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The View from My Handlebars (on the first really chilly evening of the season)

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I had stopped out for a few drinks with a friend after work this evening. And afterwards was hesitant to run some intended errands, not only because of the beer consumption but mostly because of being ill prepared in dress for the chilly weather. Anyhow, I am really glad I did (as I usually am once I get on the bike). It felt so good to be in the brisk air in the evening. And I really needed to clear my head (about a few things not just from the beer). Anyhow, these are both images of Hoyt lake in Delaware park. It was so peaceful sitting there in the evening snapping these pics. Click either for a slightly larger view.

Urban Simplicity.

Perspective…

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per·spec·tive
n.
a. A view or vista.

b. A mental view or outlook

This blog, in a way, has always been a sort of emotional medicine for me in the public arena. In what I write but also in the photos I post. Like many, I suppose, I have been a worrier since I was a child. Not so much lately but still I do. I know it’s silly, but I still succumb to it. The usual things, but mostly time and money. But when I consciously think about it (and the key word here is think) I know that I have everything I need. Both things–time and money–I really believe, are illusions. While I do not have much at all monetarily, I am wealthy in so many other ways. And when I think about it (again the key word is think) I realize that I am blessed in so many ways. But some days it is so difficult to remember this (I know you are nodding your head in agreement as you read this). The key, I also believe, is thought. The power of thought is so incredible. I personally have experienced this over the years. Two people can look at the same circumstance in completely different ways; to one it may be an obstacle and the other an opportunity. If, for example, I consciously think positive thoughts, most often there is a positive outcome by changing my own reality. This said, I utilize both my camera(s) and bike(s) to help with this. Riding a bike is so simple and carefree…it makes me feel good to have the wind on my face (even in adverse weather) and to use my own body as energy for propulsion. And when I look through a camera it makes me really look at things, and when I do I remember how beautiful everyday scenes are, scenes and things that I may otherwise pass by without giving much thought. These things help me remember that my problems are not real problems at all; it puts things into view; into perspective. 
I took these photos while running errands tonight on my bike; all of them were taken in Delaware Park here in Buffalo. The above photos are of the same view of Hoyt Lake taken 60 minute apart (7:45pm and 8:45pm), and the below two photos were taken in the rose garden just before sunset. Click any for a larger view.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
Philippians 4:8

Urban Simplicity.

Delaware Park at Night

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I was running a few errands this evening and took a shortcut through Delaware Park. It looked so beautiful in the cold blue light of winter (and yes, I was cold taking the photos). Anyhow, as usual I had a camera with me–and my partially functioning tripod–so I snapped a few photos.

Urban Simplicity.

Errands on the Mundo Yuba (and what I saw on the ride)

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I had the day off today and had a bunch of errands to run. The temperature was hovering around 32F, and the sun was out (at least for the first portion of the day). I probably covered about 20 miles (I’m guessing, as I do not have an odometer), taking into consideration the convoluted and meandering route I took home. I have to say that I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that it was a bit of a huff riding that distance on the Yuba (at least on the way home, when the temperature dropped and the winds were blowing against me).

I’ve often used the word “tank” to describe this bike, because it is so solidly built and feels as if it can go through anything. But while I was riding it today it dawned on me that it has more of a “boat feel,” a big cushy boat just gliding along…it is truly a fun and comfortable bike to ride, even with head winds. And no matter what load your carrying (big or small) there is absolutely no sway to the frame or how it steers, granting everything is tied down snug.

Anyhow, about halfway through my jaunt I was feeling depleted and saw this brand new and empty bike rack in front of a Tim Horton’s, so I went in for a caffeine and sugar fix. Coffee is one of my vices.

I was in North Buffalo at the time, and even though this is still within the city limits it really has a suburban feel to it in places, this being one of them. I noticed straight away how not only were there no bikes locked up, but there was a trail of cars leading around the building cued to the drive through window. After parking my bike I went inside and I was literally the only customer inside the shop, the place was bustling but from the outside-in. I’m sure it would have been much faster for many of the people to park their cars and walk into the store; but that’s just it, I guess…they’d have to leave their cars. Here’s a photo with cars leading around the building: car is king. (But for how long, that’s the real question?)

