Here’s a little challenge for you: go grab a pen, a piece of paper, take a deep breath, and draw a bicycle from memory. (Here’s some thinking music, if you need it.)
Now, unless you’ve got some mad technical illustration skills, that exercise was probably a tad trickier than you thought it would be. But don’t feel too down if your attempt looks completely wack – you’re in good company.
In 2009, an Italian artist named Gianluca Gimini asked 376 people to do the same thing, and compiled the results for an art project called Velocipedia. While their sketches all look like bikes from afar, closer inspection reveals a Dalí-esque streak running through most.
Gimini also did some statistical analysis of the sketches, and discovered some interesting findings. For instance, women were more likely to mistakenly attach the chain to the front wheel, men would often over-complicate details of the bike, and 75% of all the sketches had the bike facing left. We have no idea what to make of that.
Anyway, Gianluca found the variety of interpretations so remarkable that in 2016 he decided to turn the most compelling sketches into ‘real’ bicycles, using 3D rendering software, which really highlights their strange, off-kilter beauty. Nice to look at. But definitely wear a helmet if you’re going to take them for a spin.