Thursday, April 24, 2008

You'll never ride it, pt. 2: G-CANS





For the second installment of You'll Never Ride It, we have the Tokyo G-CANS project, an immense network of tunnels "for preventing overflow of the major rivers and waterways spidering the city." The tunnels were blogged to death a couple years ago, but never mentioned with reference to bmx or skateboarding, so I'll go ahead and throw up the standard set of rehashed images.































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My dad was talking about Dogs and Demons (I haven't read it (yet)). The book basically predicts Japan's economic and environmental collapse, due to an obsession with exactly this kind of ridiculous public works project. Terrible, but I just can't help getting a little teary-eyed when I think of all the amazing concrete wonders, never to be glimpsed by a skater or bike rider.

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Land Rover used the location to shoot a tv commercial, which is a cool idea but pretty weakly executed. The YouTube:



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Here's another quick G-Cans movie. Video helps give context to all the familiar images; and the audio really completes a sense of atmosphere.

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Tours available in Japanese: "Feel the grandeur of the Metropolitan Area Outer Underground Discharge Tunnel."

Feel the grandeur!

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And, while you and I will never bike the tunnels, some people (admittedly) do. Heck of a commute.

Friday, April 11, 2008

You'll never ride it (and neither will I).




These massive concrete structures are "acoustic mirrors", built in the first quarter of last century along Southeast UK coastlines. By gathering sound and focusing it at a microphone, the dishes gave the Brits an early warning of approaching enemy aircraft, simply by listening.

But faster and faster planes diminished the mirrors' usefulness, and the advent of radar in the 1930's rendered the technology officially obsolete.

There are a dozen or so mirror sites smattered along the coast, but the most impressive specimens, pictured above, stand today in a defunct quarry, surrounded by a moat, at an old military base. A drawbridge provides access for tourists.

Type "acoustic mirror" into Google Earth, and you'll find them.

Hilarious as I think it would be, trying to session these post-modern, post-apocalyptic monoliths with my little bicycle, that's really a minor component of my attraction to them. I just hope they remain standing for a while, and that I can go and have my picture taken with them.


















Read more about them and see lots more pictures here, here, here, and here.

The world is incredible.