Rush and Mendon

Apr 15, 2012 in Photography

wpid-rush-mendon-2012-04-15-16-25.jpgA blog post inspired by cycling but not about cycling notwithstanding the cyclist in the last image in this set.

Many of our bike rides are in this area. A few times we started from Sara and Billy’s place in West-Rush. Then, while we are riding I often see landscapes I want to photograph but I often don’t like stopping to take pictures while riding just for the taking of the picture – the clash between two hobbies. A few days ago there was a really nice sunny day. In the morning before going to work I put the camera plus tripod in the car and then after work drove zigzagging along the country roads trying to re-find what I saw during our bike rides. This is always a bit of a challenge: the much higher speed and the different point of view make it hard to spot the spots.

I was shooting for a while near the two farms on Quaker Road and River Road. A couple of young people were working on the land. After a while they came over. Am I from RIT, one of them asked? Apparently RIT has some agricultural projects in the area. No, I explained, we often ride our bikes in the area making me want to shoot pictures of the landscape, this evening had a nice low stroking light and so…

One shot I had in mind didn’t come together: the sun was on the wrong side. This is near East River and West Rush. When we got through there on our bikes at the beginning of our ride it is (early) morning. Now it is evening…

The photos are in the gallery.

Real Musicians Don’t Need Electricity

May 09, 2010 in Life

HeadSpace.jpg …or maybe just a little of it…

Last night my friend Mark returned to the live performance circuit with his brother-in-law, Jeff. Their acoustic duo is called Head Space. The performance was at the Cottage Hotel in Mendon, according to Mark’s email “a cool, roadhouse kind of joint. Good food, good drinks, ace sound system, and room for dancing.”

Well, that may be so but that was hard to determine at first. I had programmed the address into the GPS. When I got to the 64 & 251 junction it told I was there, I had arrived. However, nothing was to be seen. All was dark. I examined the four corners of the junction, seeing all the cars parked along the right hand corner and trusting that the GPS was right, it had to be the building on that corner. I parked, found the front door, walked in. Plenty of people inside a dark room: the storm had taken out the power in this area. Candles were out, the beer taps were still working: the party is on!

This evening four bands would be playing starting with Head Space. There was some discussion among the musicians: who needed electricity and how much? Someone found a generator, parked it outside the side door. It had just enough wattage to power the sound board, one lamp (so the sound guy could see what dials he was twisting), a few microphones and two loud speakers (one for the musicians so they could hear what they were doing, and one for the audience so we could hear what they were playing).

Mark and Jeff tuned their guitars and started playing. I believe Mark told me they hadn’t performed in years. Must have been a little unsettling to make the come-back under these circumstances. With just the one speaker I don’t think the musicians could hear themselves very well. But they did great playing songs by the Dead and others for about 20-25 minutes. At the end two little girls walked up to Mark seemingly to request a song. “Not sure we can do anything, we played all the songs we know,” Mark mumbled while bending over to hear them out. It turned to be a Happy Birthday song for a family member.

What was a bit sad for Mark and Jeff, but good for the evening, was that the lights came back on just a few minutes after their performance.

You can find the pictures I took in the gallery. I took some by natural light to give you an idea how dark it was while Head Space was playing.

A Flat Ride

Mar 08, 2009 in Cycling

flatride-21.jpgToday we did our second group ride of the season; a bunch of us who call each other fast friends. Yesterday we rode as well – Paul chose ride #130 starting from Mendon Ponds Park circling around for 23 miles. The weather was great, cool not cold and a bit overcast. So afterwards we decided we should ride again on Sunday, today. Paul charged Otto to come up with the route. Otto emailed in the evening that we should do ride #167, also from Mendon Ponds Park (all roads lead to, or rather from, Mendon Ponds Park) starting at 1pm – 1pm so the forecasted rain in the morning had time to clear.

While driving to the park fog descended on Clover Street and covered the park as well. It certainly was more damp and colder than I had thought. I was happy that I threw my winter jacket in the bag just before I left, one great last minute thought, but no hat nor earwarmers, wintergloves, booties. So chilliness was going to be part of the ride. A good group gathered in the parking lot, all fast mile eaters: Wayne, Otto, Dave, Bob, Michelle, Greg, Ginn. No Paul though even after he teased Otto yesterday for not having a ride lined up for Sunday.

flatride-51.jpgOff we are; Douglas and Pond roads out the park and then, and then, huh what? Oh, flat. Bob’s front tire punched on the climb on Pond towards Clover. Three miles done yet still in the park. With Dave’s help Bob performs the operation. A new bike as well and already a flat. Bob’s inflates the tire with Dave’s Morph pump. I have one too in Charles’ suitcase, very good pumps. I’m thinking maybe should bring it on these rides too. In between Bob, Dave and Wayne the outer tire is forced back on the rim. The wheel goes back in the fork and we’re rolling again.

