Once in a Lifetime Encounter in Austin

8

by Jason Swihart on Mar 14, 2007 at 10:32 PM

Today, on my last day in Austin, TX for SxSW, my friend Jennifer and I were exiting a hotel courtyard on South Congress to make our way back to the Convention Center. Just as we stepped into the misty air out in the sidewalk, a helmeted cyclist rode by on the street, his sharp features and lean physique instantly recognizable. Agog, we exclaimed in near unison:

“Holy crap, that was David Byrne!”

We stood gaping as he maneuvered his bicycle tentatively across the lanes of oncoming traffic and into the center turn lane of the five-lane street. He was evidently trying to get himself onto the other side of Congress in order to ride with traffic.

Watching him negotiate with a blue pickup truck for the center lane, aggressive traffic on all sides of him, one of us spoke the words we both were thinking: “I really hope David Byrne doesn’t get hit.”

For a fan of Talking Heads and David Byrne since elementary school, coming so close to the man was an incomparable thrill and I stood with Jen on the spot until he had ridden out of sight. But afterward, having walked toward downtown Austin for about a half mile, who should appear but the same gangly figure–now riding on the sidewalk toward us.

Perched bolt upright atop a touring bike, wearing a navy-blue suit, an inexpensive backpack, and what could have been a rental helmet, David Byrne looked like a tourist from some imagined past–or possibly Utah. He rode by, I said “Hi, David” and he reciprocated pleasantries.

Who knew that David Byrne is a committed cyclist but a little Googling indicates he travels with a folding Montague (not what we saw him on) and can be seen tooling around the streets of New York or with helmet in hand.

Cross-posted to Textura Design.

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Comments: 8

Possibly the best post ever! When I saw David Byrne in Seattle a few years ago, I saw a bike trailer attached to his tour trailer and a bike and had heard he cycles everywhere.

Cool story. Isn’t biking across the bridge on Congress into downtown so much fun?

I’ve ridden that. In fact, riding in Austin last year, the Byron’s [Little Lamb story](http://texturadesign.com/2006/03/another_fine_day_for_riding.htm) is what inspired Bike Hugger. . .

The Lamb story is cool.

My Austin riding experiences: day 1 and day 2.

David’s blog is very cool - http://journal.davidbyrne.com/.  Every once in a while a post will include something like ‘we rode over to so-and-so gallery to see…’ meaning rode his bike.

If you want to see David Byrne riding, check out our website which features a ride with him and Enrique Penalosa…

http://www.streetfilms.org/archives/ta-rides-with-penalosa-david-byrne/

Along with plenty of other bicycling videos!

Clarence
http://www.streetfilms.org

Thanks Clarence—remarkable right when your comment came in, iTunes shuffled to Byrne’s Miss America

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