Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Incendiary bicycles?

click photo to enlarge
A few decades ago, in my teenage years, I was cycling down a long, steep and winding hill above Langcliffe in the Yorkshire Dales. As the drystone walls and sheep flashed by the smell of burning impinged on my consciousness. Glancing briefly around I could see neither burning man nor flaming beast, but looking down I saw smoke coming from my brake blocks. I suspect I had bought the cheapest available, and they didn't appear to be up to the job. When I stopped, got off and inspected the source of the heat and smoke, I could see that a burnt residue had been smeared around my wheel rims by the friction of rubber on metal. I think I can honestly say that is the only time I have ever considered a bicycle to be anything remotely resembling a fire hazard.

And I suppose that's why I found this sign fixed to a seaside pier in Blackpool, Lancashire, very puzzling, not to say quite bizarre. I tried to imagine the kind of bicycles that the author of the missive might have in mind. I could see that if the clowns from the Blackpool Tower Circus left their car on the pier it might well explode with a flash of flame and a puff of smoke - clowns' cars often do that. But their bicycles? Never! And anyway, most of them have only one wheel so if that was what the sign-writer had in mind he should have prohibited unicycles too! To this day that sign is probably the oddest that I've been motivated to photograph, and the whole point of it, including the spurious "health and safety" justification, puzzles me still.

I came across this image as I was transferring files to my new hard drive after my recent misfortune. It makes a good companion for the image I posted a couple of weeks ago. If you're not keen on this sort of shot, hard luck, I found a third example that will appear soon!

photograph & text (c) T. Boughen

Camera: Olympus E500
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 48mm (96mm/35mm equiv.)
F No: f6.3
Shutter Speed: 1/125
ISO: 100
Exposure Compensation: 0 EV
Image Stabilisation: N/A