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.