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The Fish and Bicycle Pages

Exploring some (fast?) Eddies
in the stream of American culture.

compiled by John S. Allen


Button: "A Woman Without a Man is Like a Fish Without a Bicycle"The button shown here expresses a timeless sentiment.  Buttons just like this one have been made by the same company in West Orange, New Jersey, USA at least since 1982, with no end in sight. Definitive information about  the origin of the saying is posted on another page of this site.

A quick Web search on <bike AND fish AND man AND woman> turns up catalogs of "empowerment resources" on the one hand, and tirades against the feminist movement on the other -- generally rather heavy stuff.

Bicyclists give a radical feminist slogan
a different spin.

But for bicyclists, the idea of fish riding bicycles is not a complete absurdity and certainly not without humor. After all, bicyclists do get caught unprepared in wet weather. Over the years, the fish/bicycle motif has, uh, surfaced a number of times in the bicycling community, on T-shirts, bicycling jerseys, greeting cards and posters. Humorous examples have surfaced outside the bicycling community too. This site gives a few examples...

Also highly recommended: fishonabike.com, another site much like this one which delivers European fish/bike sightings including -- get this -- a Guinness TV ad!


 

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John S. Allen photo

Fish-bicycle clothing!

Click here to learn more about this elegant jersey, and several other examples!


Greg Siple's fish/bike drawings

This image graced the 1982 poster for the Tour of the Scioto River Valley, a ride with a reputation for wet weather, and  was reproduced in the book The Mighty TOSRV. Click to view the entire poster.

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TOSRVART by Greg Siple

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Adventure Cycling/
  Greg Siple

You may also view yet another fish/bicycle work by the prolific Siple, who now as Art Director of the Adventure Cycling Association.

A different perspective on evolution

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John Stegmann

It could be argued that Charles Darwin's book The Descent of Man really described an ascent. John Stegmann's evolution cartoon takes the ascent even higher, onto a highwheeler, and then mirrors it with a descent into a faired recumbent. His cartoon has been widely imitated...


Fish, bicycles and rhubarb pie
in Lake Wobegon

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PHC photo

Fish and bicycles played a pivotal role in a "News from Lake Wobegon" monolog by Garrison Keillor (left, with his daughter Mara) on the popular Prairie Home Companion radio variety show. Read an excerpt from the monolog here.

A cartoon and poem

Thanks to Irina Dunn for coining the fish/bicycle saying, and for submitting the cartoon/poem excerpted here. See why the fish (right) actually does need the bicycle.

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Poem and illustration by Leunig


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Sesame Workshop

Fish, bicycles and
Muppets

Yes, fish and bicycles
on Sesame Street!
Dorothy shares her
fish tank with a bicycle,
and
Elmo discourses on
bicycling!




 
 

 


 

Not American culture only.

This Fish is Loaded was originally published in England; fishonabike.com has many additional European examples.

tiagra130.jpg (16000 bytes) But also ... Shimano of Japan is a leading manufacturer of bicycle components -- and of fishing tackle. Check it out on the Shimano Web site. It's reely true!

  Do you know of other examples? Please write in!


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Contents 2000, 2001, John S. Allen
(except Siple drawings, by permission of Greg Siple;
evolution cartoon, by permission of John Stegmann;
greeting card, by permission of Rhode Gear;
other illustrations, fair use)