Ok, so I’m reblogging, get over it. Anyway it’s about Helsinki, the city I almost went to last year for a weekend of smut with a washed-up old choreographer who possibly is reading this and needs it impressed on him that one email in a year isn’t romantic, even by the standards of your barbarian isle. So, back to Helsinki, where bike couriers, who, like dancers possess the innate avant-fashion style fashion aspires to and is always late.
I always miss my bike when I’m not in Melbourne, the closest I’ve come to the same feeling is riding scooters in Taipei or catching a motorbike taxi in Guangzhou. Both these means of transport understand that traffic flows like water, a concept drivers in Melbourne fail to grasp, having similarities with rockfalls and avalanches. A body of moving cars has a language to how it moves, a predictability like a torrent cascading through rapids. That feeling of sliding through traffic, and the aliveness I feel every time I start pedaling, no matter how tired I am, is one of the greatest love affairs of my life.
There’s more to riding a fixed gear than purely the madness of travelling at high speeds in downtown traffic, without brakes. It’s the simplicity of the bicycle and the pedalling movement that makes it special. These guys have a fluidity of movement through traffic which means that they can make really quick decisions.
People who cycle a lot in cities often say that cars seem like personalities in their own right, the person behind the wheel is non-existant. Cars follow their own rules and logic, and by understanding that logic couriers gain a belief and a confidence that they can out-think or out-manoeuver a car. It was this confidence that amazed me, the intuitive trust that a gap will appear in traffic which the courier can slip through without slowing down. Later, when I asked if they ever rode wearing helmets, one of them replied we don’t come to work to crash.