|TPF Boundary Layer Disruptors deployed under the top tube|
I tied a string of Tibetan Prayer Flags beneath the top tube of my commuter bicycle, Yasuko. What I gleaned from the linked article on Wikipedia is that these are lung ta flags because they are horizontal. "lung ta", the article states, is Tibetan for "wind horse". The colors are supposed to be hung in this order, and stand for the elements and the Five Pure Lights. Surrounding the horses pictures on the flags are mantras. The section of the article titled "Symbolism and Tradition" was most interesting to me for the purposes of tying them onto my bicycle, but in case you are disinclined to click the link, or perhaps philosophically opposed to Wikipedia, I will cut to the chase and quote one relevant section: "By hanging flags in high places the "Wind Horse" will carry the blessings depicted on the flags to all beings. As wind passes over the surface of the flags which are sensitive to the slightest movement of the wind, the air is purified and sanctified by the Mantras."
To be frank, I'm not very confident that something like that, specifically, happens in practice, nor do I think there's a way to discern if it does, or doesn't. However, I am certainly in line with the intent of that. I can get behind the idea of wishing to propagate "peace, compassion, strength, and wisdom," and if flying some Tibetan prayer flags on my bicycle lets one or two people know that is my wish, maybe some good can come of it. Paradoxically, maybe it actually can happen, since it is straightforward enough to imagine that someone who understands the symbolism of the prayer flags flapping in the wind created by the forward progress of my commuter bicycle through the warm desert air may be inclined toward those mental states or practices through the experience. The idea isn't that the flags cause gold coins to drop out of the air, or that they alter the rotation of the planet, it is that by flying them you transmit the message promoting peace, compassion, strength, and wisdom. Which on second thought may be possible to do. If you accept a kind of metaphorical interpretation of "pure air" then, referring to an atmosphere of promoting these grand concepts, and impure air the opposite, then that also seems possible to me. Or at least, a very happy thought. Which I can always use more of.
|Me promoting peace, purifying the air around the Soleri Bridge and Plaza this morning, seeking happy.|
They flap around a lot less than you might think. In practice, the flags seem to find positions of aerodynamic equilibrium to hang out in, and then make happy little pinging sounds when they bump against the tube when I turn, or when the wind changes, or my speed alters. Not sure where they would fall on the Aerodynamic Drag Chart for Human Powered Mobility, however. More road testing required.
Peace! Wisdom! Compassion! Strength! ping ping ping. Get up. Go ride.