Friday, December 30, 2011

Icebergs and sunken ships

Xmas was nice, nothing to report about that. So this is an after the storm report. A few days ago Scandinavia was hit by a storm. Here in Oulu it meant strong winds, temperature around freezing and rising sea levels. The sea got 1.8m above the normal, and flooded some parking lots near the sea and cut off some roads and paths near to the coast. As the temperature was near zero degrees Celsius and it was raining and snowing and then freezing again, and the wind pushing people around the meteorological institute issued a warning for "difficult conditions for pedestrians". Warnings about difficult conditions for drivers are more usual, so the conditions were really nasty for walking and cycling.

The westerly wind pushed some ice rafts upstream (or stopped them going out to the sea, who knows) on the mouth of the river. Here I'm on the bridge seen on my dirty bridge video. The flow of the river tries to take the ice away, and wind kept pushing them back.
The ice chucks were about 5 inches thick. Which btw. is almost strong enough to hold a small car. The waves broke the ice and pushed them on top of each other.
Not a very good photo, but that's some rowing boats upside down in the water. Many people pull their boats to dry ground and turn them over for storage. The boats will not get filled with water which makes them easier to use. And in winter the water will freeze and expand, which might crack the boat.

I wonder if the owners bothered to go and check their boats? Water is high and the boats are not on dry ground anymore. It is Xmas and New Year, but if it gets cold this winter they'll be frozen tight, and in the spring the flood will take them out to the sea with the ice. (Could I get a boat for free if I salvage it in the spring? :-)
All bikeways were rather icy, but especially nasty were some crossings where the street was snowplowed after the bikeway. A pile of snow was left, and when people walked and rode over it, it flattened and froze. Only it had nice 4 inch deep grooves on them, to capture your wheels.
On the other hand, the other sections were in pretty good condition.
Today it was snowing.  I took some photos of fresh tracks on the bikeway, but it was too dark already and I didn't get any good ones. And I tried to take an 'artistic' shot of a church, but it was lousy too. Blah. So you don't see them :-D Maybe better luck tomorrow. Or Next Year!

Happy New Year Everyone!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Letting things Slide

That's one phrase that came to my mind when I was trying to ride uphill on the icy bikeway. The short bikeway on the photo has not been gritted and is probably one of the lasts on the todo list. Other low priority bikeways had not been gritted yet. With the forecast promising temperatures between -1C and +1 C it will be needed, unless they expect all the ice will melt away?

 When the rear wheel started slipping when I pushed down on the pedal, I decided to take it as a sign that I'm getting stronger. I don't recall that happening in the summer! Not that the low gear I had on had anything to do with it. With two bags of shopping weighing me down and an uphill, gears are great.

Just a few days it looked like this:

when I was riding around. From that ride I also made a video video about taking corners when riding on ice. (Oh, the annotations buttons are working again for me in youtube, good. Didn't work for days. )

Sunday, December 11, 2011

12 months of cycling and blogging

It's been a little over a year since I opened this blog. It started because I was reading cycling blogs from around the world and someone said you can't cycle in the winter and you don't need bikeways. I wanted to show them wrong.

The best cycle infrastructure is in The Netherlands, so you can go read Hembrow's blog what it looks like. Copenhagenize gets some snow so they can brag about how well those bike paths around the city are cleaned. But neither of those great cycling propaganda sites said how important segregated bikeways really are for cycling in the winter. I did, in the post about Bikeways in the winter. Then I noticed I had said pretty much everything there was to be said about it and started writing junk.

According to the stats, the most popular posts have been The EST and Bikeways in the winter. I'm sure these are the most popular posts because they were early in my blogging career. They got hits because curious people came to see the new blog. The other posts were visited my me. Later in the year it was obvious that I write mostly junk posts and nobody bothered anymore. Or maybe it was because I started using other aliases for commenting on other blogs and they couldn't follow me here.

