The Friday Cyclotouriste

a geo-photoblog chronicling my "excursions velo"

Archive for the ‘self portrait’ tag

On the Road……The End of the Road

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This photo from Sunday’s ride has a certain Wes Anderson/Steve Zissou feel to it, I think.

It’s also one of my favorite geotag locations. So make sure you click on the icon under the picture to see the location on a map.

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Whenever I’m standing on rocky outcroppings like this looking out onto the Pacific Ocean, I think of the words of the Beat poet Lew Welch.

Here’s the last two stanzas from his glorious poem, THE SONG MT. TAMALPAIS SINGS:

This is the last place. There is nowhere else to go.

Once again we celebrate the
Headland’s huge, cairn-studded fall
into the Sea.

This is the last place. There is nowhere else to go.

For we have walked the jeweled beaches
at the feet of the final cliffs
of all Man’s wanderings.

This is the last place
There is nowhere else we need to go.

-Lew Welch (1921-1976)


Have a Happy New Year Everyone!


Written by fridaycyclotouriste

December 30th, 2012 at 10:57 pm

Ride Report……Toward the Summit of Mt. Lemmon, Part 1

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My Mt. Lemmon ride was rather ill-planned, meant only as an exploratory trip to see what this mountain is all about.

It began on a Sunday afternoon, fueled by a morning capuchino and cinnamon roll from Cartel Coffee Lab (which was excellent and made me wish I had snapped a picture for an espresso review — click here for the review archives…but I digress).

Getting off to a late start (about 12:30 with the sun already directly above), I parked at the Safeway on Tanque Verde and Catalina Highway, 2-3 miles away from where the road begins to steepen. I wore wool shorts, some puma shot-putting shoes, a cotton tank-top with a lightweight, long-sleeve polyester shirt over that, a scarf-like buff around my neck, and zinc oxide sun protection on my face. I put a vietnamese-style baguette sandwich in my handlebar bag and a full water bottle in my downtube cage.

I felt great the first 7 miles as I climbed the initial few thousand feet. With each switchback the valley began fading away. I remarked to myself that this was the most comfortable I’ve felt on a bike since coming to Tucson: few cars, scenic views, and to me, the satisfying rhythm of a long, hard hill climb (which is what I was used to in California).

Just after making the above picture of this prickly pear cactus, the sound of rapid gunshots rang out from a pickup truck directly across the road. I quickly ascertained the pistoleros were not aiming their bullets at me, but I still felt vulnerable. I didn’t linger.

As I covered this initial ground,  I guzzled water at a rate that naively assumed I could fill-up at the numerous official campgrounds en-route (e.g. at mile 6, 12, 18 etc.). So I rolled into the Molino Basin Campground — at around 1:30pm and well into the heat of the day — with a nearly empty water bottle. It was only then that I learned there would be no more water until the Palisades ranger station (more than 14 miles ahead and 4,000 feet above me).

I gamely rode another mile or so, but began to tire. The hot and extremely windy conditions made for tough riding. At times, it felt as though I was barely moving at all as I hammered my lowest gear into 30-mph gusting headwinds.

The opportunity to take a rest and eat something arrived in the form of the Gordon Hirabayashi recreation site. My energy was mostly spent and I was out of H2O. I ate half a sandwich and thought that this would be the end of my climb….


Tired, thirsty, and hunkered down in a small patch of shade.

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Written by fridaycyclotouriste

May 11th, 2011 at 9:53 pm

On the Road……Highway 1 @ Vedanta Retreat, Olema

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Just outside of Olema lies the Vedanta Retreat center.

I pedaled up the entry driveway past what they call the Vivekananda Bridge. There really was a palpable sense of peace and calm, maybe because for the last 37 years this has been a place “…where spiritual seekers of all faiths may meditate and study away from the disturbances of urban life.”

Here’s a synopsis of Vedanta philosophy from the Vedanta Society of Northern California‘s website:

The basic teaching of Vedanta is that the essence of all beings and all things–from the blade of grass to the Personal God–is Spirit, infinite and eternal, unchanging and indivisible. Vedanta emphasizes that man in his true nature is this divine Spirit, identical with the inmost being and reality of the universe. There is, in short, but one reality, one being, and, in the words of the Upanishads, “Thou art That.”

Vedanta declares that one can realize God in whatever aspect one wishes, and, further, that one can realize him directly and vividly in this life, in this world. Such realization constitutes spiritual freedom and contains in infinite measure the fulfillment of all man’s ideals and aspirations; it is indeed the true purpose of human life.

Vedanta holds that all religions lead to the same goal. Further, Vedanta reveres all great teachers and prophets, such as Sri Krishna, Lord Buddha, and Jesus Christ, and respects their teachings as the same eternal truth adapted to the needs of different times and peoples.


Written by fridaycyclotouriste

October 8th, 2010 at 12:54 am

Bicycling Culture……The Bike Blog Universe

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The Velo Hobo (aka Jack from North Carolina) was kind enough to spotlight me in one of his recent “featured rider” posts.

Initially, I told him I was a little embarrassed by the distinction. The cycling community is full of so many riders that are accomplishing amazing physical feats or doing other extraordinary things with bicycles. I felt a little inadequate in this regard. But I’ll continue to do my part, whatever that may be. Thanks Jack!

And this reminds me. I’ve been remiss in acknowledging other blogging friends and supporters of The Friday Cyclotouriste to whom I am most grateful. They include:

All are amazing blogs. I encourage you to visit.

(P.S. The above picture, which I sent to Jack, was made with the camera on the ground using the 10-second timer on a recent Thursday evening ride up the hill near Alpine Lake).

Written by fridaycyclotouriste

August 24th, 2010 at 11:26 pm

Ride Report……Port Costa Loop, Part II

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Long overdue, this is Part II of my ride report.

(Here is Part I and here again is the map of the route).

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.).
  4. 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).
  5. 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.

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May 24th, 2010 at 9:58 pm

On the Road……I-780 Overpass

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spiral descent

spiral descent

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May 24th, 2010 at 9:35 pm

On the Road……Spring time at Azalea Hill Pass

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This past Friday I intended to ride to Alpine Lake and back, one of the top 10 short bicycle rides known to humankind IMHO.

But I got distracted by all the wildflowers and only made it to the top of Azalea Hill.

Last time up here I made this photo. I thought I’d share an alternative version highlighting my flashy yellow wind breaker.


And here’s a clumsy attempt to make another 10-second timed exposure at the nearby trail head. (The ground is super saturated and muddy. I had trouble getting set before the shutter released.)

Azalea Hill Trail Head

Azalea Hill Trail Head

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Written by fridaycyclotouriste

April 22nd, 2010 at 6:46 pm


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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

On the Road……More unpublished 2009 photos

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Here’s a few more. Click to make big.

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December 31st, 2009 at 4:02 pm


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