The Friday Cyclotouriste

a geo-photoblog chronicling my "excursions velo"

Archive for February, 2010

On the Road……Azalea Hill (EL 1,217′)

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Azalea-Hill

Atop Azalea Hill

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There’s a lot of cloud cover, but the East Bay is just visible on the far horizon. Mt. Tamalpais is the third peak from the right with Bon Tempe Lake right below.

(I combined five images to capture the whole panorama. Here’s my favorite example of this technique: Nicasio reservoir.)

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February 27th, 2010 at 12:26 pm

On the Road……Azalea Hill pass (EL 1,080′)

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The making of this photo:  (1) place camera directly on road (2) set the 10 second timer (3) grab bike (4) run into the frame and hope to hit a good mark to optimize composition and hope for no cars (5) wait for shutter to fire — still hoping for no cars to come up from behind (6) get the camera and myself off the road as quickly as possible.

I tried this twice (this was the first). It worked just as I had hoped!

Below Azalea Hill

Azalea Hill pass

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This is an important spot  — the intersection of Bolinas-Fairfax and Pine Mountain (fire) roads. Mountain bikers and hikers will often drive here to start at the trail head; road bicyclists will often rest and take water here.

By all means, make the short 10 minute hike from this pass to the top of Azalea Hill (EL 1,217′). You’ll be rewarded with a 360 degree vista including a great view of Mt. Tamalpais and Bon Tempe lake and sight lines extending across the bay to the Campanile on the UC Berkeley campus and continuing on to Mt. Diablo.

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February 25th, 2010 at 7:40 pm

Gear Gallery……Designer Bikes

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These bikes come from an urban design house in NYC — Areaware. The folding ifmode is quite elegant (and it’s not a small-wheeler either; it’s a full-sized bike). The Vanmoof uses solar energy for its lighting. As I said before: it truly is a golden age of cycling!

transport

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February 22nd, 2010 at 6:19 pm

On the Road……Suburbia

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February 21st, 2010 at 2:18 pm

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On the Road……Suburbia

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The Suburbs #2

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The Suburbs #3

The Suburbs #4

After reading the first few chapters of David Byrnes’s Bicycle Diaries, I’ve become hyper-aware of the aesthetics of the local suburban landscape. Byrne writes about the underlying paradox of this landscape in the book:

My generation makes fun of the suburbs and the shopping malls, the TV commercials and the sitcoms we grew up with — but they’re part of us too. So our ironic view is leavened with something like love…These suburbs, where so many of us spent our formative years, still push emotional buttons for us; they’re both attractive and deeply disturbing.

I also enjoyed this bit from the Talking Heads co-founder on the joys he experienced after switching to a bicycle as his main mode of transportation around New York City:

As I got a little older I also may have thought that cycling was a convenient way to get exercise, but at first I wasn’t thinking of that. It just felt good to cruise down the dirty potholed streets. It was exhilarating. That same sense of liberation I experienced in New York recurred as I pedaled around many of the world’s principal cities. I felt more connected to life on the streets than I would have in a car or in some form of public transit: I could stop whenever I wanted to; it was often (very often) faster than a car or taxi for getting from point A to point B; and I didn’t have to follow any set route. The same exhilaration, as the air and street life whizzed by, happened again in each town. It was, for me, addictive.

I had a similar epiphany when I starting riding my bicycle again after a long lay-off as a graduate student in Berkeley.


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February 21st, 2010 at 2:17 pm

On the Road……Farmer’s Market loop

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February 20th, 2010 at 8:14 pm

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Espresso Review……Marin Coffee Roasters, San Anselmo

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espresso

Marin Coffee Roasters

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Marin Coffee Roasters is an ideal place for a shot of espresso. There’s sunny, outdoor sidewalk seating and it’s on a major bike path connecting San Francisco to West Marin (click here for a jpeg of a bicycle path map courtesy of the MCBC site).

I broke my month-long coffee fast here which may have skewed my perceptions, but I rank this as one of the best espressos I’ve had in Marin.

I’m a little surprised because my understanding is the owner doesn’t roast on site, but rather receives his beans from the 25lb. San Franciscan roaster at the Fairfax Roastery. Read the rest of this entry »

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February 17th, 2010 at 10:44 pm

On the Road……Frank Lloyd Wright’s Marin County Civic Center

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Here’s a link (and video) with some of the back story of Frank Lloyd Wright‘s awesome building.