Today I spent a few hours cutting clips from videos from the previous year and editing and uploading the resulting fair weather cycling video to youtube. The screenshot of the video shows the almost-midnight sun from June.
I already knew that I didn't have many usable videos from the mid-winter, as it was either too cold or too dark or both for my md80 clone. And my camera is not water proof so I didn't use it when it rained. So what you see on the video is kind of a fair weather cycling, all the rainy, dark and cold days removed.

Although at the end of the video you can see me riding when it's raining snow/sleet. I was testing my new camera mount, again. I had the camera protected by thin, clear plastic out of a candy box, and it seemed to work well. And the candy was good, too!

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Photos showing snowing but no snow plowing

Two weeks since I last posted. What's happened since? Got some snow, which melted away. Repeat a few times. Last weekend we got more snow, followed rain and below freezing temperatures. Everything was glazed with ice. According to the newspaper the emergency rooms had a busier than normal weekend because people got wrist injuries etc. when they fell on the slippery ice. Even motorists were more careful than usual.

The first two photos are from last week.

And the last one shows the latest development in our campaign for global warming, the central heating under the pavement of Rotuaari, the pedestrian street downtown. It snowed today, and all the streets and sidewalks had snow and ice on them, except the Rotuaari was ice-free. Which was nice.
The blue sign on the left says "no bike parking on the plaza!" Another sign of lack of thinking from planners? Where are we supposed to park our bikes? And haven't they heard of the rule of fifteen steps? Any bike rack further than 15 steps from the door is too far and bikes will be parked closer to the door, if possible. Like a few scoff-law cyclists had done near the white semi-spere on the photo.

I'm sure I've heard the excuses to ban parking on the plaza, but I've forgotten them. Maybe they had to do with them blocking the plaza when the pedestrian street is full of people. But the racks on the narrower streets off the plaza will be no problem, hmm? Maybe they want us to use the underground parking hall they're going to build. That would have a negative impact on cycling. Having to walk (more than 15 steps :-) from some far-way parking to the destination increases travel time.

Also, it's been more than a year since my first post, so I'm working on a list of most popular posts. And I'm trying to find time to edit and upload some videos.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Video: The Chase

My newest upload on youtube was shot in August. I was videoing my ride to downtown, when suddenly a bunch of cyclists got on the bikeway in front of me. Our speeds matched, so I ended up following them for a while. And near the end, I chose to follow them (turned left with them instead of turning right) as it seemed I might get some video footage.

The green dot near the upper edge on the openstreetmap map is where the video starts. The lower green dot shows where I lost them when I stopped to take some photos of the bay and the bike bridge crossing it. The distance is about 1,5km as the crow flies.

The route did not follow the "red road" across the river. Instead the route (blue dots show the bikeways) goes a little to the west of it, avoiding busier intersections with traffic lights.

In fact, I've got many videos of crossing the river on the other bridges. But I'm not sure if I have any video from the red road bridge. That route has traffic lights on it and the traffic is noisier so it's not as pleasant and convenient to ride. So unless my destination is near that road I'll avoid it.

I can remember riding it only once or twice during the last year and I think one of them was to video the crossing. I thought it I could show what it looks like, but I can't find such video. Having all the videos named sun_001.avi, sun_002.avi and so on does not help searching. :-D

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Guy with a stick and a huge bag

Not a Soccer Mom, but a Ice Hockey Guy!
The other night I had some spare time and I had lots of energy, so I built a new mount for my md80 camera. Last year I tried mounting the camera on my head, but aiming was almost impossible and I seem to shake my head a lot while riding. Then I tried various methods of tying/clipping the camera to brake cables etc, which was not an optimal solution. Then I got the bright idea of using the mount of my led light for the camera and that worked pretty well during the summer when I didn't need the light.

The new mount was made of wood and on today's test ride proved to be good and solid, but needs another screw or some other method to tighten it up a little. Unfortunately the plastic strip where I clip the camera is not working as I hoped. It's not solid enough, and lets the camera vibrate.

Today's test ride showed the camera was shaking, and due to the lousy low light capabilities almost all of the video would be unusable. The screen capture is about the best quality I got, showing mostly motion blurring from riding, not shaking.

