Yes, the road.

Yes, the road.
Eagle Nest, New Mexico. “People like to drive because driving is actually and symbolically an almost perfect mechanism for escape…there is probably no human being who does not have troubles, real or imagined, from which he at times feels the need to flee.” George R. Stewart.


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Brooklin, Maine, United States
We own a 1975 GMC Sierra Grande 15 in Maine and a 1986 Chevrolet Custom Deluxe 10 in West Texas. Also a pair of 1997 Volvo 850 wagons. Average age in the fleet is 28 years--we're recycling. I've published 3 novels: THE LAW OF DREAMS (2006), THE O'BRIENS (2012), and CARRY ME (2016). Also 2 short story collections: NIGHT DRIVING(1987) and TRAVELLING LIGHT (2013). More of my literary life is at I was a Fellow at the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study for 2012-13. I'm an adjunct professor at Colorado College and in the MFA program at Queens University of Charlotte. In 2015-16 I was a Fellow at Harvard University's Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. The Autoliterate office is in Car Talk Plaza in Harvard Square, 2 floors above Dewey Cheatem & Howe. SUBSCRIBE TO THE AUTOLITERATE DAILY EMAIL by hitting the button to the right.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Dutch bikes

Spending a season here in The Netherlands, we have grown very fond of our bikes. They are our main--only-- local transportation mode. Bike paths are everywhere, within and between towns. This is the route I ride every morning, between home and my office at the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study-NIAS.

Dutch bikes are designed for urban life, and sturdy. It's common to see parents wheeling along with one kid mounted on a seat on the handlebars, another sitting on a seat over the rear fender. No one except visiting Americans wears helmets. The Dutch were serious cyclists long before the helmet thing started. Bikes are just a way of life here, and motorists know how to deal with them. (And beyond the reach of American liability lawyers, life usually does become a little less...restrictive, does it not?) The threat to ordinary vernacular bikers is not vehicle traffic, but hordes of road bikers moving at speed, silently, and very often in packs. (None of them have bells either, which is usually how Dutch bikers signal they are coming up behind; I guess the road racers figure that with all the expensive form-fitting suits and aerodynamic helmets, a bell on the handlebar would...what? Disrupt the airflow?)
      This my aged Batavus machine, a girl-bike, loaded up outside the grocery store.

This (below) is the NIAS campus. Lots of beeches. And beaches--ten minutes by bike, on paths over the dunes.

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