Tag Archives: Trail

The Photo Biker

I have been a photo enthusiast since my dad gave me a camera at around age ten. At eighteen I would bring my camera to parties. I know everyone takes pictures at parties now but in 1981, I was the only one doing it. Back then I was not interested in quality, only memories.

When I was around twenty-four my, dad gave me his Canon F1 camera, which was top of the line back then. My best friend Rick, who was in photography school,  taught me the basics, which got me interested in fine photography. That fall I took a photography class at the community college, which I loved. I took another class in the spring before moving to Florida. Money issues then stopped me from continuing that path but I never stopped enjoying it. You can see some of my photographs here.

When I moved back to Florida recently, I had difficulty finding a job and only worked part-time for a while. I have a Canon T1i that I would take on bike rides to nearby nature parks or I would ride along the Gulf looking for a good picture opportunity.

Pilings at Edgewater Park, Dunedin, Florida

Not far from downtown Dunedin, FL. Would have been a better photo at high tide.

As I mentioned in another post, you see a lot more while riding a bicycle than you would driving a car. Because of that, I almost always carry a camera with me. You probably would not have guessed that by the very few pictures I have put on this blog, but I plan to do better.

My Canon is too big to take to work so I have a little 12 megapixel Fujifilm XP20 camera that I keep in my pocket. It is waterproof, shock proof (although I have not tested that), dust proof and probably other proofs too. The pictures are not as good as the Canon but they are good enough and it has HD video that is easy to use.

I had this camera with me when I saw an unusaul looking turtle crossing the bike trail. I thought about stopping and taking its picture but I didn’t because a turtle on pavement was a boring, un-natural picture. I regret it now because I later searched online to see what breed it was but couldn’t find it. Who knows. It may have been super rare and I could have proven it’s existance…Or not.

I did get a chance to use my camera last week. I have been blogging about a rooster that lives on our property (romeorooster.blogspot.com) that had been missing for a couple of weeks until I spotted him on my bike behind a nearby plaza. He was standing next to a duck, which was also seen on our property, and her ducklings. I was able to use the photos I took in my next blog post.

My hope here is to inspire people to bring their camera with on their next bike trip. Even if you take no pictures, just having it with you causes you to notice things that you may not have paid attention to before.

Thanks for reading and if you have any photos taken while riding, I would love for you to share the link.

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Back on the Road Again

It has been ten days since my last ride to work and it feels good to get back on the bike again. I was held up by a persistent afternoon rain that I thought would never end. Finally, yesterday, I was able to ride my bike again.

I thought the time off would be a problem but I made it to work in under 75 minutes, my fastest time. Now just to be clear, I think competing against myself could be good but I don’t want to worry too much about improving. I want to focus on enjoying the ride.

I did go out with my wife on Saturday. It was her first chance to ride her new bike so we decided to ride to the park. We got less than five minutes down the road and had to turn around because she was complaining about her butt hurting. I said she should buy a recumbent.

I got a new iPod Shuffle for my birthday, which I listened to yesterday. It is so much better than my last one, which was the 3rd generation Shuffle. That one had all the controls on the earphones which was a stupid idea. I had to replace them twice at $30 apiece because my cat chewed them (see http://badcatchris.com). The last set I lost, so I can’t blame the cat for that. This new iPod has the controls back on the device. We decided to take a trip to Germany next year so now I will be able to listen to German lessons.

I like riding because see some pretty interesting things on a bike that I would miss in the car. I always see rabbits on the bike trail but yesterday I saw a turtle with some interesting markings. I looked online but could not find one that looked like it. Maybe I will see  it again.

Where are the Bikers?

On my ride to work on Thursday, just after I passed the entrance to the trail and before I noticed my mistake, I passed a man even older than me on a recumbent bike. We waved as we passed like we were two guys riding Harleys.

After I realized my mistake and found my way to the trail, I started thinking about the odds of running into another recumbent bicyclist. I wasn’t sure if seeing one on an eleven mile trip was good or bad. It occurred to me then that I saw very few people on bicycles, including on the bike trail. I estimated the number between five and ten.

Pinellas Trail
Pinellas Trail (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

That seemed strange because I recently lived in Dunedin, on the causeway that leads to Honeymoon Island. There, the Pinellas Trail crosses very close and even has an extension along the causeway. We had to be very careful every time we drove because there was a steady stream of pedestrians and cyclists. In contrast, I saw only one bicycle rider on the portion of the Upper Tampa Bay Trail that I was on.

On the way home I decided to count. I saw two cyclists on the trail and four more off the trail. That is just over one for every two miles traveled. Why is north-west Tampa so bike-free compared to west Pinellas County? I understand the appeal of the Pinellas Trail but does nobody own a bike in Tampa?

Finally a chance to ride!

At last, the weather was dry enough today to ride my bike to work. I wanted to record some health factors so I can compare it a few months from now. I am 6’2″ tall (hopefully that won’t change) 227 pounds and my resting heart rate is 60 bpm. I wanted to take my blood pressure but I can’t find my blood pressure machine, or whatever you call it. (Can you tell I don’t work in the medical field?)  When I do I will post it, although it has always been pretty low.

It took me 90 minutes to ride the ten miles to work but I think it was more like eleven miles this morning because I rode past the entrance to the Upper Tampa Bay Trail and didn’t realize it for a half mile or so.The ride went better than I expected considering I used to ride only four miles to work and I haven’t done that since I moved in November.

Upper Tampa Bay Trail

Since than my bike has sat in the closet because I was sure my back couldn’t handle a longer ride.That is why I bought the recumbent and it worked because I had no trouble with my back when I got to work. I also did not feel tired or sore.

I did however feel a little pain in my butt as I got closer to work. I was surprised by that, given the big cushy seat, but I suppose that will get better when I get used to it. The only other problems I noticed is that the steering seems a little loose and there is a slight clicking noise that I can’t identify…yet.

The return trip was the killer. I don’t know why it was that much harder but I was pretty worn out with over two miles to go. As I got close to home my butt really started hurting and my fingers and toes were tingling. When I finally stopped and stood up the muscle in front, above the knee of my right leg (more evidence – see above) cramped up and I could barely push the bike inside. That only lasted 30 seconds or so and I felt fine afer that. I think I will rest tomorrow and ride to work again on Tuesday, weather permitting.

I noticed something unusual today but I think I will save it for next time.