Did you know scenes from Gattaca were filmed here, as were scenes from THX-1138 — Marin resident George Lucas’ pre-Star Wars, pre-American Graffiti film?

  • If you’ve heard of either of these cult sci-fi films, especially THX-1138, it’s time to face the facts. Ready? Let’s say it together: You are a nerd!
  • And if by chance you’ve heard of both Gattaca and THX-1138, I can confidently predict you also know a few things about D&D.

Btw, the Civic Center has a farmer’s market every Thursday and Sunday year-round.

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February 14th, 2010 at 2:07 pm

On the Road……Civic Center Farmer’s Market

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February 14th, 2010 at 12:51 pm

On the Road……Super Bowl Sunday

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The view from the the top of the secret (or not-so-secret) bike path connecting San Rafael to San Anselmo that I mentioned here. From the San Rafael side, the path connects with Fawn Drive in San Anselmo.

I’m returning from the farmer’s market and the Ebisu’s rear rack is filled with leeks, carrots, and onions; the front bag with a dozen eggs, a head of cabbage, a turnip, and a shallot.

Oh yeah, congratulations to the Super Bowl champions — the New Orleans Saints!

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February 8th, 2010 at 4:01 pm

On the Road……San Anselmo

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February 6th, 2010 at 10:46 pm

Biking Culture……Folding Bikes

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Since a trip to Seattle last fall, folding bikes have been on my radar. I made a silent vow that my next bike, whenever it comes, will fold-up for bus and ferry connections and general urban mobility.

This video got me excited about the Brompton:

Then I heard great things about the Bike Friday Tikit. And now, the latest bike on my radar is the Dahon Mu Uno. It’s The Old Man and the Sea of folding bicycles — a minimalist masterpiece.  No gears. No cables. Back-pedal brakes.

I first read about it on design guru, Rob Forbes’ site, Studio Forbes. Here’s how to fold it:

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February 4th, 2010 at 10:56 pm

Biking Culture……Ecovelo Photo Contest

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The image on the left (click the thumbnail to embiggen) received an honorable mention last December in Ecovelo’s ‘end of summer’ photo contest. As a prize, I was sent a rather flamboyant wind breaker that I’m slowly gaining appreciation for, especially the heraldry — sable, a griffin rampant — on the sleeve. Thanks Ecovelo!

All the posts from that long day trip down the coast to Santa Cruz are compiled here (or by selecting the destination from the category drop down menu in the right margin).

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February 3rd, 2010 at 10:25 pm

On the Road……Cataract Mushroom Gallery

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Last week, instead of biking I went for a rainy day hike up the Cataract Trail to Laurel Dell. Lots of mushrooms, but not a Chanterelle to be found :(

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February 2nd, 2010 at 4:57 pm

On the Road…Laurel Dell snack

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Persimmon bread and — for a change — some tea!

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February 2nd, 2010 at 4:56 pm

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Route Map……Cataract to Laurel Dell

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If you’re cycling up to Mt. Tam or over the ridge and you want to get off, stretch your legs, and hike, this is a nice side trip. The trail follows a steep canyon with waterfalls, all the way up to Laurel Dell and beyond (potentially to the summit of Mt. Tam).

Elevation Profile

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February 2nd, 2010 at 4:56 pm

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On the Road……Cataract to Laurel Dell

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Let’s pack up and take off and dig Laurel Dell camp. Then we’ll hike over the trails down to the sea and swim.

That’s Japhy Ryder from the Jack Kerouac novel, Dharma Bums. Kerouac based the Japhy character on my personal hero, poet Gary Snyder. Kerouac’s narrator continues below with some local references to areas around Mt. Tam. He takes some poetic license with his description of the landscape and the distinction between Laurel Dell and Portrero Meadows, but still, how cool to have these places I know so well immortalized in a Jack Kerouac novel:

We arrived at Laurel Dell camp at about ten, it was also supplied with stone fireplaces with grates, and picnic table, but the surroundings were infinitely more beautiful than Portrero Meadows. Here were the real meadows: dreamy beauties with soft grass sloping all around, fringed by heavy deep green timber, the whole scene of waving grass and brooks and nothing in sight.

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February 2nd, 2010 at 4:54 pm

On the Road……Cataract to Laurel Dell

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February 2nd, 2010 at 4:54 pm