Friday, October 23, 2009

The commute in pictures post

I rode to work this past Wednesday. I thought I'd take along a camera to try and take some photos along the way. Trying to take photos while riding with my iPhone is tough and it doesn't take very good pics when on the move. Plus, without any manner of wrist strap, there is a large enough probability that I could drop my iPhone and I'd rather not do that.

My wife had our Panasonic Lumix, which would have been nice with its wide-angle Leica lens (it's the ZS1, not the LX3, but still pretty good), especially for "panda" shots. I need some more practice with those. These pics were taken with an older Olympus Stylus. The main plus with this camera is that it is small and basically flat on all sides - it has no odd lumps or lens protrusions - so I could carry it in my shorts pocket without it being annoying. This camera is also supposed to be shockproof up to 5 feet, but they probably didn't test dropping it from a moving bicycle.

Here's my panda portraits. You might recognize my new Twin Six T-shirt (October T-shirt of the Month).

Here's some shots of my gear as I prepped at the park-and-ride lot. I ride with a more casual Adidas cycling shoe (with Crank Bros Mallet pedals). Also shown are my Novara panniers.

Soon enough, I was on my way. The weather was great, and since I had decided to try to take some pictures I didn't push my pace too hard. I only pulled out the camera when the road cleared. I did this not only because I thought it would be safer trying to ride with one hand when there were no cars around, but I didn't want to look like a total weirdo taking pictures while riding my bike. I thought I'd grab a shot of the condition of the bike lane. It is quite obvious that when this road is repaved that no attention is paid to the bike lane. There are cracks in the pavement all along the shoulder and bike lane.

With skinny 700c road tires you probably have to pay some attention to these. Riding on 26 x 1.5" touring tires I haven't had any trouble, but I did sink into a groove once. I imagine you could take a bad spill if you really get stuck in the groove and try to steer out of it.

I tried to get a good photo of the memorial on the side of the road, but tried to stay focused on the road while blindly taking a photo, so this one didn't come out so great.

Photo taking aside, it was a nice and easy ride except for having to swerve once as I passed an intersection where cars were exiting the highway. A military truck made a rolling stop to turn right and nearly got me. Thankfully I saw them the whole time and had room to take evasive action.


On the ride home, I was almost immediately passed by another rider (We even exchanged pleasantries when he passed), but caught him right away at a stop light. I let him go ahead, but thought I'd make an effort to try and stay with him as long as I could. I was hanging for a good bit, but I don't think he was riding all that hard. We hit the one large valley on this stretch of road and right as we are about to hit the uphill side the guy answered his phone, which he had stashed in the back of his shorts. He slowed down, so I passed him and tried to put some distance between us. I mashed away without trying to look like I was trying too hard. A minute or two later, as the road leveled out, he caught me, still talking on the phone, and quickly separated until I lost sight of him around a bend.

I managed to catch him at the intersection with Miramar Road because of the signal light. I lined up behind him and waited for the green. Then it got a little awkward for me. He started off very nonchalantly, trying to re-clip into his pedals. He was having a tough time or something, because I was building momentum and he was not, so for a split second I decided that I would just jump around him while he's figuring out his pedal situation. I swerved out to the left a little, and in this same moment a car is about to pass and my friend finally decides that he's going to actually start pedaling with some gusto. I was screwed, so I just immediately fall back behind and to the right, so that I don't get run over or crash into this guy.

I followed in pursuit and then got squeezed on a short uphill section as the road narrowed, a section of street parking appeared, with a bus stopping at the head of the queue of the signal light. I had to jump onto the sidewalk to avoid losing all my momentum before reaching the top of the hill. Soon after, I was back at the park-and-ride. Bike commute #5 done. BCMC tied back up at 4 apiece.

1 comment:

  1. Although I'm a bit camera shy, I love seeing panda shots of other people. As well as pictures of their commute.