With some left and rights our overall direction is west towards the river. Otto compliments Michelle on her pink pedals. It’s going well, I feel spunky as the British would say and do my turns at the head together with Wayne and Otto. This winter I have been doing spin class once or twice a week and I’m feeling the difference. If nothing else, spinning made me realize how much more efficient my pedal stroke can be. It helps me maintain a better cadence on the flat and also in powering up small hills.

flatride-41.jpgAfter turning off East River road and zigzagging back to Mendon Ponds we turn onto Stoney Brook and I happily power up the incline. Otto and Dave u-turn to catch up the others on the climb, Wayne and I slowly pedal on talking about PBP, Quadzilla, time trails and such matters. I look around, no one in sight. Wayne and I circle back too to find Ginn on the shoulder of the road fixing a flat. The Morph pump comes back to mind and I am thinking I should really take it with me on these rides. Except for Ginn we all take this to be a lunch break and munch on cliff bars, gels and other much concentrated foods. My dad calls these gels “astronaut food”. When he was in the hospital on liquid food he proudly proclaimed being fed the same food as the space station occupants. Ginn completes the procedure and we thank him for his consideration in giving us a lunch break.

flatride-31.jpgThe road slopes down from here. At the end we turn left onto Rush-Lima Road where Wayne has another flat. We covered barely half a mile since “lunch”. Wayne flatted on his ride from home to the park as well. That costed Wayne his spare tube but Ginn gladly donates a tube so that we’re on the go again a little sooner. I should really bring that Morph pump, you know? Wayne notices that this tube has been patched. Several jokes follow about how this increases the weight of his ride. After putting the tire back on Wayne says something like he’s ready to pump while one holds the wheel and someone shouts “We’re Hans and Frans, we want to pump you up!” Universal giggling. Alright, wheel back in the frame. We’re off. Gearing to go because the standing still has made us all very chilly.

flatride-11.jpgRight here we make a right and a short incline on this road. And Bob has another flat. His rear tire this time. Not even half a mile. Bob’s run out of spares. I donate mine but Bob is first intent on fixing the puncture. Not all in the group are really pleased with that extra time investment. The puncture repair doesn’t really work out so Bob takes my tube. He’s pumping the tire with Dave’s Morph and I am so bringing mine next time. Then, bang! The tube was pinched between the rim and the tire and blew out. In one smooth motion Gary reaches in his saddle bag, retrieves his spare and lays it before Bob before even a thought of puncture repair can emerge. We realize we need to consult the Rochester Bike Club policy on whether this constitutes a flat during a ride, will Bob get credit for one or two flats? During all this Ginn has been repairing his punctured tube from 3/4 of a mile ago. Good thinking, at a rate of three flats a mile…

The wheel’s back on, we all clip in, ride! Nothing untoward happens for several miles.

We go down a hill with Otto and me leading. While not very steep or that long suddenly the front of my bike starts to wobble. At the same time I hear some noise behind me but I am focused on carefully slowing down the shaking bike. Not sure what happened, maybe I was too cold and any body shivering was adopted by the bike? Because of that noise I look over my bicycle but nothing seems missing or loose. Turns out that noise was Wayne’s pump coming off his frame hitting his rear wheel. Pump’s broken in two. We’re now close to the roundabout on route 65, via Pond road we make it back into the park and back to the parking lot. Wayne’s without pump, his rear tire is losing air. He still needs to ride home so I borrow him my pump. Now I’ll have to bring that Morph pump on my next ride.

About Mendon Ponds Park

Oct 19, 2008 in Cycling

mendon.jpgA bike ride via Pittsford Village through Mendon Ponds Park, via Williams Road out to Pinnacle and back through the park with a nice coffee break at Starbucks in Pittsford Village. It was beautiful weather so I took it easy and brought my camera with me to take pictures of the autumn scenes.

“Hola!”, I hear you exclaim, “Camera? Pictures? But didn’t you just write that your camera died, passed away? Is this a case of miraculous resurrection, spontaneous healing, perhaps automagical repair? This is puzzling.”

Sadly, the D70 is still broken but I also have a small Pentax point&shoot exactly for rides and travel.

I did bring the Garmin bicycle computer even while this blog post resonated with me. Last year I was without bicycle computer for a while and noticed during the rides I did then how much I look down to the little display on the handlebars. I noticed of course because now there was nothing to look at. It is really a lot; a few times every mile almost. Its presence sometimes skews my plans for a ride: I notice that I am in reach of say a 17 or 18 mph average for the ride and then start aiming for that outcome even while the intention was for a relaxed ride.

Anyways, this was a relaxed ride if for nothing else that I haven’t done a lot of riding the last few months but more precisely the weather and the color of the trees made it so: just pedal and look around.

Pictures in the gallery.

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