"People who spent most of their natural lives riding iron bicycles... get their personalities mixed up with the personalities of their bicycle... you would be surprised at the number of people in these parts who are nearly half people and half bicycles." – So writes Flann O'Brien in The Third Policeman, and if it's true then you're in with a chance of winning part of legendary artist David Byrne this week on Ebay. Oh, and his bike too.
The former Talking Heads star has put his machine up for auction after living with it for many years on tour – it's the bike he was riding for most of the time he was writing his new book, the part-manifesto, part-memoir Bicycle Diaries. Byrne has been a keen cyclist since the 1980s, taking a bike with him on tour as the best way to see the cities he was visiting. The bike up for grabs is very well travelled, having visited such cities as London, Berlin, Buenos Aires, Istanbul, Manila, New York, San Francisco, and Rome.
David Byrne says of the bike : "It's been around the world about four times and surprisingly, it's all still working, though it's scratched up, rusty in spots and there are pieces of travel stickers all over the center post (Manila and Roma are still pretty much intact). If I were a sentimental guy, it would hold sentimental value — but for me personally it would be nicer if that sentimental value were transferred to cash money that will be donated to the London Cycling Campaign, an appropriate cause.
"The frame folds in half easily, in seconds, which allows the bike to go into the luggage compartment of a tour bus, or the back of a van or hatchback car. I changed the original handlebar stem to one that goes a bit higher, for better city riding. If the front wheel is removed with a quick release, it will fit into a small car trunk or taxi. It's well-made, though not as lightweight as some. I just rode it all around Roma, and no problems — but watch out for those scooters!"
The bike itself is a Montague folder – the auction doesn't say what model but the skinny stays and rigid fork suggest it's a CX Comfort model, or its historical equivalent. It runs full size mountain bike wheels and folds around the seat tube with a quick release holding the rear triangle in place. A new one these days will set you back about £500 but the LCC are no doubt hoping that this bike's cachet will net them much more than that for the coffers of the charity.
LCC’s Chief Executive, Koy Thomson, said "David Byrne reflects the intimacy of the link between city and cycle. He shows us the next step in human urban evolution towards pedal power. The cycle frees the mind and body. It fires up new experiences and creates a more liveable city for everybody. David’s bicycle has been at the centre of an amazing multi-continent Odyssey and we are delighted to be part of that journey"
At time of writing the bike has been bid up to £360 - if you fancy a piece of the action then head over to the Ebay auction page and get your offer in the auction ends next Sunday - the 16th. You have to pick up the bike in person from London, at which point you can elect to Gift Aid your winning bid.
Dave is a founding father of road.cc and responsible for kicking the server when it breaks. In a previous life he was a graphic designer but he's also a three-time Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling world champion, and remains unbeaten through the bog. Dave rides all sorts of bikes but tends to prefer metal ones. He's getting old is why.