Experimental music, photography, and adventures

Archive for December, 2007


Monday, December 10th, 2007

It seemed like it was going to be a terrible weekend for riding. I was busy on Saturday and the forecast said it was going to rain all day on Sunday. So I decided to sleep late on Sunday. I got up to find a dreary, rainy day, although it wasn’t actually raining. By the time I ate lunch and ran some errands and went home, I realized it still wasn’t raining. I looked at the radar and it looked clear. It was time for a ride! It feels weird now to say that a dreary 40-degree day is perfect weather for a ride, but it’s a lot better than the weather we’ve been having.

I headed out to do the Shilo Road route that I do from time to time. As soon as I got out of town I saw that the landscape was shrouded in fog. The roads were wet and sandy from last week’s snow (they tend to use more sand than salt in this area) — but my traction was good. Still, I took my time. I didn’t want to risk slipping, and I was really enjoying the scenery.

Road II
Tunnel Road

Shilo is a very twisty road with a very rough surface and switchbacks through part of it. I was a little nervous about this aspect of the ride, since the roads were wet and sandy from last week’s snow. But once again I took my time — more than I needed to, I’m sure — and my tires didn’t let me down. This was actually the first time I’d ridden on Shilo since I got my new tires and I felt a lot more stable with the wider (28mm) tires.

Switchback on Shilo Road

I had a lot of fun on Shilo — it’s mostly downhill in this direction and the twist and turns are fun, as are the numerous ups and downs. It’s a real roller coaster ride and while you could go faster if the road surface was smoother, I like the added challenge of all the bumps, potholes, poorly-patched holes and other irregularities. My camera, on the other hand, didn’t like this at all as my camera case, which goes around my stem and closes with a piece of velcro, fell off on one bump and my camera went tumbling to the ground. I didn’t even realize it until a few minutes later, so I had to turn around and go back for my camera. It still works fine.

Trees along Shilo Road

I stopped on a bridge to take some more photos. I don’t know what it is about bridges, but I frequently feel compelled to stop on them to get some shots. I guess they do tend to afford a view of … well, whatever is below.

Grimy bike
Grimy bike


Bike in field I
My bike by a field

Soon I was finished with Shilo Road and had a great ride back on Anderson, Old 37, Bethel, and 45. The fog thickened throughout the rest of my ride, making it a highly atmospheric, especially pretty ride. Total distance: about 27 miles.

View from Anderson Road
View from Anderson Lane (damn power lines!)

Old Bethel Church
Old Bethel Church

Driveway off Bethel Lane
Someone’s driveway

Another driveway

Bethel Lane
The fog thickens

Little Debby
Little Debbie truck

Red Barn
Red barn

Trees and house

State Road 45

Another barn

Action shot

Am I a fraud?

Friday, December 7th, 2007

I’m not very fond of Christmas. The pervasive sense of materialism combined with obnoxious Christmas carols for a good month leading up to the holiday leave me with a foul taste in my mouth. Fortunately, the materialistic part doesn’t really apply to my family, but it’s especially unavoidable this time of year overall. And I’m an atheist, so the religious aspect of Christmas doesn’t apply or appeal to me, either.

However, I put some Christmas lights on my old mountain bike. Does this make me a fraud? Sarah says no, but I’m not so sure.

Bike with xmas lights
My old mountain bike, repurposed as a commuter, with Christmas lights

I feel a little weird riding around with the lights turned on. So far, they’ve attracted nothing but positive attention in the form of a few people shouting, “I like your lights!” as I ride past. And truth be told, I don’t completely hate Christmas. I like the time with family. That’s what it’s about to me. I like the lights downtown by the square and tastefully-done lights on people’s houses.
Basically, when you get down to it, I like things that light up, and I like putting things on my bike. So I put the lights on my bike. Does this make me a fraud?

Side note: one nice side-effect of the lights is that they make me much more visible on the road. I like to think of them as a safety feature.

Action shot of bike with xmas lights
Action shot with the Christmas lights

First snow

Friday, December 7th, 2007

Update: Added photos.

It snowed a little bit overnight. Actually when I walked Rob at around midnight, what was coming down was somewhere between sleet and snow. I was a little worried it’d all freeze into glaze ice, but it didn’t.

The temperature was right at 32 degrees when I set off for work this morning, a full 20 degrees warmer than it was yesterday. And while we only got a thin layer of snow, it was pretty nice — I’ve been looking forward to it. It was warm enough that the roads were mostly just wet, so riding was easy. The bike path had a layer of snow on it but I took my time and didn’t have any problems with traction.

Bike path
Bike path

I was surprised to notice that the city put some salt down. Bloomington has always been pretty bad at handling snow, but they’ve gotten better in recent years. It used to be that they used mostly sand, with a little salt mixed in. What I saw looked like pure salt. On the other hand, it was dumped in clumps about once a block, rather than spread evenly — but it’s still an improvement. I wasn’t really expecting any sand or salt at all.

7th and Walnut
The streets were just wet; too warm for the snow to stick to the asphalt

Parking lot at work
Parking lot at work

Tire tracks in the snow
Abstract: tire tracks in snow

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