Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The Art of Cycling: Pat Cleary

No other sport compares to the visual spectacle of bicycle racing.

I first saw this painting in a racing magazine back in the '80s. It featured artist Pat Cleary, known for painting local landscapes in his backyard of the Lake District in England. He also happened to have a passion for cycling.

Among Mr. Cleary's works are paintings of the classic races, including Paris-Roubaix and Liege-Bastogne-Liege. But his primary focus has been on the Tour De France. In 2003, Mr. Cleary celebrated the Tour's centenary with four images, each one in honor of a specific era. The likes of Eddy Merckx, Fausto Coppi, and Bernard Hinault have all been subjects of his paintings.

Most people who don't understand the appeal of bike racing don't see what the true fans see: the energy of the crowds lining the streets for a brief glimpse the riders, the chance to pick-up a souvenir water bottle strewn to the side of the road, or cheering on the peloton merely inches away.

Or in Mr. Cleary's view, a beautifully captured moment, forever eternalized into your memory.

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