And the guy is obviously going to play ice hockey somewhere. I wonder if they've opened the outdoor ice rinks yet? I must remember to check them next time to see if they're open.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Skilly Silly Cyclist

 A few months ago there was a mass ride in London, UK. I think it was a flashride on the Blackfriars Bridge, but it could've been some other event (maybe skyride?) .

Anyway, the video showed lots of cyclists riding along the street. One of them had a video camera in her hand she was filming her kid. A few of the youtube commenters whined how dangerous that was: riding onehanded and filming at the same time. In my opinion she had plenty of clearance and the danger was minimal.

Not soon after I saw the video I was riding downtown I saw a cyclist do one better than that: texting and riding one handed while dodging pedestrians!

Link to video on youtube.

Friday, November 18, 2011

First snow of the winter

Yet another cloudy day.
It snowed last night. Just a little to make everything white. Unfortunately most of it melted away during the day before I got to my camera. But you already know what it looks like: it's white.

Today's first snow of the winter is almost two weeks later than the average. The permanent snow is due any day. There was a little mist/rain in the air on the way home in the afternoon. The forecast promised more rain/sleet for the evening and below freezing temperatures for the next few days. So if it snows instead of rains today, there might a chance this snow doesn't melt until spring. But I don't think so, as the ground is still too warm and has not frozen solid yet. The ground will melt the snow away.

Some infrastructure photos from my ride

Just yesterday I wrote I can get by all year without studded tyres, but today I wouldn't have minded having them. The puddles were frozen through. The bikeways and streets were partially coated in black ice and while the bikeways had some gritting on them, the ice glistening on the asphalt on some streets I had to cycle on did not look like good cycling surface.

Extra gritting on the curve to an underpass
 I also noticed a bike rack near a bus stop. I'm not sure why it is so far away from the stop? Hidden from thieves on the road? Protected from snow plows? There's an underpass to the right so people using the bus stop on the other side of the road could park here too? Ah, that might be the reason: if a commuter parked his bike at the bus stop, he might try to run across the road dodging cars instead of using the underpass. Crafty road designers thought of that too!
Bike rack (not so) near a bus stop. Shiny ice on asphalt.
I stopped here and took the sunset photos. This is yet another bridge to cross the river Oulu. It has a dual lane carriageway (turnpike) and two-way bikeways on both sides of the car lanes. Just choose which side fits your route best. Getting across the car lanes is no problem, as there's underpasses on both edges of the bridge and further along too.
More(?) cars going faster than on Blackfriars Bridge in London.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Meandering stream and a sunset

If I had been driving a car, I wouldn't have noticed this meandering stream. I would have been going too fast to see anything except the road ahead. Also, I would have been on the road instead of the bikeway, so it would have been impossible for me to see it anyway.

The stream is a very good example of meandering, but all those trees got in the way of getting a good photo. Also it was pretty dark in the shadows of the forest and the sun was setting so I had trouble getting a picture without blurring due to the long exposure times. But as the winter is ahead, I'm sure I'll get more practice.

This stream is surrounded by roads and buildings, but it certainly doesn't look very urban. The path is made by dogwalkers and curious people who follow the stream to take photos of it.
Three turns on this photo
And 3 or 4 on this one.
And a few sunset photos taken at 15:50 on a bridge I don't usually ride.  In the photo you can see the railway bridge. I've taken some photos of the railway bridge from the other side, when I've been riding on the dam bridge.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Cars Destroying The Planet

Look at the photo below. What you see is the result of parents bringing kids to the kindergarten by car. The kindergarten is on the right. The white fences are there to keep the convicts (kids) in.

The kindergarten is at the end of two dead-end (for cars) streets. The other street has a bulbout where the parents can park the car while they take the kid in. This street does not have one, so the parents are forced to park on the grass, instead of the street. Apparently there's too much traffic (other parents dropping their kids) for that.

And when it rains, the new parking lot turns into mud. In the photo the mud is actually frozen, so it does not look very muddy. Still, the mud gets on the asphalt from the tyres when the parents leave. You see the guy in blue behind the bollards on the photo? He walked through the mud to get to the MUP. Of course, the parents and the kids have to walk through that mud, too.

