Archive for the ‘san francisco’ tag
I spotted this Brompton in front of the SFMOMA. The image was made near the museum’s entrance while facing 3rd Street around 5pm. The bike belongs to Sunny (from the comments section of this post).
Photographing a black bike is challenging, especially in patchy, bright sunlight. But I like how this picture turned out. The orange taxi pleases me a great deal.
The only problem is you can’t really see how good-looking this bike is (I especially like the generator-powered headlight and Brooks saddle).
Sunny purchased his bike from the same dealer in Palo Alto as I did, which, according to the website, is the first authorized Brompton retailer in the US. The shop operates out of the palatial home of Mr. Channell Wasson. Channell is an interesting character and a truly passionate Brompton enthusiast.
I made this before viewing the Girl with the Pearl Earring exhibit at the de Young.
To find out what all the fuss is about (or at least my take on Vermeer and the Dutch Masters) stay tuned.
cherry plum blossoms around the Bay Area are in peak bloom — or that’s how it looks to me after watching them for the last 2-3 weeks!
In Japan, the plum blossom has been overtaken in popularity by the similar looking cherry blossom. In case you’re curious, the Japanese word for cherry blossom is Sakura; for plum blossom it is Ume. Both are members of the genus Prunas.
It’s common to celebrate blossom time with festive picnics (and sake drinking) under the beautiful flowering trees.
Here’s an excerpt from wikipedia’s cherry blossom article:
In Japan, cherry blossoms…symbolize clouds due to their nature of blooming en masse, besides being an enduring metaphor for the ephemeral nature of life, an aspect of Japanese cultural tradition that is often associated with Buddhistic influence, and which is embodied in the concept of mono no aware. The association of the cherry blossom with mono no aware dates back to 18th-century scholar Motoori Norinaga. The transience of the blossoms, the extreme beauty and quick death, has often been associated with mortality; for this reason, cherry blossoms are richly symbolic, and have been utilized often in Japanese art, manga, anime, and film…
My apologies to Giovanne for snapping this image while he was in mid-chew — but I wanted to highlight the do-it-your-self trailer he added to the back of his Citizen folding bike. I had seen this rig pass by once before in the neighborhood, but this time I caught up with him and took a closer look.
I’m guessing Giovanne is a design student or something. I found him sitting right across from the Academy of Art University at the lunch hour, but who knows. We didn’t chat too long, but he did say he’s hauled about 40 pounds of stuff using this set-up, which is impressive.
The trailer looks to be made mostly of materials you could easily pick-up at a hardware store (plus a couple large milk crates). The attachment point is at the rear rack where a re-worked caster wheel acts as the swivel or pivot point — a rather elegant solution!
My Brompton bicycle is finally fulfilling it’s raison d’etre: bridging the gaps in my urban commute.
If I don’t feel like walking .75 miles to the Sausalito Ferry, I unfold the Brompton and cover this distance in less than 5 minutes. After a 25-minute ferry ride to downtown SF I have another .75 miles to my office in SOMA. The Brompton covers these little gaps with ease.
Plus, while wearing shorts and sneakers and then changing (and maybe even showering) on the way to work is one way to go. I like just wearing professional business attire (including leather lace-up shoes) for commuting.
Interestingly, the first time I tried to enter my building with the Brompton the guards said that bikes must be parked in the auto garage. So I made the fold, picked it up in one hand as if I was carrying a briefcase, and asked, “How about this?”
They smiled and waved me through.
So now I always fold the Brompton, walk right past the guards, and stow the bike under my desk!
This place absolutely oozed San Francisco-hipster bike culture: a designer, bike clothing shop with an espresso bar and gallery attached; the machine the barista was pulling shots on: a La Marzocco — of course.
I loved it…but deep down I began to wonder, Is this all a bit excessive?
Is the bicycle’s renaissance (see my Golden Age of Bicycling post for more background) entering a kind of Dionysian-type decline, whereby the luxurious aspects of this utilitarian machine are fetishized to an unhealthy degree?
Are these kind of commercial ventures simply utopian celebrations of modern bicycle culture’s still-to-come zenith?
Featured Comment by Hassan-I-Sabbah: “As I understand, Dionysus is associated with the chaotic beginnings of creativity not the eventual decadence and hedonism (for which I would ascribe the great god Pan).”
