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It's not about the bike
June 21, 2005 9:22 AM   Subscribe

Watch the bike disintegrate. The Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter published the story of a bicycle that they abandoned on a bridge in Stockholm. The author then took pictures of the bike during its lifecycle that spanned from September 27, 2004 to June 13, 2005. Shockwave flash move, set to Vivaldi's Four Seasons. Brought a tear to my eye. Via Bike Log.
posted by fixedgear (38 comments total)

 
interesting....

feels a bit like entrapment in a way. The bike intentionally left someplace in order to photograph the results of the behavior of thieves.. the point being?

But, you have to give the local residents credit for being honest as long as they were, that bike would have lasted about three days in Ann Arbor!
posted by HuronBob at 9:45 AM on June 21, 2005


That's not any of Vivaldi's Four Seasons I've ever heard.
posted by WaterSprite at 9:50 AM on June 21, 2005


i like to think that at least most of the ish that got stolen went to ppl with bikes that needed it... someone stole the brake cable?!
posted by cusack at 9:57 AM on June 21, 2005


Some interesting numbers from the article: 6% of all reported crime in Sweden is bicycle theft (70000 per year), and it is believed that only half of all thefts are reported. The police only managed to solve 2 out of 100 reported thefts.

Sweden and Holland are the two countries with the most bicycle thefts in the world.
posted by rpn at 9:58 AM on June 21, 2005


Pff, I've seen bikes in far worse shape haning around chained up in bikeracks around here, This winter I wanted to take shots as bikes slowly emerged from deep piles of plowed-off-the-road snow, but I never got around to it.

An unattended bike around here will get stolen, if it's new. But the really old stuff tends to stick around a bit longer.
posted by delmoi at 9:59 AM on June 21, 2005


I found it strangely moving and compelling--I don't think it is Vivaldi"s "Four Seasons"--Nice try anyway--
posted by rmhsinc at 10:00 AM on June 21, 2005


For more than a year at the park and ride I catch the bus from I looked at a sad and lonely 70's Gitane that had been abandoned there. Nobody took anything from it but the elements (and the guys who cleared the snow) did their best to beat it down.

A few months ago a friend got permission to free the bike. He put a lot of hours into it and this is the result.

It won't win the tour but it's a sweet old bike brought back to life.
posted by m@ at 10:01 AM on June 21, 2005


Some interesting numbers from the article: 6% of all reported crime in Sweden is bicycle theft (70000 per year), and it is believed that only half of all thefts are reported. The police only managed to solve 2 out of 100 reported thefts.

Its kind of the same around here, I've had *two* bikes stolen, one which had a flat tire when i was late for class, I didn't lock it up thinking "who's going to steal a bike with a flat tire". Another, $500 bike got stolen when I moved from one side of campus to another and didn't want to walk to pick up the bike, so I left it for a few weeks. Meanwhile hardly any 'real' crime happens. I live in Ames, Iowa.

Now I keep my bike indoors as much as possible. And what happens? I get hit by a car! :P At least the guy gave me money to fix my bike (should be less then $70)

I remember reading a book about Japanese Criminals, the author mentioned how in one prefecture there were something like 7 cases of grand theft auto and over a thousand motercycle thefts.
posted by delmoi at 10:05 AM on June 21, 2005


I don't think it is Vivaldi"s "Four Seasons"

It is Vivaldi's Four Seasons: Winter (Largo).
posted by swordfishtrombones at 10:06 AM on June 21, 2005


Many of you are feeling sorry for the bike. That is because you are crazy....
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 10:07 AM on June 21, 2005


I lived in Stockholm for a while and was looking forward to commuting primarily by bike. I only had my bike for 3 days before it was stolen. After that I just went back to taking the T-bana.

I love that city.
But bikes don't last long there.
posted by monkeystronghold at 10:08 AM on June 21, 2005


They could have done a much more interesting time lapse. The plodding nature of the pictures got boring very quickly.

Its an interesting idea and I like the title of Life Cycle alot but this is pretty boring execution of a neat idea.

And yeah, it seemed like it took a while before thieves set in on it.
posted by fenriq at 10:13 AM on June 21, 2005


It was a total set-up. According to the article in DN (in Swedish) the bike was left there with the back tire intentionally punctured.... in September mind you.

The first snowfall usually comes late in November. It wasn't until then that the headlamp - attached with velcro - was taken. The seat wasn't removed until December 13th - Luciadagen and it remained untouched until the front wheel was removed in MAY. Once the front wheel was gone and the bike appeared abandoned by its owner that the rest of the parts started being removed. That model is very popular in Sweden so the spare parts are useful.

The obvious point missing from DN's little "story" is that the people who took the parts probably believed the bike to be well and truly abandoned by its owner. I leave my bike parked outside my flat in Östermalm and parked all over Stockholm year round and it's never been touched.

But did you notice how beautiful my city is! Karlbergskanalen (where the bike was parked) isn't even a particularly nice part of town...

Monkeystronghold are you sure you just weren't very drunk when you parked yours and forgot where it was?
posted by three blind mice at 10:15 AM on June 21, 2005


I'm with fenriq.
posted by wsg at 10:24 AM on June 21, 2005


Hey... that IS my bike!

actually,three blind mice, I don't have the money to get THAT drunk in Sweden, I would need to auction a kidney or something.

I suppose I should clarify - during the three days I had my bike, it was locked downtown with no problem. It was stolen late at night in the suburbs (Farsta) while visiting friends.

