It must be stated at the outset that we have a system of beliefs: we call it Cyclism. It’s a religion rooted in the notion that the Bicycle is the optimum form of transportation, and those who Cycle are truly the blessed of the earth. To Cycle, we say, is to serve god, society, and oneself all at once: for if to get where one is going is a reward, the trip, if by Bike, will be too.

We Cyclists have a nemesis, of course: the Motorist. The Motorist distrusts the power within, and insists on fossilized fuels, as well as fossilized ideas, for motivation. The Motorist worships at the altar of its idol: the Automobile. The image of the Automobile is plastered everywhere, and Cyclists have no choice but to see it wherever we turn.

Cyclists don’t think much of this. Many of us wish Motorists could be prohibited from making drawings, images, and advertisements of their idol. Some Cyclsts are reformed Motorists who have come to see the truth about Motorism. They object to the helter-skelter images of Automobiles because they find them offensive in their pie-in-the-sky lies about the Car-ful future. They know what truly awaits the faithful Motorist, and it isn’t a long and winding road that leads to your door [Do you feel a pong coming on? –ed.].

Other Cyclists somehow shrugged off and never caught the Motorist virus. Whether it be due to childhood exposure to anti-Motorist sentiment [that’s anti-american! –ed.], or some latent tendency toward frugality, ecological stewardship, urban beauty, rural splendour, or simply nostalgia [them’s fighting words! –ed.], a scientific study on these hardy souls may be in order.

What would likely turn up, should such a study be performed, is that the Cyclist has a store of energy upon which to draw. That inner source exists in all people, we believe, but the Motorist has unfortunately quelled its source through an over-reliance on keyed transmissions and the poorly named “internal” combustion engine.

But what is it, this “drawing” that takes place when the Cyclist mounts her or his steed? What is it, to draw?

In an early incarnation of the ALLDERBLOB, we toiled in the bleak house of the Technical University of Nova Scotia, writing our soiled satire, scratching our dark daydreams into velum, making provocative proposals for the future of architecture and urban design. We recall one sordid affair where we wandered the limits of Halifax and Dartmouth, gathering detritus from the rail bed and roadway. These pieces of litter, we suggested, constituted “found evidence” toward the creation of unanticipated programs, architectural wonders that we thrust on barges and set adrift in the sewage-laced seas of the Halifax Narrows. An image from this project comes to mind: the “House for Parents and a Full-Grown Child:”

which side is mine?

It’s well-known that this project, among the many deeply thought-out trials of this, de Allderdice-Smith’s blue period [Huh? –ed.], turned a corner for us: we became an urban designer in our own right. To this day, the image of rusted barges 80 feet by 40 feet in size, nestled among the turds, used sanitary pads, and other flushed floaters of the Halifax harbour, and carrying programs like the “Dormitory for a Monastic Order” (they sell fish from the lower deck), the “Playground for Children of Worried Parents” (well fenced, believe us), or the “Barge of Wind-induced Noises” (filled with water to varying levels, the many organ pipes of this barge send sonorous hauntings to the very edge of the city), and so on (twelve in all fluttered to the ground around us as we stood in that famous final review) continues to inflict our reveries.

But what were they, these drawings that we drew onto paper? Why speak of them now, lo, so many years later? What is it to draw, anyway?

Teachers of ours at that august academy included the Dean, Essy Baniassad, and the architect Brian MacKay-Lyons. We remember they were fond in those days of speaking about the idea that in drawing, we draw out: that is, just as the draught of beer or of water draws from some deeper source (a keg, or, if one must be poetic, a well) the drawer of sketches too must draw from within: even when drawing that which is outside, we draw from within to place its semblence onto paper. What we draw on isn’t paper. What we draw on is ourselves.

Some of you may have heard tell of the controversy over sketches of the prophet Mohammed, commissioned by and published in a Danish newspaper. The argument goes, say the zealots on both sides, that there are some people who must not be drawn. To draw them is to draw fire. Knowing this, the newspaper, and those who republished its sketches, took a risk and exposed a rift: your freedom to draw crosses a line when its lines aren’t crosses. “My holy book says your cartoons ain’t funny.”

It doesn’t say torching and killing the blasphemers is funny either, but no one ever accused the Koran of having a sense of irony.

We are reminded of a story from another ancient holy book, before the motorcar, before the wheel [and what of the duchess-faced horse? Show-off! –ed. ] In it, some youngster is left in charge of the clay idols his father has constructed and set up for sale in the marketplace. Dad goes away for the afternoon, and the young buck gets up to mischief. He smashes all the idols save one, the largest, leaving a stick in its hand.

Dad comes home and demands to know what’s happened.

“The big one smashed all the others, dad, it were orful,” cries out junior.

“Don’t be ridiculous,” says dad, “and mind your grammar. The big one couldn’t have smashed all the others–it’s just a piece of clay.”

“Exactly my point,” says smarty-pants. “Why do we worship them if they have no power.”

At this, poppa strokes his beard thoughtfully and proclaims, “You’re right, by jove! There is only one god, after all! You are forgiven, my son. Thank you for helping me see the light.”

Some versions, we understand, end differently: the kid is beheaded.

Cyclists don’t want to behead Motorists. We just want them to quit making drawings of their false gods everywhere, and try drawing instead on themselves: on the power within.

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