Mysterious Bicycle

You may have heard about the bicycles stolen from Cadence Cycle in July.

But did you hear about the one that mysteriously appeared?

Around July 9, an old one-speed with a coaster-brake showed up in front of 506 Wood Street, just beside Cadence Cycle. It stood on a kickstand, with an old sprung Dunlop saddle, a flat tire, and a small basket.

Bells dangle from its grips; a gold paper star is wired to the rear fender. Papier maché covers the frame and handlebars — gold-toned paper with writing and drawing and possibly a photo transfer in sepia and red ink.

Canvas wired to the frame’s centre triangle continues this colour scheme. One side reads “Cosima digitus”, and displays the image of a be-ringed hand with stars at the index and pinkie fingertips, as well as the pinkie-side base of the palm. This side also shows images of a star like the one on the fender, a map of the solar system, and a telescope.

This was the side that was facing the street. As for the other side — maybe you should go and see it.

In its diminutive basket, there is a paper telescope of sorts. If you extend it and look up to the light… but I don’t want to give it away.

This artwork wasn’t made recently. Rust spots from the frame and fenders appear through the paper.

As an installation, this object is lyrical, golden, and adventurous in a genteel, dilapidated way.

Is this a vehicle to explore the solar system? At least it takes your imagination for a ride. And in any case, it’s a welcome whimsy in a world of bike thieves and broken dreams.

I put a call out on ArtsNet asking the artist to step forward, but no one did.

After the theft at Cadence Cycle, shop owner Dean Eyre moved it into his back yard.

Cadence Cycle mechanic Massey Baker observed, “I’m surprised it stayed there so long, that it didn’t get stolen. ‘Cause it’s really cool.”

Eyre reflects, “It makes me think about the circus. It looks like something you would ride in Venice, if it wasn’t illegal to ride a bicycle in Venice.”

Eyre has generously agreed to display this mysterious bicycle, moving it to his front yard daily till the end of August. Cadence Cycle is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday to Friday and 10 to 5 on Saturday.

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