Here’s a photo of one of the bike racks that are replacing parking meters around the city. I had mentioned them in an earlier post comparing them to the bike racks in Toronto. If you’d like to read that post, click here. I am really impressed by them; I think it’s one of the better (and simpler) things our city is doing.


Now here’s what worries me a little. This is a photo of Allen Street. One of the new ticket stations which are replacing the metres is in the foreground, but that’s not what worries me. What worries me is the lack of completed bike racks on all the other headless meters. There’s a completed one next to the ticket station, and than a row of stumps; it’s like that throughout the city…just a smattering of completed bike racks and a whole lot of stumps.

One of the (many) things that I have always enjoyed about riding a bike is that you get to see so much. Take today, for example. I could have completed all my errands in about an hour or so, but instead I took a meandering bike ride (that also included a stop at the health club, lunch, coffee, and and shopping for some staple items). Riding the bike took a better portion of the afternoon, but it was so enjoyable…and I burned calories not gasoline. And I probably would not have gone out of my way to stop and see the demolition of a local landmark (more on that in a minute). What is truly for sure, is that if I were in a car I most certainly not have took a short-cut (a long-cut, actually, because it was out of my way) through Delaware Park. This park is an oasis in the city no matter what season. It was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, who also designed, among others, Central Park, in NYC. Part of the fun to ride a bike through Delaware Park is to go across the curly pedestrian bridge that goes over the highway next to it; the bridge has a corkscrew ramp on both ends.

Here’s a photo of Hoyt Lake from the bridge. By looking at this photo you’d never know that you were in the middle of a city…beautiful.

Here’s a photo of the Yuba at water’s edge.

Now back to the local landmark that I mentioned earlier. I’m of course referring to Buffalo Memorial Auditorium. It was built in 1939 and has seen it’s day. It has been replaced by the HSBC Arena. Almost like an omen, the newer, more modern arena hulks just behind the older one (and almost eerily hulking behind the arena is a grain elevator, reminding us of Buffalo’s history on the Erie Canal.

It’s good that it is being demolished to make way for progress (hopefully to bring some new life into that section of the city), but it’s also bitter sweet for me (and for many, from what I’ve heard). There are, of course, a lot of memories associated with the building. At some point, my late mother, father, and grandmother all worked at the auditorium. Not only did the Buffalo Sabers play there for many years, but there have been numerous concerts. It was, in fact, where I saw my first concert (the Kiss Alive tour of 1975…hey, I was 14!). Anyhow, here’s a facsimile of a postcard of the original Aud (If you are a Buffalonian, that’s what it will forever be called: The Aud.)


Here’s a picture of the front doors from the not-so-distant-past (this is obvious because it’s already boarded up). I, along with countless other drunken or high youths passed that threshold on numerous occasions.

Here is what the front looks like now (note the Mundo Yuba in the bottom of the photo). It looks like a war zone. Alas, bittersweet…bittersweet indeed.

My final note in this post is on the weather, specifically Buffalo weather. When I left the house this afternoon around 12:30pm it was bright and sunny, albeit a little chilly. Shortly thereafter it became somewhat overcast, and it stayed like that for most of the rest of the afternoon. Then, rather suddenly, I noticed it becoming darker. Then a few flakes appeared. And then it was as if angels cut open a cloud full of snowflakes…almost instantly it was snowing to where the flakes blurred my vision (I really do need to get a set of ski goggles). We only got an inch or two of snow before it stopped (which is not even worth mentioning in Buffalo), but it happened so quickly that it took me by surprise…lake effect snow, I suppose. In a car I may have found this annoying, but on a bike, being out in the elements–being part of the elements–I found it truly beautiful.

In Buffalo there’s a saying about the weather: If you don’t like the weather, wait a minute. And today this could not have been more accurate.