Monday, August 04, 2008

Route to Work

All of those videos at, Amsterdamize, etc., have: a) made me wish I lived in the Pacific Northwest again; b) made me really think about the enormous difference between suburban cycling (where the best roads go nowhere) and the kind of city cycling in those videos, where it seems that real stores you need are actually in the town you live in and not on the periphery of it all. With that in mind, I rigged up my video camera to my handle bars and decided to let it roll while I rode my bicycle along my route to work. Since it was Sunday, I wasn't going to work, but I have been riding it every once and a while at different times of day to see how feasible it will be to bike commute a few days a week when my new job starts up. It was a beautiful evening here, no humidity, in the low 80's - high 70's; nice breeze. I am a complete neophyte biker-vlogger, hence my camera's riggings did not prevent the picture from bouncing more than it had to at times, and there is abrupt editing where the camera suddenly rose to the trees or dove to the pavement before I could steady it. The video ends at a stop sign at a stand of pine trees, beyond which lies my new and much happier career. I'd suggest you turn the sound up: the sound of cars whizzing by at speeds higher than marked contrasts with one beautiful and quieter segment of the trip where crickets can be heard in the background. The roads in this video are what would be called quite decent for cycling: there is a wide shoulder in most cases, though I aim the camera low at some points to show how sewer grates and other obstacles can cause one to swerve. If I am lucky enough to have readers from abroad, I should point out that none of these roads have signs or markings asking drivers to share the road with bicycles. A shoulder is not a lane, but a buffer between the car lanes and the land. Recently, drivers have started swerving onto shoulders without signalling in order to answer their cell phones, which they cannot use on the road unless they have bluetooth headsets and "hands free" operation. At one point, you can see a very long and beautiful sidewalk that runs parallel to the road, but not a single pedestrian is to be seen on it (or on my whole route). Enjoy--- and once again, apologies for the quality. I'll learn. Up too late again. Tea. Editing the [bleep] video.


Amsterdamize said...

I think you did great, Cordelia! I have respect for your commute, quite the contrast indeed.

Riding a so-called sit-up-and-beg bike makes it easier for me to film, I take it you ride something else, like a mountain bike?

John B. said...

That was harrowing fun--the whooshing of the cars sometimes makes it seem like you're on the tarmac of an airport. At least you have decent shoulders to ride on for most of the way.

What's the distance from home to work via that route?

Cordelia said...

Hello, Amsterdam ! I hate to admit that I do ride a "sit up and beg bike" (Trek 7.5), but that the tripod I'd mounted was not as secure in action as it was in the testing phase. I have started the process of splitting the video and uploading it to YouTube for a bit of better quality (or at least a bigger picture).

Hey, John: shoutout for being such a loyal reader. Distance from home to work via this route adds one more mile than I'd written about previously. Taking the "country road" (the part where I pause to ride straight across the road with whizzing traffic) allows me to bypass a death-wish left turn and busy road with no shoulder. So 5.8 miles one way. Very worth it in my mind for the relative peacefulness. Truly the slow bike movement: I think my estimated speed was about nine miles an hour!

amsterdamize said...

I understand, always hard mounting it right. Unless I find a cycle version of the car mount installation, I'm sticking to full control by hand :).

Forget YouTube for quality, go Good luck with editing, should seem a hassle now, but here also: excellence by numbers ;)