And yes. Stockholm is the most beautiful city ever.
posted by monkeystronghold at 10:32 AM on June 21, 2005


They left it for almost a year. I don't know if the statement was so much about thievery as it was just crazy art-house stuff.

Man, if I had the luxury of taking a perfectly lovely bike and leaving it out in the elements for the sake of a website . . . Well, I wouldn't. I would ride it and love it and walk it every day . . .
posted by schroedinger at 11:07 AM on June 21, 2005


my flat in Östermalm

well, duh. rich old ladies, rich nobiliaries and newly-rich yuppie scum seldom need bikes.
;)
posted by mr.marx at 11:10 AM on June 21, 2005


At the end, I was expecting a screaming ghoulish zombie to spring into frame. The internet has has left a few scars on me...
posted by mania at 11:10 AM on June 21, 2005


The Flash author needs to learn how to synchronize audio bits better. Either that, or the audio of the circular saw was heavy-handed foreshadowing.

/film critic
posted by surplus at 11:21 AM on June 21, 2005


someone stole the brake cable?!

and the reflector?!
posted by blendor at 11:37 AM on June 21, 2005


Man, if I had the luxury of taking a perfectly lovely bike and leaving it out in the elements for the sake of a website . . . Well, I wouldn't. I would ride it and love it and walk it every day . . .

I swear I'm touched. Wanna adopt an old troll?
posted by davy at 11:42 AM on June 21, 2005


Sweden and Holland are the two countries with the most bicycle thefts in the world.

I lived in Holland (Utrecht) for a year, and I had probably half a dozen bikes stolen. The student population seemed to perpetuate the cycle of theft by buying stolen bikes from junkies on the street. ("Fiets kopen?") One could haggle over the price, or even request a particular model or style, and they would go steal one for you.

At the time, anyway, you could buy a functional bike this way for ten guilders (US$6-7). My Dutch friends suggested it would be more ethical to steal a bicycle yourself instead of contributing money to the underground economy.
posted by Hlewagast at 11:49 AM on June 21, 2005


Not that I ever did such a thing.
posted by Hlewagast at 11:53 AM on June 21, 2005


There's a group of volunteers that decorate abandoned bikes in Toronto.
posted by phirleh at 11:57 AM on June 21, 2005


Hlewagast, here in The Hague there may be no students, but a bike like that would last three hours tops.
On the other hand, when I was in Japan I was highly amused by the flimsy bicycle locks used over there. A Dutch junkie would pick one of those in two seconds. Blindfolded. With one hand tied behind his back. And a heavy withdrawal syndrome.
posted by Skeptic at 12:08 PM on June 21, 2005


I liked the idea of this, and I really wanted to like the presentation, but I have to agree with some of what's been said - it just wasn't very well done. It seemed cliche and insubstantial, somehow. The music especially seemed to have been chosen to fit a predetermined definition of what would be "touching" without actually paying attention to the way the elements work together to cause emotional responses in a particular case (ie, the music especially seemed cliche).
posted by mdn at 12:19 PM on June 21, 2005


At the end, I was expecting a screaming ghoulish zombie to spring into frame. The internet has has left a few scars on me...

Thank god it's not just me. I've got this totally creeped out feeling going as I'm watching this, and I think you nailed its source. Stupid scary net memes.
posted by joe lisboa at 12:27 PM on June 21, 2005


Very nice, art is art, don't try too hard to figure it out or get the real point.

I'm also amazed it lasted so long, around here you'd have to stake the thing out for maybe 3 days tops to see it all disappear.
posted by scheptech at 12:44 PM on June 21, 2005


phirleh; Planning on doing it this year? see: Pedals and Paint . I think I will go and do it.
posted by helvetica at 1:17 PM on June 21, 2005


Eahh....I was expecting some time-lapse photography. After watching it, I think it would have been much better done as such.
posted by potuncle at 1:25 PM on June 21, 2005


Funny they brought out the Dreml tool at the end. I guess that bic pen trick never got around to the Swedes. They really are a sheltered lot...
posted by hellbient at 1:39 PM on June 21, 2005


Doesnt japan have some hardcore bicycle licencing deal?
so stolen bikes are not worth the effort to register?
Atleast thats what I heard.
posted by Iax at 2:16 PM on June 21, 2005


Stan Brakhage, Sirius Remembered. Similar, but with a dog instead of a bike.
posted by orthogonality at 2:41 PM on June 21, 2005


Similar, but with a dog instead of a bike.

They stole a dog's brake cable and reflector? Bastards...
posted by fixedgear at 3:27 PM on June 21, 2005


The bic pen trick doesn't work on all circular locks, hellbient.

The opening text says: "Det var en gång en cyckel" - this is the standard fairy-tale opening, a rough translation would be "Once upon a time, there was a bicycle".
posted by spazzm at 4:05 PM on June 21, 2005


I want that bike lock! Where can I buy it?
posted by trii at 6:52 PM on June 21, 2005


Abandoned Bicycles of New York
posted by growabrain at 8:15 PM on June 21, 2005


I got a rental bike ripped off at the end of a seven day trip through Amsterdam. It was locked up with a cable across the street from The Rainbow Palace Hotel. I felt really bad about it when I had to tell the rental agency what happened, but then as I was walking away I remember thinking; "You'd have to be really stupid to go into the bike-rental business in Amsterdam."
posted by Demogorgon at 8:53 PM on June 21, 2005


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