Monday, December 28, 2020

Photography While Riding

I like taking photos, and I like bicycling riding. But, it is difficult making time for both. I am trying to work out a solution. 

I've tried taking photos on rides using my iPhone, but, that's not satisfactory. I don't get the framing, resolution, etc. that I want in my photos. 

I have the same problem with point and shoot cameras slipped into my bicycle jersey. 

I've even tried carrying a camera in a handlebar bag.  But that didn't work either. 

The biggest problem with prior attempts is access to the camera. It takes too much time to get a phone out of my jersey, turned on, putting in my code, and getting to the camera with cycling gloves....I often miss the moment because of the time to get going. 

I don't care for having a bag hanging on my bicycle. So that solution doesn't work. 

I've gone out with my camera on a shoulder strap, but that also doesn't work because the camera doesn't stay put.  

I've looked for a solution for years. 

Francis Cade, a UK cyclist and YouTube personality addressed it in a couple of videos.  

I've found a couple of companies in the US that have a solution. Each option is expensive.  

To get to the point, I ordered an Outer Shell camera strap.  I'll let you know how it works out for me.

Monday, December 7, 2020

Fitness and the Pandemic

The world fell apart on March 13, 2020. That's when the school I work at announced a temporary shut down. The "temporary" part lasted until the end of September. 

I was serious about social distancing to the point that I didn't leave my house. 

I also got no exercise. by July, my fitness was a mess. That's when I decided to buy a new bicycle. I didn't realize that EVERYONE else had also decided to buy new bicycles. 

I went to one of the Trek Superstores in San Diego and took a test ride on a Trek road bike. It was a nice bike, but it was built with a seat post that was too tall for me. The shop offered to swap out the seat post at an additional cost, which didn't make sense to me. I thought they should sell me a bike that fit me  Soon after I left the shop, I got a message from the shop offering to swap out the seat post as an even exchange.  However, the moment had passed and I didn't return the call. 

I'm glad I passed on the Trek, because, as I gave it more thought, I realize buying a stock Trek road bike wasn't much of an upgrade from the bike I was replacing. So, I did more research.

A couple of days later, I happened to see a ride a friend posted on Strava. It was his first ride on a custom built gravel bicycle. I had previously heard of the small company, Franco Bicycles. I contacted Hector at Franco Bicycles and made an appointment to meet him at his shop the next week. That's when I ordered a Franco Grimes gravel bike. 

It was a serious upgrade to my prior road bike.

Here is my build:

Frameset

Grimes Carbon, Color: CANVAS

Wheels MFG T47 Bottom Bracket

 

Groupset

SRAM Force eTap + XX1 Mullet Build

Crank Length: 175, 40T + 10-52T Rainbow

160 F/R Rotors

AXS Power Meter

 

Wheelset

HED Eroica GP, 700c

Panaracer Gravelking SK 700c x 38c, Tubeless, Black

 

Components

Whisky No. 7 Aluminum Stem, 100mm

Whisky No.9 Carbon Bar, 12 Flare, 44cm

Fizik Antares R3 Versus Evo Saddle


It took seven weeks to get the bike because of the supply chain. The SRAM AXS Power Meter was the last piece to arrive.


It's a great bike that turns heads when I ride it. As a gravel bike, it is a legitimate road bike that also holds its chops on gravel. The one-by build is different from other road bikes. That gets the attention of other riders.









Friday, January 3, 2020

So, it's a New Year

I haven't posted for over a year. That's ok by me. I see a blog, similar to how I view my journal, as an available tool to use when I want. 

My friend Daniel shared a scripture passage with me yesterday morning. 
Philippians 1:27 “Conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.” In other words, match your conduct to the gospel. The exalted reality of the gospel demands an exalted lifestyle.

I'm usually inspired by passages friends share with me. Yet, yesterday, my response was cold. I think it was such a mirror and I wanted to run from the image that reflected back. It was a tough verse to read and think about because I realized that, often, I don't want to live that way. I saw in my heart a desire, at times, to be angry, vindictive, retributive and the like.  

These were tough thoughts to have at the new year. 

Yet, I believe that there is hope in realizing that there are ugly places in one's life. I am certainly not one to pen a homily of this, but it is a current reflection.



Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Talking to myself


I talk out loud to myself. 

It’s especially pronounced when I go to the market since, even though I have a list at home, I always forget to bring it along, so I have to keep the shopping list in my head, where I’m sure to forget at least half of what I came to pick up. 

So, I talk my way around the grocery market trying to recall the essential things I need: Oatmeal, salad, dinner... 

Today, as I talked my way through the available options in one aisle, a lady was nearby. Finally she said, “What is your name?” I told her, and she said, “I realize you’re having a private conversation, but, you know, because of your smile, some people may feel invited to respond.” And then she added, “It’s not a bad thing being known as the guy with the biggest smile in the room.” 