I don't recall this being so muddy in the summer. Maybe more people brought their kids by bike or walked them when the weather was good, and now when it's raining they're using their cars? Or maybe it just rains wetter rain and the mud gets muddier in the autumn...

Now this is more like it: mother and her kids on the MUP. The younger one had his learning wheels on and seemed a bit tired of pedaling. Were they on the way to home from kindergarten or going shopping? Anyway, they were going at their own pace!

No mud and cheerful colors on the vests. :-)

Friday, November 11, 2011

Re: Improvement or not

I got a reply to my email from the city bureaucrats about adding an extra yeilding sign to an intersection under construction. It was no surprise there wouldn't be a temporary yield sign in the foreseeable future, but what was a small suprise for me was the fact that it was supposed to be obvious who has to yield (in this case, the cars). Well, to me it wasn't, otherwise I wouldn't have written them! ;-)

According to the Finnish law, a turning vehicle must yield to other traffic going straight. This includes cyclists on the street and on a bikeway next to the street. In the picture below, a vehicle marked by the blue arrow (or another coming from the other direction, doesn't matter) wanting to turn to the side street (green arrow) has to yield to the cyclist.
Yellow hi-vis lycra lout scofflaw cyclist...

Another part of the law says that the cyclist must yield when he's crossing the road at a bikeway-street intersection. And here comes the problem: How close must the bikeway be to an intersection to be considered part of the intersection? Here the bikeway is pretty far from the intersection, and some drivers might think the bikeway is a separate path. An extra yield sign at the "?" would have clarified the situation.

The email also said that the traffic laws and other regulations set guidelines how to build intersections. They also set the default yielding rules that everyone expects. To deviate from the default settings would mean extra work has to be done to make cyclists safe. They don't build bikeway-street intersections where cyclists would have priority, because that would be outside of the norm. I hate that, I'd have liked to say we have at least one spot in Oulu where cyclists have priority over cars.

Though the underpasses are kind of an extra special priority lanes :-)

ps. Beautiful full moon yesterday evening! Just a little snow on the ground, please and the world would be a lot brighter place to ride at night.

Monday, November 07, 2011

Fishermen, Fog and Daylight saving

Last week I was on my way home from downtown when I noticed one of the fishermen got a fish so I decided to stop and see if they got another one. The photo is taken from a bikeway bridge crossing the "canal" coming from the hydro power plant. The power plant is maybe 300 meters to the right, upstream.

The fishermen are using scoop nets (long poles with a small net bag attached to the end). They put the pole on the water near the bridge, and the net is near the bottom of the river. Then they walk downstream and try to catch all fish swimming upstream into the net bag.  They're fishing common whitefish (Coregonus). The male fishes or females without roe the fisherman can keep, the female fishes with roe are taken by the government (fishing agency?)
Other fishes will be captured too. Some must be released (salmon, trout etc and some other fishes if they're too small).

He caught one! I'm not sure if this one was legal to eat  or one to that must be released. They took it out of the net and rushed it away. Obviously it was not one they could kill on the spot. What did they do with it? Either released back to the river or to a barrel where they keep the female whitefish with roe. They can't just throw it back to the water as it's too high. They must get to the stairs behind the trees in the pic above.

Looks like a big one. Blurry shot, but best shot I had :(
This week there has been two foggy days (or was one of them last week?) Cold air meets warmer air from the sea. Last two weeks have been cloudy and rainy, and the temperatures have been above average. Even at night it's been above freezing, but on the other hand it's been about +5C during the day, too.

These two foggy photos are resized, otherwise unedited so they're a bit darker than what the eye saw. They were taken at about 4pm. Sunset on that day was 15:50. Due to the daylight savings scheme, sunsets jumped one hour earlier when we adjusted the clocks last Sunday.

The first photo is taked towards the combined heat and power plant, but it's hidden in the fog. Even the railway bridge is hard to see, and that's just three hundred meters away.

Bikeway through the park.

