Friday, April 30, 2010

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Mustache Patrol

Sir, we've had some complaints. If you and your mustache wouldn't mind hopping aboard our jail-cycle, we'll be on our way without a fuss, alrighty?

From a 1900 article entitled "The Bicycle and Crime" by the eminent Italian criminal anthropologist Cesare Lombroso. You can't make this stuff up.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

I Should Rename This Blog

"Idyllic Weekend Photograph Blog"

All photos snapped at the Adams Avenue Roots Music Festival in Normal Heights. Not my bikes, dog, church, or barber shop.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Another Perfect Sunday

Some kind of tree creature. Anyone know what?
The park ends here. Stop having fun. Or else.

This is what wild cucumbers look like after something figures out how to eat them.

All photos from Golden Hill Park and the same canyon as these. See lots more here.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Friday Nonsense: Early 20th c. Postcards

My wife is working with some early 20th-century postcards at work, and she sent me a few scans while she was at it. I've worked with postcards from this era before and they are strange. A lot of the "humor" expressed by these cards is based on race and gender puns from a century ago, and so seems objectionable to modern taste, and other stuff is just plain weird. I usually hate the phrase "the past is a foreign country" but sometimes it does seem that they at least spoke a different language.

According to an unattributed and undated explanation on this site: "Lobster is a slang expression of contempt for a gullible, awkward, bungling, or undesirable person." I guess that makes sense.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Oh. My. God.

I'm having trouble typing coherently because the words in my brain are sounding something like this: Gaaaaah, huuhmmm, duuurrrr, sllaaaagh, muuurph.

Just go to this site and look around: My Old Bicycle

No, first clear your schedule for the rest of the day.

I wish I'd seen this site before I made my post about 1950s European "commuter" bicycles.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Favorite Things: The Bicycle Drawings of Daniel Rebour

Daniel Rebour was a French technical illustrator who focused especially on fine and custom bicycles of the 1940s and 1950s. If you read Bicycle Quarterly, you've probably seen some of his drawings reproduced there. The web shop Velo-Orange also has some of his drawings on their site as graphic elements.

Rebour had an affinity for randonneuring-style and utility bicycles, and had an eye for detail. The drawings themselves are beautiful, but the bicycles they depict are even more so. They are a source of inspiration for anyone considering building or outfitting a rando, commuter, or utility bike, but they are also a snapshot into the world of fine mid-century vehicular bicycling.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Tiny Bicyclists

We had some free passes to use in Balboa Park yesterday, so we took in a few of the museums we hadn't yet visited, including the Model Railroad Museum, which was overall pretty weird, but these tiny bicyclists were kind of neat. Just like tilt-shift manipulation, only totally different.

Our First California Poppy of the Season

We struggled to coax a single sad poppy last year, but this year, we've got at least six more buds coming on just this one plant, and more growing in other planters that have not quite reached the budding stage.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Last Photos from Florida Canyon: What is This Thing?

Anybody know what this is? It's a wild cucumber! Wild! It's growing on a vine, the leaves and flowers of which can be seen in the last photo above and it seems to have grown from one of the blossoms.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Easter Sunday Hike: Florida Canyon

We went for an afternoon hike today in San Diego's Florida Canyon, most of which runs through Balboa Park. I've posted photos from a different part of the canyon before, but now almost all of the flowering things are out, and it's pretty spectacular. For whatever reason, Blogger is being uncooperative as I try to add lots of photos, so until I get that sorted out, I'll be posting just a couple of photos at a time. Here is some of the wildlife we spotted. We also saw a rabbit, but I never can get a photo before they hop away.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Favorite Things: 1950s "Commuter" Bicycles

Express (German)

When European bicycle manufacturers began to rebound from World War II in the late 1940s and early 1950s, they faced competition not only from still-robust British and American bicycle industries, but also a huge global turn away from the transportation bicycle and towards automobility. For about a decade, they tried to compete with both threats by producing high-quality "commuter" bicycles that would appeal to people who couldn't afford to buy and maintain a car, but wanted a reliable, technologically advanced, and even luxurious vehicle.

While American manufacturers were pumping out balloon tire cruisers (shudder) and Raleigh was busy buying up all the other British firms*, comparatively small European manufacturers were actually advancing the field and they were extremely prescient of what folks a half-century later would want in a good commuter/utility bike.

Another Express (branded "Alvia")

The vehicles they produced are absolute inspirations for the utility cyclist: integrated racks, drum brakes, internal gearing, chain guards or full chain cases, fenders, integrated lighting systems, steel frames, aluminum alloy components to reduce weight, and an aesthetic that emphasizes equally style, comfort, and utility. They even pioneered a "hybrid" of sorts, with flatter, straighter bars and a more forward riding position than typical city bikes of the time.  They are sexy bikes.

Cosmos (Swiss) from vintage bikes/Flickr

Doniselli (Italian) from vintage bikes/Flickr

See The Island of Misfit Bicycles (image below from there) for some vintage bicycle lighting fetishism and some pretty cool examples of this kind of design (esp. around May/June 2009).

Helyett (France)

*This is not to say that Raleigh and their competitor/subsidiary brands did not also make excellent quality commuter/utility bikes. And for that matter, that American brands didn't also try their hand at similar designs, but I just really like the particular aesthetics and intelligence of the European builds.