Summer Solstice Celebration of Bicycles!

Paul E. Fallon
5 min readJun 21, 2022
Illustrations courtesy of Cari Vander Yacht, The New Yorker, May 30, 2022

“The bicycle is a curious vehicle. Its passenger is its engine.”

  • John Howard, Olympic cyclist, set a speed record of 152.2 mph in 1985

It’s the longest day of the year up here beyond 42 degrees north. The weather is mild, the winds are calm. Perfect weather to get out and take a ride.

“Cyclists see considerably more of this beautiful world than any other class of citizens. A good bicycle, well applied, will kill most ill this flesh is heir to.”

  • Dr. K.K. Doty, 19th century physician

Jill Lepore is that rare and cherished writer who can make anything interesting. Her New Yorker articles — on any topic — are insightful and expanding. Imagine my thrill encountering her personal essay in the May 30, 2022 issue: “Easy Rider: Life on a Bike.” I plunged right into a favorite writer’s thoughts on a favorite subject.

“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, Author

By New Yorker standards, “Easy Rider” is a puff piece; appropriate for this time of year and this lighthearted subject.

“To ride a bike, is to come as close to flying by your own power as humans ever will. No part of you touches the ground. You ride on air.”

  • Jody Rosen, Two Wheels Good: The History and Mystery of the Bicycle

I firmly believe that everyone loves bicycles, except automobile drivers forced to share the road.

“Learn to ride a bicycle. You will not regret it: if you live.”

  • Mark Twain

Ms. Lepore addresses the intractable battle between big, heavy, fast machines and delicate, vulnerable, bicycles. She also centers the evolution and varying popularity of bicycling in historical context.

“The bicycle has done more for the emancipation of women than anything in the world.”

  • Susan B. Anthony
Paul E. Fallon

Seeking balance in a world of opposing tension