The Friday Cyclotouriste

a geo-photoblog chronicling my "excursions velo"

Archive for October, 2011

On the Road……Happy Halloween: Fall colors on Mt. Lemmon

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In Tucson summer is still hanging around with temperatures in the mid-to-high 80’s, but up at 8,000 feet in the Santa Catalina Mountains Autumn is in full swing.

The Aspen Loop from Marshall Gulch is alive with color this week.

Full disclosure: I didn’t bike all the way up Mt. Lemmon — I took an automobile — but there is precedent for me posting a holiday (e.g. Haloween, Xmas, Solstice) photograph, whether or not there was any riding involved. And now that the weather is cooling down, I plan to revisit the idea of bicycling to the top……really I do!




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October 31st, 2011 at 8:46 pm

On the Road……Contemplative bicycling along the Santa Cruz River

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Bicycling in Tucson has been an adjustment for me.

The biggest difference is that it takes about 60 minutes of riding to get out of town and into a more natural environment. Those 60 minutes can feel even longer as this time is usually spent traveling on very busy, automobile-dominated roadways, which I find rather stressful.

Don’t get me wrong, There are plenty of bike lanes and routes criss-crossing Tucson, but most of these routes (as mentioned above) do not inspire my style of carefree and joyous riding. It may be a surprise to some, but I’m not an ideological cyclist. I don’t fight against conditions be it weather, road surface, or personal safety just to prove that bicycling is a viable form of transit (although I respect those who do). I ride a bicycle simply because of its potential to enhance the quality of my everyday life.

In other words: I ride a bicycle out of an Epicurean desire for happiness.

Now there are always exceptions. Sometimes I ride for physical exercise. Sometimes I ride to accomplish a goal (e.g. to reach the top of the mountain, or to get from point A to point B within X amount of time). But for the most part bicycling is a way to enhance my own pleasure by drawing me closer to my surroundings and helping me feel the aliveness of my own body.

The bike paths along the Santa Cruz and Rialto Rivers are some of the exceptions — places in Tucson where carefree, contemplative riding is easy.



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October 24th, 2011 at 8:34 pm

On the Road……Dali and Vermeer @ National Gallery of Art, Wash DC

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Just outside the main entrance to the National Gallery of Art.

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It’s always worth a visit here if only to experience the museum’s four paintings by Vermeer and Salvador Dali’s “The Sacrament of the Last Supper”.

I’m not sure if it’s true, but I heard that Dali required this painting to be displayed alone, in it’s own viewing room.

The museum has honored the request to some degree, by putting it in a mezzanine, stairway-like area by itself…but I’m not sure this genuinely honors the spirit of Dalil’s wishes.


The Last Supper -- Salvador Dali

And the master of light, Vermeer, I’ve now learned used a camera obscura in his artistic process. When the reflected light of a scene was projected onto a viewing screen, the device would selectively blur certain areas (as does the human eye) and identify precise areas of bright or specular highlights (e.g. the pearl necklaces in the jewelry case below).

Vermeer probably analyzed the camera obscura results to help render his sublime paintings — thus, painting with light!

Woman Holding a Balance -- Johanne Vermeer

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October 17th, 2011 at 5:30 pm

On the Road……Capital Bikeshare @ the US Capitol – Washington, DC

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What a day for a bike ride around the National Mall.

It’s kind of a cliche, but I had to stop for the classic photo-op in front of the Capitol reflecting pool.

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October 12th, 2011 at 8:50 pm

On the Road……The Capitol and Mall with help from DC’s Bikeshare.

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The Capital Bikeshare scheme works like this:

  1. Swipe your credit card at a Bikeshare kiosk to initiate a membership (in my case a 24 hour membership at a cost of $5)
  2. Agree to 120 pages of contract terms by clicking “I agree”
  3. Collect the printed ticket (see above) and enter the code into the docking station to release the bike
  4. Return the bike to any of the 110 stations around the city (if you return the bike within 30 minutes it’s free)

Note: finding a nearby docking station is best accomplished on your smartphone with the remarkably practical Bixou App.


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October 11th, 2011 at 9:12 pm

Biking Culture……The bicycle as Objet d’Art

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Michael Embacher is a passionate bicycle enthusiast and collector. He has a very slick website that showcases his collection. He also has a new book, Cyclepedia: a century of iconic bicycle design. Here’s a blurb from the publisher, Chronicle Books:

An homage to the beauty of the bike, Cyclepedia showcases the innovations and legacies of bicycle design over the past century. Join longtime bike enthusiast and avid collector Michael Embacher for a tour of 100 bicycles, from the finest racing bikes and high-tech hybrids to the bizarrely specific (such as a bike designed to cycle on ice). Captivating photographs, detailed component lists, and anecdotal information illuminate the details that make each bicycle unique.

A brilliant concept: a bicycle disguised to look like a Vespa! This was produced by a French toy manufacturer (to capture the attention of children no doubt, but I’d buy one). See more details at the Embacher Collection.

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October 9th, 2011 at 10:29 am


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On the Road……A very verdant Washington, DC

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I just returned from a quick trip to Washington, DC. There’s been lots of rain this summer and it shows! The images below were made (with an iPhone camera) around a residential neighborhood near the Tenleytown metro station.

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The neighborhood is about 1-2 miles from American University. One of the students living across the way from my friend (who hosted me for the day) no doubt uses this good looking mixte to commute to class.

It was fun to see my friend Tom (a developer and owner of the Blue Mash Golf course) and eat at one of the best traditional Neapolitan pizza joints on the east coast (2 Amy’s).

Once again, I tried out the Capital Bikeshare program.  I had a free hour the morning before I was set to return to AZ so I did some cruising around the National Mall. I have a few images I plan to post soon.

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October 6th, 2011 at 8:52 pm


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On the Road……More of Biketoberfest 2011, Marin County, CA

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A few more pictures courtesy of my Sr. bicycling and beer correspondent. This one is of a smart looking lady astride a very rare Pedersen bicycle.

I don’t know what the heck this contraption is, but you can bet that plenty of micro brews (I’m guessing oatmeal stouts) were consumed in preparation for the voyage!

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October 2nd, 2011 at 10:22 am