Friday, October 14, 2011

A beautiful morning and first ice

It was a sunny morning after several days of either rain or gloomy cloudiness.

The cloudless sky during the night means a cold night. The clouds trap and reflect back the heat energy from the ground. With no clouds, the heat is beamed out into the space. With a northerly wind (like today) bringing cool air from the arctic, the temperature can drop below freezing even in the summer. In October below freezing temperatures are to be expected.

I had to wipe the hoarfrost off my bike saddle. It came off easy. Someone was cleaning the windows of a car at the parking lot and grumbling. I might remember to put a plastic bag on the seat and avoid the cleaning...

The small puddles were frozen through. The big, deep ones had a cover of ice that cracked when I rode over them. I guess I'm still a kid inside, playing at puddles.
Maintenance crews had been busy at work. The fallen leaves were mostly gone! They had also gritted some parts of the bikeways, like this one. A downhill section leading to an underpass. As the sun is blocked by trees and the noise barrier, this might be a good candidate for black ice. They'd gritted maybe 200 meters of my ride of a few kilometers.

Lapland had the first snow last weekend, and some ski resorts have opened cross country ski paths for skiers. They'd stored snow from last winter, and now they've spread it over some short paths so skiing enthusiasts and athletes can get on the skis.

I'd say it'll be two or three weeks until first snow in Oulu. Late October or early November. Want to place bets on the date?

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Intensive Care Cyclists

Local newspaper has an interesting article about how OYS (The Oulu University Hospital) straps unconscious patients in intensive care to bicycles!

Several commenters on the newspapers web page  have asked how they managed to interview an unconscious person for the article. They also ask if people with pneumonia or heart conditions laying on their sick beds should be forced to excercise?

Looking at the video, the patients feet are strapped into pedals while the patient is laying on the bed. If the patient is unconcious or too weak to move the legs, the machine slowly moves the legs. I don't think the patients are supposed to get sweaty excercise. It's more like keeping the limbs moving and maintaining muscle tone. (Can that be said here, or does maintaining muscle tone refer to body building?) I guess it also prevents blood clots.

Apparently they've found out that it's best to start the rehab as soon as possible. At the beginning of the year, the hospital started rehabilitation of the patients as soon as they arrive to the ICU.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Two more useless videos

After working on the cycle video day videos, I finished two other clips. The first one, Riding on the road shows what the roads outside Oulu look like. Yes, I'm actually riding on a road, sharing it with the cars. Late September, in the evening. 17:30 or 18:00 or so, as the sun is still up.

The other clip shows how not following the traffic rules almost lead to a head-on collision with a car. Before the video begins I was following a car following another cyclist on a quiet street. I'm not sure what the driver was doing, but his driving was a bit erratic (sending emails on the phone, fumbling with the seatbelt, taking the coat off or something) and I was not sure what he was going to do, so I decided to not overtake him. Notice the cute positioning of the other cyclist at the beginning of the video.

At the end of the clip you'll see me dodging the oncoming car. My plan was to turn left to the bikeway, and I thought I could do that safely as I'd be in no conflict with the cars on the street ahead.

Except for cars turning into this street, of course. I didn't notice he was going to turn until almost too late. Maybe I was looking the wrong way or he didn't signal until very late, or both. Anyway, I aborted my left turn and swerved back to my lane.

Another case of smart man escaping trouble a wise man wouldn't have gotten into in the first place.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Cycle video day 10.10.2011

Magnatom, a Glasgow cyclist who has lots of videos on youtube has started a cycle video day blog. (Edit: oops, it was magnatom, not gaz545 who did this. Sorry :-) The idea is for a lot of cyclists with cameres to video their ride on the same day. Which was yesterday, so if you hear about it now you're late. Unless you want to cheat a little and post a video from another day.

Yesterday it rained all morning and it looked like I'd have to cheat too. In the afternoon the rain stopped, so I was able to video my ride between 4pm and 5 pm. The sunset was at 6:15pm and it was cloudy, so any later than 5pm, it would soon have been too dark for my crappy MD80 clone. 

