frustrating boredom - at least the car gives the pictorial illusion of travel. Cycling does it all - you have the complete satisfaction of arriving because your mind has chosen the path and steered you over it; your eyes have seen it; your muscles have felt it; your breathing, circulatory and digestive systems have all done their natural functions better than ever, and every part of your being knows you have traveled and arrived."
John Forester,Effective Cycling

"In the past two decades, thousands of miles of trails have been paved in the United States, but many of them look as if they were designed by someone who'd never ridden a bike. By consulting more with the people who do a lot of travelling under their own power, transportation planners ought to be able to come up with imaginative schemes for making roads, paths and sidewalks more usable to them, and maybe help cut down a bit on our reliance on the automobile."
Trouble on the Trail, Washington Post op-ed, May 18th, 1993

"“In politics, one can learn some things from cycling, such as how to have character and courage. Sometimes in politics there isn’t enough of those things.”
Guy Verhofstadt, Prime Minister of Belgium, 2004

"Whoever invented the bicycle deserves the thanks of humanity."
Lord Charles Beresford

"Marriage is a wonderful invention; but then again, so is a bicycle repair kit."
Billy Connolly

"My wife...thinks cycling is great way to spend time as a family while burning a few calories. For her, the family ride is quality time. Then again, she does not have the trailer with 50 or so stuffed animals and the 2-year-old singing "Old McDonald" attached to her bike as we climb what must be Mont Ventoux. Hmm ... now that I think about it, cycling is the best way to burn a bazillion calories and hang with the family."
US bike shop owner John Kibodeaux, VeloNews, 2005

"[Cycling] is easily the quickest way around central London, faster than bus, Tube or taxi. You can predict precisely how long every journey will take, regardless of traffic jams, Tube strikes or leaves on the line. It provides excellent exercise. It does not pollute the atmosphere. It does not clog up the streets."
Newscaster Jeremy Paxman

"My whole day is built around meetings that can be achieved around bike rides. My contract actually offers me a free car from my home to my office and back, but I suppose I am addicted to cycling."
Newscaster Jon Snow

"In the context of the great debates about identity politics - are you gay or straight, nationalist or republican, British or English and so on - I would ask, "Do you ride a bike?". I love everything about the machine - the sensation of the tyres on the road, the mobility - and I love the fact that you have this intimate relationship with the elements, and the landscape."
Beatrix Campbell

"Highway engineers are responsible for the nation's obesity. They're obsessed with roads that just encourage a sedentary lifestyle...The police want us in cars because they say there is less chance of being mugged, but if you encourage more people on to the streets, either walking or cycling, they will be safer."
John Grimshaw, founder and chief engineer, Sustrans, The Guardian, June 8th 2005.

"Cycle tracks will abound in Utopia."
H.G. Wells

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