Tag : Bicycle

30 May 2011

Tour of Somerville is always a challenge to get a different photo

I’ve photographed the Tour of Somerville since 1988, when it was the hottest day ever at the bicycle race. At least it was the hottest I’ve seen. Fellow photographer Dean Curtis and I thought we would kick everyone’s ass even though neither of us had every photographed bicycle racing before. We had tons of photos, many of them good and we had a great plan for covering the winner crossing the line. Dean was one side of the street and I was on the other. We both had long lenses and got way back down the street so we would have the sign and the winner crossing as the pack was right behind. What we didn’t know was that the winner had broken away from the pack and flying up the side of the street. We both were watching the middle of the street and neither one of us got the shot. We did learn from it though.

This year was pretty hot too. I was shooting for Middle Earth, the non-profit agency that helps kids and does most of the work to put on the race. Having photographed the race so many times, I’m always challenging myself to get a different shot. One year I shot most of the race with a 4X5 camera. Interesting, but I only needed to do that once. I always like when the 100+ riders line up for the start of the pro race. There are lots of faces, some tense, some relaxed but they are always rearing to go. I thought it would be nice to get a high angle on the riders and have the big banner that goes across the street. So I put my camera on the end of my monopod with a 16mm lens and did a Hail Mary shot from about 11 feet high. It would be fun to get that shot while they are riding away, but the riders would be happy to run me over.

25 May 2010

What’s good: A clean bicycle

My bicycle shines after a bath.

After a long, wet ride along the Jersey shore through sand, salt and crushed sea shells, my bike was a mess. So it got its first bath of the year after I got home from work. I took a bike repair class at High Gear Cyclery before I did my cross country ride. I thought it might be smart to be able to fix my bike if I broke down in the middle of nowhere. I didn’t use any of the repair knowledge on the trip, but High Gear was kind enough to loan me a spare set of wheels that did come in handy a couple times when Dan popped some spokes. One thing I did learn that I use frequently is how to really clean a bicycle. Now my bike is really clean and ready for some more riding.

23 May 2010

What’s good: Riding for a cause

The sun sets while drivng home.

Today was Day 2 of the Coast The Coast bicycle ride to raise money for MS. It was again scheduled to be 85 miles. After riding 85 yesterday, I didn’t think I had the strength to make it that far again today. Teammates Kathy, Stephanie and I latched on to a pack of 20 riders from Team Trane in the morning and used the power of the pack to pull along at an 18 MPH pace. Using the same energy, I’d be going about 15, but there is strength in a pack. We were rolling along until we got to a rest stop. They took too long of a break, so the three of us headed out and thought we’d go a little slower until they caught up and then we’d fly again. They didn’t catch up by the time we got to the next rest stop and we pulled in. It wasn’t long until I saw Team Trane flying past the rest stop, so I yelled at Kathy and Stephanie and we took off to catch them. Stephanie sprinted and caught up. We were in a town and I had them in my sights but I couldn’t reel them in. Kathy got held up by car traffic at a stop sign, so she was behind me. I spent way too much energy trying to catch them and just when I thought I was there the Trane left town and really took off. I used much more energy trying to catch them than I would have saved being in the pack. It wasn’t long before we got to the lunch break and I thought I was done. I could barely get food and eat it. Fortunately, I ate the right things at lunch and got my energy back. I really thought I was done.

Just as we were ready to leave, I looked out the window and heavy rain was falling. Team Trane was lollygagging again, so we headed out to brave the rain. It was pretty hard for 10 minutes but let up and was intermittent for a couple of hours. Besides being cold and uncomfortable, rain makes the roads slick and it makes things stick to the tires. At mile 55, I felt my rear tire get soft. The other two were ahead of me and I pulled over to fix the flat. I found a good chunk of sea shell stuck in the tire, it took me longer than normal to change the tire but was soon on my way. That stretch of road was named Flat Alley but the support crews because of all shell pieces caught in tires. I heard one guy had five flats.

I spent most of the afternoon pedaling alone at a steady pace. MS does a great job of organizing the event, they paint arrows on the street so you know where to turn. I wasn’t paying attention and missed a turn. I realized it a couple of miles later when the road came to a dead end at the ocean. Not what I needed. I pedaled back but didn’t see any other cyclists and the road was too wide to see the small painted arrows. Finally I saw a cyclist make a turn about a quarter mile ahead of me so i got back on track and got in a few extra miles and rolled into to Cape May.

It was a great weekend, mainly because I was able to raise over $600 for MS thanks to the generosity of my friends. Thank you all. Next year I aiming for $1,000, so be ready.

On the way home, I realized I didn’t take any pictures all day, I guess I was too wet and tired. While driving up I-2t87, the sun gave me one peek for the day, so I pulled out my point-and-shoot and made a couple of shots over the steering wheel. Much better quality than yesterday’s iPhone shots. Time/speed report

22 May 2010

What’s good: Friends on the beach

Marilyn, Brian, Kathy and Stephanie on Long Beach Island.

The cool part of the ride was that Marilyn Dillon and Brian Horton invited the team to stay at their Long Beach Island home, which sure beat sleeping on a gymnasium floor with tons of smelly riders.

22 May 2010

What’s good: 85 miles, Day 1

Stephanie, Kathy and Loren after finishing Day 1.

Somehow I thought it would be a good idea to ride my bike 170 miles in two days to raise money to fight MS. Thanks to the help of my friends, I raised over $600. The not-so-good idea was not getting into great shape before attempting the ride. I made it through the first day, but it wasn’t pretty. The last 20 miles was tough, but I got through with the help of teammates Kathy and Stephanie. Tomorrow is another day.

Here’s my time and speed report.

18 May 2010

What’s good: Having a place to park your bike

A bicycle rack in a Somerville park.

There’s a bike rack I go past every night when taking the dogs for a walk. It is a cool metal sculpture in a small park near a kiddie pool. I’ve never seen any bikes parked at the rack but I’m usually there at night. I’m assuming there is some heavy message with the arrow, since this weekend I’m doing a two-day 170 bicycle ride to raise money for MS. I’m in shape to ride about 40 miles, so I’m going to need some arrows to help me stay focused and point the way.

01 May 2010

What’s good: Getting a greeting from a real horse

A horse poses outside of Ringoes, NJ.

Yesterday I photographed the strange horse statue, today it is a real horse. I was on a grueling bike ride with Kathy Johnson through the Hunterdon County countryside. We are training for the upcoming MS Coast the Coast ride in three weeks. Please donate! It was over 95 degrees, which I’m not acclimated to and we were planning on doing 35-40 miles but I could barely make 25.

The horse had an interest in my camera.

As we were heading back to the cars, I saw two horses in a field. They looked nice, so I stopped to photograph them. I took some shots of them grazing and they came over to the fence. One was very friendly and it posed for a photo. It was a curious horse and wanted to check out the camera.

The horse had an interest in my bicycle

Then it obviously had an interest in carbon fiber and it went over to my bicycle to give it a lick.