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Bicycle Riding All My Life

I have ridden bicycles all my life. Once I got training wheels off, I was riding my bike to and from Grammar school, through middle school, high school, and even college. My first summer in France, as a teenager I took a bike tour through the Loire Valley. When I lived in Paris my third year of art school, in the 18th arroundisement, I rode a small fold up bike, given to me by a famous artist, to and from my schools an hour bike ride away. It was a pleasure to arrive at my classes with all my art supplies aboard.

I rode the same gold Phillips girls bike with baskets, I was given for my 9th birthday the summers I spent on Martha’s Vineyard all through my college years. When I moved to Palm Beach, in the 1980s, I brought that same bicycle with me. When it was stolen from my small apartment courtyard, I created signs, which I posted around Palm Beach. I called the police. My wealthy patron, best friend, who before becoming a millionaire, grew up in Brooklyn, was shocked to learn that two officers showed up to file a report of a stolen bike. The following day she surprised me with a brand new bicycle. A reporter from The Miami Herald saw my sign and wrote a local front page human interest story about my stolen bicycle.

Bicycling is a big part of my life. In Lake Worth I have been one of the original and most long standing members of The Lake Worth Peddlars. I participated in most all parades with my little Chihuahua Ivan riding in my basket leading the way in Christmas Parade, St. Paddie Day, Veterans Day. It is one of my favorite modes of transportation (along with my scooter).

The closeness to nature, slowing down my method transportation, the ability to stop and take note of my surroundings contributes to that joy of riding my trusty steed. There is a freedom and independence that I enjoy on my bicycle that can only be experienced.

It was the theft of my last bicycle during the pandemic that inspired me to create “Historic Bike Tours of Lake Worth, Florida”. I have been active in historic preservation my entire life. As a young person I was appointed to The Historic Preservation Board of my hometown Newton, Massachusetts, and the building I was involved in saving from destruction became the first subject of “This Old House” on PBS. (1979) My passion for historic preservation has inspired me to start these tours.

My love for Lake Worth, and preserving this pristine 20th century south Florida beach town with a variety of 20th century vernacular styles has inspired me to share this love with these historic bicycle tours of the place I call home. I have memorialized many of our local structures through the creation of art works: my iconic “House Portraits”. These tours will highlight many of the buildings I have depicted in my paintings.   Prints of these works of art will also be made available to patrons.

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House Portraits by Jill Karlin     Whimsical building histories, painted in a classical American naïve style, “House Portraits” are mixed media paintings

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