Bike City U.S.A.

Sketching is about slowing down and seeing and stopping to draw the metaphorical roses.

So I did the ambulatory version of sketching: I rode a bicycle. I have been in the Bike City: Davis, California. What better way to see Bike City than from the saddle of a bicycle. I must admit that I was never very impressed with Davis, its flatness, its distant proximity to a body of water, and its extreme temperatures. The campus of UC Davis was also flat and lacked an architectural cohesiveness of say a UC Santa Cruz or Berkeley. My impressions all changed when I saw Davis from a bike. I set off on my brother’s bike, early one morning at 6:40 (the predicted high for the day was 101 degrees). Davis is really made for bikes. It’s flat, every street has a bike lane, bicycle only paths flank major streets, loads of bike racks and bicycle traffic circles. The freedom of self-propelled motion was exhilarating. I was seeing campus for the first time, in the way it was supposed to be experienced. My senses were alert, I heard the scrub-jays, saw the passing cork oaks, and smelled the undefined smell of a day heating up. I passed Robert Arneson’s Eggheads, finding Stargazer in a quiet courtyard. Nearby I stopped and sketched the side of the bookstore as the shadow of a cork oak slowly stretched along the side of the building. The campus was slowing waking up. And I was also waking up to the pleasures of Bike City.


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