"I was a messenger in San Francisco for a couple of years, in the '90's. There was a delivery I made once, to the Westin St. Francis, and as I was parking my bike, locking it to a parking meter or whatever, one of the doormen came up to me. He was dressed in this pretty wacky Renaissance Faire sort of outfit, and he walked up to my bike while my radio was squawking at me, said something, and made this sort of motion like he was bringing water to my thirsty horse, which he'd take care of while I ran inside. Which was a hugely goofy idea, of course, but I was kind of cosmically amused by it.
Ever since then, I've always liked to look at my bike as having a sort of character, the way I imagine riders used to relate to their horses -- which probably weren't so easy to just look at as vehicles or machines or toys or "a mode of transportation." So, to come back to all the figurative practice I'd been doing, since I started drawing and painting bikes here in Portland, I've tried to find those sorts of cues in posture and gesture, the clues to character in all the stiff, inanimate bikes that people leave locked up and leaning all over town."