Blinking under a sun unseen. 30 days of biking, #14

Symmetry is illusion.

Viewed from the front, a traditional steel-framed bicycle has chainrings, when it has more than one, on the left. And though the pedals are mirror images of each other, one is either closer to the viewer if the cranks are parallel to the ground, or higher than the other if the cranks are perpendicular to the ground.

Viewed from the right side, the asymmetry of the machine is even more obvious. The seat tube slopes from left to right. The front wheel is usually the same size as the rear but treated quite differently. A single tube—it hides another tube on the other side of the wheel—appears to connect the wheel to the front of the frame.

The front wheel is trusted.

The rear wheel is not trusted. Two tubes, hiding two additional tubes, hold the rear wheel close to the seat tube, as though the seat tube could be called upon to further restrain the rear wheel if needed. This mechanically impossible caution seems unwarranted, however, due to the fact the rear wheel is already chained to one of the chainrings.

Asymmetry seems unfair—the rear wheel did nothing to justify such extraordinary treatment—but compared to what?

We’ve already established that symmetry, the antonym of asymmetry, doesn’t exist.

Not even in a mirror.

Sometimes a graphic artist will mirror an illustration or photograph of a bicycle. It’s an easy way to redirect eye flow on the page.

The front wheel and text are quickly positioned next to each other, and the only people who don’t follow the bicycle arrow to the text are all the people who ride bicycles—because now they’re wasting time tut-tutting a graphic artist who doesn’t know on which side of the bicycle chainrings can be found.

And we don’t have time to waste. Today we barely have enough time to ride.

April 14, 1 mile.

About 16incheswestofpeoria

Former bicycle mechanic, current peruser of books, feeder of birds.
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