Here's a direct link to my Youtube video, if you prefer to watch it there. It's pretty boring. :-D

Friday, October 07, 2011

Hurricane Ophelia Hits Very Northern Florida

Hurricane Ophelia started it's journey about two or three weeks ago at the equator. First it travelled west towards the Caribbean, then turned north and now has crossed the Atlantic. Looking at some maps showing its track, looks like it did not hit Florida. It it possible that we're getting a hurricane that missed them?

The cold sea has sapped a lot of it's strength and what we get is rain and strong winds (15m/s, with gusts over 20m/s).  What makes it interesting is that the media has been telling the storm we have is the remnants of a hurricane, not a normal storm. If the media hadn't told us, I wouln't have known any different. Due to the global wind system, most storms we get come from the west, across the north Atlantic.

 On the bike bridge, the wind from the right forced the cyclists lean 10 degrees to the right to maintain balance. Of course, when I stopped to take a photo there was no cyclists in sight. Dark and gloomy, due to the heavy clouds. The photo was taken just before 6 pm, about half an hour before sunset. Yes, you read that right. Sunrise at 7:44 and sunset at 18:26.

The almost empty racks at the library: it seemed that the rain and strong winds had made people to stay indoors. Then I tried the door and noticed it was locked. All libraries were closed today due to training day.

It did strike me a little odd that there was only a few bikes on the racks, as there was quite a lot people on bikes. Still, I should have realized something was wrong...

 Gotcha! A tree is about to fall over, despite the firm hold it has on the ground. Strong roots do not help if the soil gets turned too.

A view from between two changing cubicles on the Nallikari Beach. I rode there on the way back to see if the waves were impressive. Not so, the wind direction is wrong and the islands break the waves too. This is the same beach I visited on the midnight ride. Only this time you can't see the sunset.

The water in the front is on an asphalt path. I'm not sure if it is rain water or did a storm surge reach that high? The sea level was 1.2 meters above average and flooded some boat docks. The record changes in the sea levels are -1.5m and +2m. That's all due to the winds, as the tide is only a few centimeters here.

Saturday, October 01, 2011

Cycling on the local newspaper this week

Cycling has been the topic of a lot of articles on the local newspaper this week.

Today the road maintenance manager tells us they're ready for the winter. They're stopping the use of crushed stone for gritting the bikeways. The crushed stone has sharp edges and sometimes causes punctures. They're going to use more rounded, filtered sand. The article has a picture from one of the warehouses where they keep the gritting sand.

Another article points out how bad the cycling conditions are in the innermost blocks of the downtown. Most of the bikeways in the downtown are MUPs on the pavement, and they're not very good. Bikeway for a block or two, then it disappears or changes sides. (In a related article they ask how should the signage be improved: paint, signs or what?) High kerbs make cycling on the pavement lanes more difficult unless you're willing and able to hop your bike. So some cyclists decide it's better to cycle on the street rather than the pavements, even though that is against the law.

The articles are good, and the comments are entertaining. I guess it's the same everywhere: in any article where bikes are mentioned, someone will comment about red light jumping, pavement cycling, scofflaw cyclists.

In a more sad news story, a cyclist in Helsinki was biking on the street and got doored. He fell and was hit by a bus and died. This case was newsworthy because of the dooring which is pretty rare here in Finland. Someone getting killed in Helsinki by more usual means (in a collision at intersection or on the roads) would not be big news.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Storm winds decorate the bikeways

Yesterday Very Northern Florida was hit by a storm. It rained, and the wind gusts were over 25 m/s. The winds came from the south and pushed the sea towards the Bay of Bothnia with it. The sea levels rose more than a meter above average, but I've not heard of any damages or casualties at sea.

The wind did some minor damage on dry land. Yes, there was a picture of yet another collapsed scaffolding in the newspaper. Aluminum tube scaffolding is light and easy to build, but due to it's light weight it's easily tipped over by wind.

Some trees fell or snapped in two, the bikeways have plenty of debris on them. Fallen leaves, needles, branches all over.

