Abraham Lincoln Rides a Bike to the Oscars

Funny thing about Abraham Lincoln (as others have pointed out) is that he is a magnet for the One of Us phenomenon — whether based in fact, conjecture, or only in the imaginations of those who want to claim some Abe cred for themselves.

But did you know Abraham Lincoln was a cyclist?

Daniel Day-Lewis as Lincoln Bikes to the Oscars
Anachronisms be damned | Illustration: Matthew Henry Hall

Last year about this time I was doing what I could (without completely shirking my job responsibilities) to cajole a nominee or a presenter at the Academy Awards to show up by bike. It was the second year I tried this.

My efforts got mentioned in a few mainstream publications, thanks largely to this syndicated article by Steven Rea of Philly.com.

The closest I got was when I spoke with the publicist for Zach Galafianakis. The publicist asked Zach, and Zach said no.

This year I couldn’t spare the time.

But have you seen the film Lincoln? It’s a darn good movie.

Matthew Henry Hall sent me an illustration imagining nominee Daniel Day-Lewis arriving at the ceremony dressed as Lincoln, and riding a penny farthing. (It was also Matt who illustrated my original post in 2011 appealing to celebrities to bike to the Oscars.)

It’s not that far fetched. Day-Lewis is a cyclist. He’s been quoted as saying he’d “like to make a film about cycling.

He’s one of us! He’s one of us! Told you so!

James Spader, who plays lobbyist William Bilbo in the film, is also a cyclist. During the filming of the movie on location in Richmond, Tom Bowden bumped into Spader, and the two talked bikes the way only real bike nerds can. Here is a photo of Spader’s sweet custom bike made by Ant Bicycles. Maybe he’ll bike to the Oscars on that.

I’m not counting on it.

If it’s ever going to happen, it’ll take a coordinated and sustained effort — like Spader’s portrayal of William Bilbo, who tenaciously pursued Democratic votes for the Thirteenth Amendment, using questionable and corrupt methods.

The Academy will need to be infiltrated and co-opted so that cycling arrivals on the red carpet can be facilitated. Entertainers will need to be bribed with money and fancy bikes — as they are bribed now with designer dresses and jewelery. It will have to be more than one nominee or presenter who will arrive; it will have to become the thing to do. I may even need to stop trash-talking celebrity culture.

Who is with me?



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