FEELING LITERARY: William Gibson and the future of bikes

Is this a bike book or a sci fi book with bikes in it?

FOR YOUR READING PLEASURE, I give you a glimpse into the future of bikes and messengering:

“Sometimes, when she rode hard, when she could really proj, Chevette got free of everything: the city, her body, even time. That was the messenger’s high, she knew, and though it felt like freedom, it was really the melding-with, the clicking-in, that did it. The bike between her legs was like some hyper-evolved alien tail she’d somehow extruded, as though over patient centuries; a sweet and intricate bone-machine, grown Lexan-armored tires, near-frictionless bearings, and gas-filled shocks. She was entirely part of the city, then, one wild-ass little dot of energy and matter, and she made her thousand choices, instant to instant, according to how th traffic flowed, how rain glinted on the street-car cracks, how a secretary’s mahogany hair fell like grace itself, exhausted, to the shoulders of her loden coat.

And she was starting to get that now, in spite of everything; if she just let go, quit thinking, let her mind sink down into the machinery of bone and gear-ring and carbon-wound Japanese paper

But Sammy Sal swerved in beside her, bass pumping from his bike’s bone-construction beatbox. She had to bunny the curb to keep from going over on a BART grate. her tires left black streaks as the particle-brakes caught, Sammy Sal braking in tandem, his Fluoro-Rimz strobing, fading.”

from Virtual Light by William Gibson (New York: Bantam, 1993).

Let’s analyze this.

• near frictionless bearings = √

• gas-filled shocks = √

But, where are these things?

• Fluoro-Rimz (with strobe lights!)

• speakers built into the material of the frame

• carbon-wound Japanese paper frames

• Lexan-armored tires

• particle brakes

OH, sweet future, sweet technological bliss, please come to me now!


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