See the tyres cleaning a path through the debris. :-)

In the photo below, the tree has been cut to smaller pieces with a chainsaw, then dragged into one pile waiting for Mr. Tractor Guy.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

What the roads look like

 A regular road about 10-15km from downtown. Basically all trunk roads on the countryside look like this. There's no shoulder to ride on. The gravel is lower than the edge of the asphalt, so one can't ride there. Cyclists are supposed to ride a little to the left of the white line. There is no alternate route, so I had to ride on this road.

Coming back, just a few kilometers closer to the town. You see streetlights above, although they're for cars, not for cyclists. The shoulder is wide enough to ride on. Still, it's less than a meter wide and this is a 100km/h (I think, I've never driven a car on this road :-) area so it does not feel nice when cars and trucks pass me.

On this strech, I did not have to ride on the road, but I did so to get the photo. There's a bikeway about 100 or 200 meters to the right, closer to the houses behind the trees.

There's no question which route is nicer.

Third Autumn Post

Almost a month since the last post! Well, I've been busy watching "Big Brother 2011" on tv and what time was left I was doing something else.

A few days ago it got below zero C during the night, but that was just the first warning. Today the weather forecast says temperatures between +4 C and +11C and rain for two days, as a low pressure moves over us. Maybe it's just a regular low pressure zone or is it the remnants of one of the hurricanes that hit the east coast of US a few weeks ago?

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Second Autumn Post

Autumn is also a season for mushrooms. When I'm walking the forest looking for berries, it's easy to pick a few mushrooms for example for...

I ate it and I'm still alive: not poisonous.

mushrooms, onions, cucumber, paprika.
...pasta sauce.  This sauce was pretty good. I wonder if I can make it twice. My cooking is pretty experimental, and the results are sometimes not so good.

Yes, the yellow spots are leaves from the trees.
Most of the leaves are still greenish, but some are totally yellow and red already. It's not the cold that turns them yellow, although it can get below freezing at night on a cold day. It's the shortening of the daylight that triggers the  change. Sunrise was today at about 5:50 (am) and sunset is about 21 (9pm).

Some of the newspapers already have articles for cyclists to remind them to check out the reflectors and lights on the bikes. With mornings and evenings getting darker and a lot of kids and students going to schools by bike, they're a good reminder. Sadly some of the articles cointain factual errors, but it's not a very big deal if the reflectors are wrong color or something like that. When they write articles about yielding rules for cyclists, the errors will cause danger for cyclists and confusion for everyone.

Speaking of lights, maybe I should check the batteries in my bike light...

Fishing Bikes from Canals

Somebody had been digging some pipes with an excavator, stirring the water brown. It's not normally that brown. I'm not sure who found the bike, but it had been in the water for a while but not totally rusted.

I stopped and took the photo to prove that the horse poop blog- sorry, I mean cyclingwithoutahelmet :-P is not the only place where you can see bikes fresh from a canal.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Sunny Sunday ride

The weather was great: warm, sunny, just a little bit wind. A lot of people were on the bikes, I was not the only one. Even if there's nobody in the first two pictures:

 With the new buildings came a few new bikeways. These are really new routes, riding them will certainly qualify for LGRAB summer games. Recently the local newspaper told the city has decided the new standard for MUPs is 3,5 meters minimum width, to make it easier to clean them from the snow in the winter. The gap between the bikeway and the street is for snow.

 Saw a train, too. Some new double deckers. The rail company used to have red livery, now they're painting their trains green. Is that greenwashing? :-P

The parking lot of a supermarket on a sunday aftenoon. Note the green asphalt? Here in Very Northern Florida, it's the cars who get painted asphalt, not bicycles. Although I have to admit this was the quieter half of the parking lot. Still, there's not many cars...
but bikes a plenty. I tried to count the cars in the parking lot and the bikes parked in the racks, but that is difficult because they keep moving. There was about 50 cars, and 58 bikes. This is a supermarket which has a huge parking lot, and it's located very conveniently for car commuters to do their shopping. On a sunny sunday most of their customers got there on their bikes. Awesome.