Archive for May, 2010
Another random image made on my back porch. Like this picture also from my porch (or this Christmas Day image), it really has nothing to do with bicycles — just an interesting photograph I thought I’d share.
The above image was made with my new (used) camera: a Fuji S5. The lens is a Nikon 18-55mm picked up for $25 on craigslist. The autofocus motor on the lens is broken (which is why it was so cheap), but I like it because it forces me to slow down and focus the lens by hand.
Another bicycle commuting video I enjoyed. It’s a 12km daily commute through an urban and, what looks like, a semi-rural Japanese landscape.
What’s the nature of your commute? Have a look at this poll.
I believe this fellow is actually quite mad. Check out his website 14degrees.org. He holds the Guinness long distance skateboarding record, traveling over 12,000km across Europe, N. America, and China (Here’s some video highlights).
I’ve recently started a short bicycle commute (the last few videos reflect this interest) and this makes me wonder how others get to their jobs.
Long overdue, this is Part II of my ride report.
The broad outlines of this ride came to me as I looked at the location of my friends’ house on a map. This would be a circumnavigation, via two major urban bridges, of the Carquinez strait — a watery narrows that California’s two mighty rivers, the Sacramento and San Joaquin, must pass through before emptying into the San Pablo and San Francisco Bays.
Port Costa — surrounded by rolling green hills — was the perfect launching point for such a ride.
Miles 0-10: From Port Costa to Martinez bicyclists can use the old highway, which is closed to car traffic. I passed the occasional hiker and was treated to rolling hills, scenic views of the water and the old rail road tracks, and a final, satisfying descent into the town of Martinez. I breezed in feeling energized and thus decided to go looking for the John Muir historic monument rather than sticking to the course I had initially set. (Read about that side trip here).
Miles 11-20: The second third of the trip took me from downtown Martinez across the Benicia Bridge to Southampton Bay and the Benicia state recreation area. This was easy, pleasant riding never too far from the shoreline. I rode past past marinas filled with expensive yachts and late Sunday afternoon picnic goers. I stopped frequently to make photographs and found my way using a variety of bike paths and shared roads. I was never entirely sure if I was on my planned route, but I wasn’t too concerned as “Bike Route” signs were plentiful and all roads seemed to propel me toward the state park.
Miles 21-30: During the last third of the trip, after leaving Benicia state park, the route finding and bicycle riding became more difficult. The bike lane ended and I had to navigate a number of challenges:
- first was a curving, shoulder-less off-ramp leading up to Columbus Parkway and a narrow two-way bridge near the intersection with I-780.
- route finding became more difficult since I screwed up my Google bicycling directions by accidentally printing a mirror image of the route (starting at point B going to A, rather than A to B). As a result, I had to read the directions backwards (from the bottom of the page up) and calculate whether left and right turns were also reversed. It was a mess.
- a critical street sign was missing and as I pedaled up what seemed the biggest incline of the trip I was unsure if was even on the correct road (later I confirmed I was on Benicia Rd.).
- in order to find the approach to the bike/ped path of the Carquinez Bridge I had to cross three major interstates (I-780 2 times and I-80 once) and pedal through a few gritty urban neighborhoods (riding in normal street clothes, rather then a skintight lycra outfit, never felt more right).
- since I began my journey after 4:30pm the onset of darkness was a real issue (I don’t have a lighting system on this bike).
So, I pedaled hard the last 6-7 miles, crossed the Carquinez Bridge as the sun dropped below the horizon, and managed to arrive back in Port Costa just after 8pm.
My friends had taken a twilight stroll and were not yet home. I was a little tired and rather hungry (since I didn’t eat anything on route), but took solace in the satisfaction of having just circumnavigated the Carquinez Strait.
A quiet, relaxed, exhaust-free commute, and no signs of stress or road rage on the streets of Utrecht (The Netherlands).
- Take home message: The importance of quality bike paths cannot be underestimated.
NOTE: I find the Dutch language inscrutable. For instance here’s the proper pronunciation of Utrecht (listen).
Part 1 of my ride report was published awhile back. Stay tuned for Part II and the last of the photos from this scenic loop ride.
* Remember you can always click the Show on map under the photo to view the location on a map.
The photo caption says it all.
I don’t know much about these except that they are often called ice plants, which is a bit of a misnomer since they’re quite hardy and thrive in full sunshine.
Most likely these are a pesky invasive species. Nonetheless, they’re often growing en masse along California highways. The flowers’ vivid color is impressive when in full bloom.
Over the week-end the city painted all the bike lanes on Market Street (the same street featured in the 1906 historical film posted here a few days ago).
Much better than mere road stencils, these green colored lanes offer a bold and unmistakable visual cue to drivers that bicycles have a place on the street too.
I’m hoping these colored bike lanes are game-changers — a Caesar-crossing-the-Rubicon, no going back moment in the continuing evolution of the bicycle’s acceptance as a mainstream form of transportation.
The Ebisu‘s rear basket is loaded with supplies (grapefruit, rustic cantaloupe, and goat’s milk yogurt) to add to a Mother’s Day brunch held at my brother’s house.
The basket is made by Wald and it’s attached to the rear rack with plastic zip-ties. I usually anchor the corners and then add a few more ties until it can’t move or slide the slightest bit. For a clean look snip off the zip ties close to the rack. (Here, I was too lazy and left the excess.)
Btw, look how practical the bike in the top photo is. Step-through frame. Large front basket. Wide tires. Rear Rack. Built-in kick-stand. Comfortable handlebar position.
A hundred years ago, we had an abundance of transit options with high multi-modal connectivity: streetcars and trolleys running continuously (no waiting for a bus to arrive); automobiles; bicycles; ferries plying the bay; railroads; even climate-friendly horse-drawn carriages.
If you have seven minutes to spare watch the whole video; it’s rather amazing and with the soundtrack quite mesmerizing (click on the button with all the arrows to fill the screen).
Among other things, look for the progenitors of today’s fixed-gear riding San Francisco hipsters (at the 1:05 mark) and horses galloping and trotting down Market Street (at the 3:25 and 4:05 marks).
Among urban planners:
- Class I is a completely separate bicycle/pedestrian path or roadway (like you see all over Holland).
- Class II is when there’s a separate lane for bicycles (like in this photo).
- Class III is just a shared road, maybe with some road markers here and there.