Criterium Corner with Euro Freddie


As a sort of New Year's resolution, I promised myself that this year I would act on an old standing offer, and take in a scenic cyclotour of the great United States of America… But is US soil safe for foreigners? More specifically cyclists riding Italian bike parts?

I happen to know this American artist friend who keeps referring to the USA as the United States of Adolescents, citing that a vast segment of its population is developmentally arrested, in so much as that American affluence has created a stunted, entitled class, devoid of empathetic feeling or social responsibility. It is with this background awareness that he brings me up to speed for our upcoming trip.

He tells me that many cyclo-tourists in the US fly little American souvenir flags from their panniers, believing that those entitled, non-tolerant automobile drivers, will think twice about running over a cyclist if it means desecrating any mini star spangled banners. However, I suspect this détente in understanding could easily break down if, say a foreigner like myself, made the cultural faux pas of displaying a pair of red, white, and blue skin shorts across my backside!

On a tangentially related thought, such cultural cross-pollination, I am informed by my artist friend, is the very sustenance of Modern Art. When Oriental artifacts first began trickling into Europe, the flat atmospheric world of Impressionism became possible; when Picasso was shown an African figurine by Matisse, it ushered in the new school of Cubism; and when Dr. Hans Prinzhorn published his art collection of the mentally ill, he unwittingly spawned l’ Art Brut movement. My friend claims that every so many years, the world of art needs an infusion from an outside influence in order to remain vital and relevant. The bicycle could be just that next fresh influence to revitalize today’s art world, he muses excitedly. But I, being a semi-retired cyclist, can hardly get my head wrapped around the world of art, let alone the tastes of its orchestrating intelligentsia... Though I will confess to having been haunted lately by a vision of my beloved loaded touring bike infused into the grill of a Hummer SUV, driven by one road-raged Yank, who possibly goes by the name of “Art”.   - Euro Freddie.

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