Friday, December 17, 2010

Happy Holidays!

Whichever one(s) you celebrate, from Bikesgiving to Bikesmas, Bikezaa to New Bikes Eve.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

More from the Tweed Ride

Velo Cult Bike Shop has an amazing photographer (and jack-of-all-trades) on their staff who shoots the tweed rides. His photos benefit not only the shop, but the entire San Diego cycling community. They have posted the official photos from the ride at their shop blog, including this great one of me. That's my wife in the foreground, so it's actually kind of a sweet photo, since I'm pretty sure that I'm heading over to her.

Photo: Anthony Bareno for Velo Cult.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Getting Closer All The Time

The Frenchman with fenders (Velo-Orange 700c/37mm hammered fenders). Ideally, the next bits will be front and rear racks, but it may be some time before that happens. Fenders were really the final step in what I consider Phase I for this project. The bike just seemed naked without them. I've had these on for about a week now and I think I've finally got all the little rattles eliminated. I'll take some glamour shots of the whole bike one of these days.

Oh, and that's our new dining room it's hanging out in. I'll take some glamour shots of the new house one of these days, too.

San Diego Tweed Ride 2010

A few choice photos from this year's Tweed Ride. We had over 120 participants this year! More photos are being posted here.

{this photo of me cropped from one taken by SD_yoshi on Flickr}

Thursday, December 9, 2010

On Movement as Grace

This post is not as grandiose as its title, but it begins to engage some larger ideas I've been thinking about.

Our recent move from one San Diego neighborhood to another was accomplished in increments over about two weeks. We were fortunate enough to have a large window in which to move, so instead of throwing all of our stuff into a rented truck on one day, we were able to take all of the boxes and small things in a number of car trips, saving the actual Moving Day for the large stuff that wouldn't fit in the car.

We also took a number of donation items to the San Diego Rescue Mission thrift store and made several trips to the hardware store and to other stores. Most all of the stuff we either picked up or dropped off was too large or oddly-sized to take on a bike. With a bit of ingenuity and a little extra time, we probably could have made more of it happen by bike, but we were short on both, so the car was easier.

The car worked better for the kind of stuff we were hauling and the kinds of errands were were running. It could carry more stuff more efficiently than we could on our bikes. I'm always impressed by moves accomplished by bike, and in some situations they seem to work quite well. In our case, however, I'm quite certain that a bike move would have been more trouble and stress than it was worth.

In our multiple car trips we saw a lot of very bad driving (and a bit of bad cycling as well). But more than anything I noticed the large number of people riding bikes. What struck me most about almost all of the cyclists we saw is that they looked like they were having a great time. While I was getting stressed behind the wheel, I couldn't help but notice the free and easy movements of the cyclists.

So the car was the right mode choice for our move on a purely practical basis, but I couldn't help feeling like a chump for not getting to ride my bike. Driving made me feel dependent, slow, clumsy, stressed, and vulnerable. Moving in a car is not graceful, I can't think of any way that it could possibly be described that way. But the cyclists were gliding independently, quickly, nimbly, freely, and yes, gracefully. Perhaps it's a bit romantic of me -- since the bicycle is obviously my preferred mode of personal transportation -- but from the car, I saw the cyclists moving in what might be called a transcendent state, traveling on the same roads, but traveling differently (indeed, transcending) the limitations I found myself subject to (I do not mean legal limitations, but more intangible physical limitations imposed by the machine in which I was immersed).

Now that the move is finished, I've been doing more errands by bike again, and I'm certainly more aware of how I'm moving through my environment. When I've been riding a lot, I tend to forget (or if not forget, then at least take for granted) how special it is to travel by bicycle. Nothing like a few extra car trips to really drive (harr-harr) that lesson home.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Balboa Park by Night

My wife took this amazing photo last night while we showed some friends around Balboa Park. I did a little editing in iPhoto to bring out the clouds, but that's it. To me, this looks just like an early 20th c. postcard.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

A Moving Experience

Things have been very busy of late, so the blog slowed down a bit. Not least of the items on my long list was moving house. We are now mostly settled in our new place, where we intend to stay for a very long time, god-willing-and-the-creek-don't-rise. I'll have more to say about the space (and perhaps some photos) as we really get settled.

I've also been working on the final draft of my book and preparing an exhibit for the library at San Diego State University for the sesquicentennial of the Civil War, both of which have also kept me quite busy. The manuscript was finished last week, and the exhibit will be mostly prepped before I leave for my holiday vacation in a couple of weeks.

In the short term, I'm excited about the 2nd Annual San Diego Tweed Ride, which we will be attending with gusto next Saturday. I will definitely take and post photos.