Photo of the ticket, and the bike in question, courtesy of Leanne Eisen.
When photographic artist Leanne Eisen left the Scotiabank Theatre on Monday following a screening of Ponyo, she was surprised to find this piece of blue paper wrapped around the handlebars of her vintage bicycle. At first, she only saw the words, “Your bicycle has been ticketed because…”
Instead of an official citation issued for some sort of parking infraction, however, what she found on the ticket were charming compliments from an anonymous flâneur, who declared the chassis “badass” and “unique.”
And it is! Eisen’s ride is a classic Dutch Batavus city bike inherited from her grandmother, which she says constantly attracts attention from complete strangers who shout out comments as she rides past. “It’s not just the appearance of the bike that pleases me so much,” she told us, “it’s just a really comfortable ride. I can sit with my back straight and take in my surroundings.”
Eisen is so protective of the bicycle that she employs two U-locks through the frame, an O-lock on the rear wheel, and a cable lock through the front, with her boyfriend’s decrepit beater often also secured with a heavy-duty chain to one side. “I know it’s overkill,” she says, “but I can’t afford to buy a new one, and it’s all I have left from my Oma.”
The mysterious ticket was particularly delightful to Eisen because cycling is a very serious part of her life, and it’s featured prominently in her artistic work. She also tells us that this is not the first time she’s discovered odd little anonymous messages.
Leaving notes on other people’s property can sometimes be an act of passive-aggression, and with frequent animus (sometimes deserved) aimed at cyclists in Toronto, it’s nice to see someone issuing some unsolicited esteem for the simple velocipede. “I love this kind of positive public outreach,” Eisen declares. “It’s lovely.”