Sunday, February 7, 2010

Behind the Banana Seat !

 At the time Steve was one of the original NYC Track Star.........FiXiEs! Young ,Fast and Fearless on the road.We meet back in the 70's Steve rode for Mobile Messengers while I rode for Can Carriers! We became very good friends.We rode together for years at Prometheus Messengers and then later on at my company Born To Run Couriers. He had some success as an artist and was able to finally stop thundering through NYC streets with everyone's packages!
Steve gave me a couple of great paintings as gifts that I just love! We stayed in touch all these years.I thought he might like the idea of me putting his work involving bicycles up on my blog !
He and his wife still use their bicycles as they're main form of Urban Mobility!

Here's our little update
When did you start riding bicycles?
 I have been riding since I  first realized my grandfather  was only pretending to hold my bicycle seat as he ran along side me . He then stopped running  and I was up on two wheels .  It was pre kindergarden so I must have been four or five. 

Do you still ride?

 O YES !

How many bikes do you have?
 I own two, but I really only use one.I keep my old fixed wheel track bike.   It is so beautiful in its simplicity . It  reminds me of when I was a young  hot shot messenger in the seventies and eighties . I occasionally get on it if only to balance poised as if waiting for the light to change . 

What kind of cyclist do you consider yourself - (Urban Warrior)?
I have been known to be an Urban Warrior in my day   .  Throwing down the gauntlet  to the thoughtless driver  . Taking the occasional rearview mirror  as a trophy  . But after a number of " incidents " I  realized I was insane . I could get killed,..  Thus began my zen period of riding . I imagine myself at rush hour on the friday before christmas seen from above riding down fifth avenue  .  Flowing in between cars , trucks,  pedestrians ,men pushing  carts. I change from a bicycle rider to a stick floating down a stream rushing water flowing past rocks , speeding, slowing  with the current. Not getting stopped by the rocks or challenging them for being rocks . Just going with  the flow  .  Arriving  in one piece.  

Where's your favorite place to ride? 

 When traveling  by bicycle,  it' always  the journey not the destination . 
 I suppose I should copyright that . 
 I do  love the west side bike lanes

What do you get out of riding ?
Transportation , exercise, discovery , a clarity of mind.  

What do you think of the urban cycling resurgence  !
The resurgence has made travel in the city much safer and given bikers a place of respect in the transportation pecking order .

Why do you think you Love Riding SOOOOOOOOOOOOO much!
I never regret  " going by bike" I always feel exhilarated when  arrive.
I still get a sense of accomplishment especially  on snow days . 
 It always makes me feel better. 

How long have we known each other?
 1975?  could it be thirty four years ? 

Where did we meet?
 We were both messengers.We saw each other on the streets for months . This was back in the day when messengers did film delivery, four or five heavy reels in cans, Hence  the name Can carriers  picked up at an editors place going way west  Movie lab.  You had just gotten a really cool alloy bike that could be put together with an allen wrench  and I, a new track bike .  We were outside Conrad's bike shop on east fifty something street.
 Be both remarked  on our madness for having such nice bikes to work on . We quickly justified it by  proclaiming  the amount of time we each  spent in the saddle. 
Does your cycling influence your art?
At times it has allowed me the  financial freedom and again , a clarity of mind to continue to practice my craft of painting  . 
You know you gave me a great gift that will last for my whole life!


What inspired you to paint that  portrait of me with my Bicycle?
I was studying the figure in art school. I thought paintings of messengers would make a great series of paintings. 

 What's the date on it? 

Another great gift from you is the Orange Stingray

Whats the story Behind the Banana Seat?
Banana Seat

I like the idea of turning  certain objects into Icons .
The stingray bicycle is an American Icon.
You realize you can place the painting  on an alter , light candles and pray to the god's of the crank shaft .
 What was it like to be a cycling artist, there were so many back than?
Sounds like some kind of circus performer How long in life do you intend to ride that thing?
As long as possible !!!! I am thinking about getting a trike when I really get old .

To see more of Steven Skollars work go to

Friday Steve ,Michelle and Me
5 Boro Bike Tour
That,s his favorite bike on his right,
That's a Born to Run tee shirt he,s wearing as you can see half the logo is showing!

So much fun talking to you, Hope to see you soon....stay well and have a Great Ride!

On your LEFT!

Scroll down to see art by Hamlet Zurita

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