- IMAGE GALLERIES
- CYCLORAMA SHOP
- Cyclorama Week
- Guide to Types of Bike
- Beginner's Guide
- Practical Information Articles
- Women's Cycling
- Cycling Technology
- Cycling History
- Issues and Inspiration
- Cycling Worldwide
- Cycle Sport
- Cycling Books. Reviews and Other Lit Crit.
- Bike Culture on the web
- Press department
The Bicycle Rider in Beverly Hills
An extract from WILLIAM SAROYAN'S book
William Saroyan (1908–1981) was born in Fresno, California, the son of
Armenian immigrants. His story “The Daring Young Man on the Flying Trapeze” (1934) launched a successful writing career, which resulted five years later in a Pulitzer Prize for The Time of Your Life. He refused to accept the award, believing that business had no place in the arts. His novel The Human Comedy (1942) was made into a movie, for which he won an Academy Award in 1943. Saroyan published over sixty books. Our thanks to Bicycling Magazine.
Before I was sixteen I had many bicycles. I have no idea what became of them. I remember, though, that I rode them so hard they were always breaking down. The spokes of the wheels were always getting loose so that the wheels became crooked. I bore down on the handlebars with so much force in sprinting, in speeding, making quick getaways, that the handlebars were always getting loose and I was always tightening them. But the thing about my bicycles that I want to remember is the way I rode them, what I thought while I rode them, and the music that came to me. First of all, my bikes were always rebuilt second-hand bikes. They were lean, hard, tough, swift, and designed for usage. I rode them with speed and style. I found out a great deal about style from riding them. Style in writing, I mean. Style in everything.
…The style I learned was this: I learned to go and make it fast. I learned to know at one and the same time how my bike was going, how it was holding up, where I was, where I would soon be, and where in all probability I would finally be.
A man learns style from everything, but I learned mine from things on which I moved, and as writing is a thing which moves, I think I was lucky to learn as I did.
A bike can be an important appurtenance of an important ritual. Moving the legs evenly and steadily soon brings home to the bike rider a valuable knowledge of pace and rhythm, and a sensible respect for timing and the meeting of a schedule.
Out of rhythm comes many things, perhaps all things. The physical action compels action of another order—action of mind, memory, imagination, dream, hope, order, and so on. The physical action also establishes a deep respect for grace, seemliness, effectiveness, power with ease, naturalness, and so on. The action of the imagination brings home to the bicycle rider the limitlessness of the potential in all things. He finds out that there are many ways to ride a bike effectively, and the acquaintanceship with the ways and the comparing of them gives him an awareness of a parallel potential in all other actions. Out of the action of the imagination also comes music and memory.
In the early days of the search I heard many great symphonies which no composer ever put to paper and no orchestra ever performed.
On the way I found out all the things without which I could never be the writer I am. I was not yet sixteen when I understood a great deal, from having ridden bicycles for so long, about style, speed, grace, purpose, value, form, integrity, health, humor, music, breathing, and finally and perhaps best, of the relationship between the beginning and the end.