The Friday Cyclotouriste

a geo-photoblog chronicling my "excursions velo"

Archive for December, 2010

On the Road……Sutro Baths, Cliff House: San Francisco

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Here are a few more of my photos from outings for the National Park Service/GGNRA.

Above, the cyclist is making his way up the hill just past the Cliff House. Beyond the picket fence is a steep cliff dropping off to the Sutro Baths ruins.


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December 19th, 2010 at 11:01 pm

On the Road……Marin Headlands, New Road Construction

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Conzelman Road begins at the north end of the Golden Gate Bridge and heads west to the Pt. Bonita Lighthouse. There’s been lots of construction work recently: new parking areas, roundabouts, and road widening (see how the cliff face has been cutback from the road).

I made the above image on a recent outing for the National Park Service and thank them for permitting me to post it here (photo courtesy NPS).

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December 17th, 2010 at 3:07 pm

Biking Culture……Does a Heavy Bike Slow your Commute???

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A heavy (but not cheap) dutch-style commuting bike

A heavy (but not cheap) dutch-style commuting bike

There’s an interesting article in the British Medical Journal on bicycle weight and commuting time. In summary, it was found that riding a much heavier bike, over a regular, 27-mile commute, did NOT affect overall commuting time. (The article abstract is reprinted below.)

While the Dutch seem to have discovered this on their own my impression is that Americans still tend to commute on lightweight racing-style bikes. This causes us to pedal with great exertion and wear funny shoes and clothes, with little choice but to shower and change at the office.

That is, the USA is still a country where bicycling is viewed mostly as recreation or exercise — not transportation.


Objective To determine whether the author’s 20.9 lb (9.5 kg) carbon frame bicycle reduced commuting time compared with his 29.75 lb (13.5 kg) steel frame bicycle.

Design Randomised trial.

Setting Sheffield and Chesterfield, United Kingdom, between mid-January 2010 and mid-July 2010.

Participants One consultant in anaesthesia and intensive care.

Main outcome measure Total time to complete the 27 mile (43.5 kilometre) journey from Sheffield to Chesterfield Royal Hospital and back.

Results The total distance travelled on the steel frame bicycle during the study period was 809 miles (1302 km) and on the carbon frame bicycle was 711 miles (1144 km). The difference in the mean journey time between the steel and carbon bicycles was 00:00:32 (hr:min:sec; 95% CI –00:03:34 to 00:02:30; P=0.72).

Conclusions A lighter bicycle did not lead to a detectable difference in commuting time. Cyclists may find it more cost effective to reduce their own weight rather than to purchase a lighter bicycle. [Emphasis added]

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December 12th, 2010 at 6:13 pm


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Biking Culture……The Human Element: Walking versus Biking

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Crow Planet: Essential Wisdom from the Urban Wilderness             by Lyanda Lynn Haupt

Crow Planet: Essential Wisdom from the Urban Wilderness by Lyanda Lynn Haupt

I’ve extolled the virtues of bicycling as an ideal form of locomotion on these pages before, for example:

“The bike is a wonderful machine: it lets you explore more terrain than you can on foot on a given day, yet it is still a humane technology connecting your body and senses to nature in ways not really possible with an automobile (from Velosophy).”

“…for me riding a bike is good mindfulness practice: It helps me to regain peace of mind after a hard day and helps me to observe my everyday world with a somewhat greater sense of clarity (from this post).”

However, this passage from a book I just finished, Crow Planet: Essential Wisdom from the Urban Wilderness by Lyanda Lynn Haupt, makes a very strong case for walking:

Walking is the pace that we were born to. It is the pace at which our eyes focus, our thoughts can keep up, and our bodies can feel evolved and grounded and whole. Walking we are on an axis about which we can turn to look, or bend to see, or squat to pick up. Walking, we feel knowing and self-reliant, inhabitants of our own bodies, and in cahoots with the bodies of others.

She also uses excerpts from Thoreau’s Walking to bolster her argument.

Thoreau is hard to argue with and I’ll admit walking has its charms.

In fact, one of my favorite tools is Walk Score — which ranks places to live on a scale of 1 to 100 in terms of how walkable they are (e.g. proximity to grocery stores, libraries, post offices, cafes, etc.).

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December 11th, 2010 at 11:12 pm


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On the Road……Trees of Fort Mason II: the Norfolk Pine

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norfolk-pineThis is a Conifer species that was new to me, the so called Norfolk Island Pine (Araucaria heterophylla) which is endemic to a small eponomously named island in the South Pacific. Norfolk Island looks like quite a vernal landscape with low temperatures rarely below 50 degrees F (and high temperatures rising to only about 80 degrees F), which may explain why this specimen appears to be doing quite well in San Francisco.

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December 10th, 2010 at 8:20 pm

On the Road……Trees of Fort Mason, San Francisco: Monterey Pine

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Grand old Monterey Pine (Pinus radiata) with Alcatraz visible in the background.


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December 8th, 2010 at 5:42 pm

On the Road……Fort Mason, San Francisco

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I’ve recently begun some volunteer photography for the National Park Service in the GGNRA and therefore have been spending time around Fort Mason.

I’ve fallen in love with some of the trees scattered around this historic military base. I will post a few pictures soon.

Meantime, here’s a picture of a cyclist cutting through Fort Mason, probably on her way toward the Marina neighborhood.

Note: that’s a Metlife blimp slipping behind the chapel’s bell tower in the image above.

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December 7th, 2010 at 6:23 pm

Gear Gallery……Pedals for all Occasions

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I still prefer toe-clips and leather straps for long, somewhat fast rides, but these MKS touring pedals are my favorite choice for everything else. As a consequence, I end up swapping pedals from bike to bike.

Below are pedals currently in my mix (clockwise from top left): Campagnola (super record?); MKS royal noveau; MKS sylvan touring; and MKS 3000 rubber block pedals.


A collection of Campagnola and MKS Pedals

The rubber block pedals are a new purchase (for my Nishiki city bike). I went to 4-5 bike shops (including a local bicycle recyclery) and none had this simple design so I ordered them from the Velo-Orange store.

Also, the 13″ long wrench (an ELDI no. 61 available from Rivendell) is a worthwhile investment if you swap pedals frequently.

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December 2nd, 2010 at 7:06 pm


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