A beautiful Jorg & Olif internally geared 8-speed with chain and skirt guards, rear rack, wicker basket, sprung saddle, double kick-stand, and a front generator light. The rider says she frequently commutes to work in the financial district on this classic ride.
It’s hard to say which is lovelier the bicycle or the rider?…I have to say — it’s the rider 🙂
The next few posts will contain more images from my short trip to SF with my Brompton folding bicycle.
The SMART car and the Brompton make a good couple in a dense, urban city like San Francisco.
The Brompton fits snugly (from hatch-back door to seats), but rather perfectly in the Smart car’s tiny, cargo area.
I’ve positioned the Brompton just north of Pier 1 and the Ferry Plaza (which boasts a good Saturday morning farmer’s market) with the western span of the Bay Bridge and Yerba Buena Island faintly visible in the background. It’s still early in the morning and there are few people around.
A new, eastern span of the bridge will open to automobile traffic in 2013 with a dedicated bike path (costing a cool $100 million) soon to follow. However, the western span (seen above) will still lack bicycle access.
Here’s an article with more details about this massive planning project. If you’re interested in getting involved in local bicycle advocacy issues, I’m sure these organizations would love to hear from you:
For a quick, week-end trip back to the Bay Area I wanted to travel light — no checked bags — just my folding bicycle and a backpack with the goal of leaving the airport via bike.
Last time I flew with the Brompton, I checked it as baggage. However, I had to deal with a giant, hard-shell suitcase once arriving at my destination.
So this time I tried a different approach: I brought the bike through security, put it on the x-ray machine’s conveyor belt, and gate checked it at the last minute like you would a child’s stroller.
The plan, which included carrying my back-pack on-board as a carry-on, worked perfectly.
The Brompton doubles as a luggage roller (albeit a tippy one) as you can see in the picture, made outside the Embarcadaro BART station early on a Saturday morning after my arrival from the airport.
At this point, I was able to easily ride to the Marina district where I was staying as well as make my way multi-modally (can I use this in adjective form?) to other appointments in both Marin and Berkeley.
End note: There is a solution to the Brompton suitcase dilemma which requires packing a portable, folding trailer. Here’s a chap elegantly demonstrating this option in a video in which he unpacks, assembles, and rides out of the Copenhagen airport on a Brompton with his luggage in tow.
It’s been really warm this past week (70s in some spots) and it’s only January! Many trees are starting to flower if you can believe it. Great for cycling, not so great for the fruit trees (presuming it gets cold again).
Anyhow, the above image was made from the bike path on Lincoln Ave. above Crissy Field. The image below is from the same spot, but looking north.
…and below is a close-up of what was happening down on Crissy Field (I made this with a very long telephoto lens). All three are archival images that I produced as a photography volunteer for the National Park Service/Golden Gate National Recreation Area. I’m grateful to be able to share the images and for the chance to volunteer in the GGNRA. Here’s a link to all their volunteer opportunities in case you’re interested.
Here are a few more of my photos from outings for the National Park Service/GGNRA.
This 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.
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.
These are vistas from near The Warming Hut — a touristy, but perfectly located place to stop for a snack (at either the picnic tables or at the cafe).
I didn’t try their coffee, so I cannot comment…Perhaps next time.
Beyond the bicycles, a little of the San Francisco skyline is visible (note the gold dome of the Palace of Fine Arts).
Some photos made last month (looking northeast from a picnic table about half-way between the Bridge and Crissy Field).
I recently did some exploring around the Golden Gate Bridge (and down by The Warming Hut).
This view is from the western side of the bridge looking toward the south-west. I believe the Seacliff/Richmond neighborhood is visible in the background.
In a word: beautiful.
You may recall my earlier post lamenting the short supply of good bicycling shoes. Well, Vittoria has created a gorgeous, classically-styled yet thoroughly modern (cleated) shoe.
I found the picture at the Pushbike blog, apparently they’re in stock at their 24th St. shop in San Francisco.
It may not look so, but it was foggy, cold, and very windy this morning. I was comfortable only after putting a windbreaker over two wool layers.
Also, we found out the bike path on the west side of the Golden Gate Bridge is closed during the week.
This made entering and exiting the bridge a little more complicated.