Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Essex Terraplane

Remember running backwater routes in the 1970’s and seeing an “authorized” Hudson dealer, really a junkyard for a defunct brand. Rusting hulks sat and sulked awaiting rare enthusiasts to restore in mirth and terrorize roads with their girth. The Terraplane, an economical (as low as $425 new), fast model introduced in 1919, was lamely advertised, “In the air that's aeroplaning, but on the land, in the traffic, on the hills, hot diggity dog, that’s Terraplaning.” Imagine bicyclists resented sharing byways and terrain with these flightless turkeys, yet aviatrix Amelia Earhart hawked them, bluesman Robert Johnson droned on about them, and robber Dillinger drove one. Private transportation spread and still permits crime sprees. During the 1930’s Depression, Essex merged with and outsold the more profitable Hudson, so they abruptly discontinued production. No wonder Hudson subsequently had to sell out to American Motors, neither of which survived.

When I feel so lonesome, you hear me when I moan / Who been drivin' my Terraplane for you since I been gone… Mr. highway man, please don't block the road, 'Cause she's reachin' a cold one hundred and I'm booked and I got to go.—Robert Johnson

A website commenter said you shouldn’t discriminate cyclists from motorists, suggest a them-us dichotomy, since most both drive and pedal intermittently. Makes you consider how autos became popular a century ago. Origins fascinate, although no one thing will ever totally instigate, rather the sum of conditions. It was a no-brainer that a bicycle’s motility and a biplane’s power would merge into motorized cycles, then multi-wheeled versions for the balance challenged. Oil became available as a cheap energy source, instant compared to coal or electricity. Yet it took a celebrity to convince masses to give up cycling. If not for hard hills and heavy loads, motors may never have caught on. Chores and contours of course occur; they cannot be contravened without conflict. Stalwart riders know climbing builds and descending thrills, but who can blame workers trying to earn livings for choosing perceived convenience? One can’t just grovel in fear and hide at home.

There are hundreds of videos on Youtube showing mtb’ers going where no car could ever go, often downhill catching big air. Others present relevant songs.

By London indie rock band Bombay Bicycle Club, The Hill wants to rewind the clock and seal Pandora’s Box...
And, alright, let's go outside, / And rise, rise, rise to the meaning of life. And we're trying but we're all falling out. I want to go back to old times.

Comedian Benny Hill slyly reports on cycle sports...

By Avenger’s composer and Madison native Joel McNeely, Bicycle Ride scores final credits of TV series Dark Angel starring Jessica Alba as a bike messenger. Many miles later, she looks fabulous in that Fantastic Four skin suit. Surprised she hasn’t yet cameoed on The Big Bang Theory having rubbed elbows with Marvel obsessed cast at MTV Movie and People’s Choice Award Shows, though her name was mentioned.

By Noah Drew, This Hill Again describes a notorious night commute after happy hour.

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