Experimental music, photography, and adventures

Bike rides, hiking, (lost) photos

Wednesday, March 21st, 2007

I’ve ridden my bike a lot this week — so far, a little over 45 miles. I rode to work yesterday and today, and did rides after work on Monday and Tuesday. I felt like a badass riding to and from work yesterday, and then riding another 20+ miles after that. I rode out to the Monroe County Water Purification Plant again, which is a route that I enjoy a lot. The plant itself may not be scenic, but it’s still kind of cool to see. I snapped some photos with my point & shoot film camera, which I’ve been using this week. I would have ridden down the big hill to the park by the lake, but I was worried I’d run out of sunlight, and instead turned around and went home.

I encountered an asshole in a van. I was approaching an intersection with a stop sign, and the guy in the van clearly wanted to pass me, but there wasn’t much space before the stop sign. I got into the middle of the lane to prepare to make a left turn, and stuck out my left hand to signal. My hand almost grazed the window of the van, which was now passing me in the other (wrong) lane! Then, the guy cut me off, because there wasn’t room for him to move over before reaching a car stopped at the stop sign. I resisted the temptation to flip him off, instead waving a fist at him and cursing him under my breath.

Some geese flew over me, they were flying low and at a bit of a slower pace than I was going. They honked at me as I rode by (I’m sure they were really honking at each other, but it seemed like a greeting, so that’s what I’m going to assume). I saw some other very large birds, as I have on most of my recent rides, some circling in the sky. Sometimes, they seem to take an interest in me when I stop; I hope they don’t have anything sinister in mind. It’s too bad I can’t bring Marty on some of these rides; I’m sure that he’d get to see some cool stuff, and I could learn a lot. At the very least, Marty’s bird photos have piqued my interest in at least being more aware of the kinds of birds around me.

This morning’s commute wasn’t that great; I was running a bit late, and it was a little too warm to wear a jacket, but too cool not to — so I was sweating more than usual by the time I got to work. One thing I had forgotten about IU students is how they’ll walk into the street without looking in either direction. They just keep staring straight ahead, completely oblivious or not caring that there are cars, bikes, and other pedestrians that could run into them. What makes matters worse is that most of them have iPods or other mp3 players, so there’s no way to get their attention.

All of this made my commute this morning very interesting. I had to dodge pedestrians, and sometimes try to anticipate how fast they were moving and speed up or slow down to make sure I could go far enough in front of or behind them. It felt almost like playing a game of Frogger.

After I got home today, I suggested to Sarah that we take Rob (the dog) for a hike in the woods in my old neighborhood — so we did. This was the first time we had taken Rob for a real hike, and he was very well-behaved. Actually, he was too well-behaved. After a while, we let him off the leash, and he just walked behind us most of the time. This dog needs to learn how to do certain dog things, like running. He’s great at other dog things, such as napping, but running is one area where he needs work. He did run a few times, but not as much as I had hoped he would. Don’t get me wrong, he’s a great dog, and we had a great time. But I think we need to get him more exercise.

When we got to the pond, we noticed some dead salamanders in the shallow water toward the edge of the pond. There may have been more in the deeper water as well, I’m not sure about that — but we saw at least 10-20 dead salamanders. I was pretty puzzled by this, and found a couple of articles about a virus that sometimes kills salamanders. Neither of them mentions Indiana, or even the midwest, though, so I’m not sure what to think about that.

I brought my point & shoot film camera and took a few photos of Rob in the woods. I put the camera in my pocket for a while, and later, when I tried to take it out, I accidentally opened the film door, exposing/ruining all the film! I am pretty pissed, and I need to find a way to prevent that from happening in the future. I lost all the photos I took on my rides this week, and the ones I had just taken in the woods.

5 Responses to “Bike rides, hiking, (lost) photos”

  1. furiousball Says:

    Marty is available for rent I hear, he also could photograph the license plates of that asshole’s van too. Being a Van myself, please understand he’s not related to me.

  2. Fritz Says:

    I’m enjoying the thoughts posted here, especially regarding your comparisons of cycling vs driving. Cars certainly have their advantages, but it’s nice to get a little simpler sometimes.

    You’ve left comments at a couple of places asking how I and others found your blog. I found your blog a week or two back by searching for “bicycle commute” or something along those lines at Technorati, then I linked to your post and others found you. The whole social networking of the blogosphere and all that, y’know.

  3. John Says:

    Hey:
    I found your blog thru Jett’s, Atalanta Intown Cycling

    The geese you mentioned may have been inviting you to join them. *>).

    I’ll have to look around some in you blog to figure out where you are from. I have it narrowed down because of your IU comment. Your not a “Cutter” are you?

    Myself, I’m from Cape Cod, Ma. I read quite a few bike blogs, commuting especially, to get a sense of other parts of the country.

    I’m glad I found you. Now we have to find a way to get you a digiatal camera.

    See you around.

  4. Fritz Says:

    Every cycling geek knows that Dave Stohler is an Indiana “Cutter” who rides a 1978 Masi Gran Criterium 🙂

  5. Marty Says:

    Wow – a lot of things to comment on here.

    Thanks for the plug – if you take pictures of birds, I’d be happy to ID them for you. I do it to Van all of the time, even when he doesn’t ask, and despite the restraining order. LOL at his comment, too. FYI, although eagles will feed on carrion, more likely it was those loveliest of birds, the turkey vulture. Or maybe a black vulture (not sure if you have those or not).

    Your rides sound like a lot of fun – I miss being able to ride everywhere. I did it when I was younger, and when I lived in Boulder, CO, it was my normal mode of transportation and gave me a lot of cool things to see (like seeing a hawk pick off a prairie dog without even stopping). It’s not the same driving through Camden to get to Philly, but I might try it anyway. Your stories are inspiring for me to get out there and enjoy a few rides again. Great pictures, btw – you obviously have that knack of finding the artistic shot in what I would look at as mundane – and of course miss the hidden treasures within. I’m such a literal photographer anymore – I need to get out and do some more landscape stuff to expand out.

    As for the Vanhole, I remember (not so) fondly the same sort of thing when I used to ride to work years ago. Invariably it was some yokel in a pickup who thought it would be funny to scare me by riding really close to me and then yelling in my ear. Strangely, I’d be more afraid now of the idiots on cell phones who are too busy putting on makeup while talking on the phone to notice someone on a bike in the road.

    As for Rob, funny stuff – he’ll find his groove. And a dog that stays close is preferable to one who runs into the nasty water and then stinks up your car/house, right?

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