Her comments made me laugh and enjoy continuing talking my way around the market.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Today is my birthday

I bought an endurance road bicycle two months ago. As I tend to do, I'm all in. I know that I won't race bikes, but I enjoy getting out. (Let me know if you have questions about types of bicycles. If you're older, like me, you'll probably want an endurance or sportive bike instead of a race or mountain bike. E-bikes are also an option, but I know nothing about them.)

I started my day with an early morning bicycle ride, which was fun. And then I got caught up on my favorite bicycling vlogs: @BikerLawrence,@CyclingCam, and @FrancisCade.

Lawrence Carpenter (@BikerLawrence) is on an adventure with James and Francis. They’re cycling in the US – in my region of the county. They’ve been in America for less than a week and are already “fed up” with the crap food we eat. Lawrence talked about the lack of fresh food in today’s vlog.That got me thinking about food – why do people in the USA eat so thoughtlessly?  I’m included in that. 

It prompted me to be more thoughtful today about what I ate. I started with oatmeal for breakfast. It was great and is a common breakfast for me. However, I wanted food when I got to the airport today. I went to the “fresh market” at John Wayne Airport, but it was actually packaged processed food.  I picked up two bananas at Starbucks, and then nuts at another stand. I felt good about my good choices, even though I’m not home.  

I think that Americans, including me, eat thoughtlessly because of lack of planning. I’m going to work on planning meals while I’m on this trip.  

I’ll let you know how it goes.


Saturday, February 13, 2016

Andalusia Farm: Flannery O'Connor's World




I've read Flannery O'Connor short stories for decades. Last Sunday, while visiting the University of Georgia, I wondered how far I was from Flannery O'Connor's Georgia. It wasn't terribly far so I drove to the small town of Milledgeville, to the farm she lived in until her early death at age 39, and where she wrote her published works, on a typewriter, on this small table, in her bedroom.


Wandering the farm was an incredible experience because it brought her stories to life. Many of her short stories are set on a farm run by a widow woman, living with her highly educated, invalid, daughter who lives in the words of ideas. The mother's confidant is usually the tenant's wife.  The tenant house is just yards away from the main house at Andalusia. And, the barn and milking shed are just beyond that.

The visit was an ah-hah experience for me, like a pilgrimage. It tied together many lose ends. It also led me to think about how a few acres were fertile ground for so many deeply insightful and complex stories. 

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Camping List

I drive a Subaru:
Therefore I camp.

Camping packing list:

Extra car key
Sleeping bag
Inflatable sleeping pad
Ditty bags
Tent
Tent broom and dustpan
Tent stakes
Tent light
Headlamp
Flashlight
Extra batteries
Knife
Stove
Stove fuel
Lighter
Cooking pots
Utensils
Plate
Cup
Resealable bags
Can opener
Dish towel
Dish scrubber
Dish soap
Food
Ice chest
Shovel
Toilet paper
WATER, WATER, WATER
Cash
Toiletries
Camera gear
Camera cleaning gear
Day pack
Bandana
Hat and Beanie
Gloves
Insect repellent
First aid
Allergy relief
Wash cloth and towel

Sunday, July 5, 2015

St. Margaret's at Westminster Abbey

Good morning from London. I attended Sunday service at St. Margaret’s Church at Westminster Abbey. St. Margaret’s is the smaller church on the Abbey grounds that was built to serve lay people when Westminster Abbey was an actual Benedictine abbey. 

I arrived early, which allowed time for me to chit chat with the ushers. I mentioned that I work at a school with that is named St. Margaret's.  That piqued interest and prior to start of the service, the Verger came up to me and asked if I'd like to participate in the service by bringing up the elements at the offertory. I was happy to do so. 

I sat in a pew near the front of the church, on the left side. However, I noticed that a group of pews opposite me were reserved. I caught a glimpse of the placard on each of those pews: Reserved for Members of Parliament. There were a few MPs on hand this morning.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

One of those quotes

There is pleasure in the pathless woods, there is rapture in the lonely shore, there is society where none intrudes, by the deep sea, and music in its roar; I love not Man less, but Nature more. - Lord Byron
This captures so many of my feelings when I'm out with my camera. It's meditative to me.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Shotgun Lovesongs

A few months I heard National Public Radio commenter, Scott Simon, talk about Shotgun Lovesongs, a novel by Nickolas Butler. I was taken by the piece and ordered the book from my mobile phone as I had my coffee and a bagel at Brugger's. 

I was drawn to Lovesongs because it sounded like the book was about friendships and place.  I like friendships, especially those that are long term.  I also like "place" as a human theme.

Even before I got my copy of the book, I contacted members of a bookclub that last met over a dozen years ago and told them about the book. One of the bookclub members recommended that we read the book and meet online to discuss it.  

The book was everything that I'd hoped it would be, including good friendships, a strong sense of place, complexity, warmth, surprise, understated heroism, and good doses of redemption. 

Lovesongs is written differently. Each chapter is written in the first person point of view of a character. I had to catch on and I wrote down notes on each character to keep things straight in the beginning. That style takes a while to build a framework for who is who and their relationships. But it works for this book. Once the framework was in place, which was about the first half of the book, the story takes off with intensity. At that point, I couldn't wait to get to the next page.