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La Neige…

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Urban Simplicity.

Brrr…

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Ok. So we are not alone in this. Like much of the north eastern US, we here in Buffalo are gripped with cold and snow. Did I mention cold? For my friends across the pond 7F translates to almost -14c. Anyhow, it is cold. And it’s gonna get colder (check out tomorrow’s low). It’s interesting though, even though I had to get off at a few points and actually push my bike (even with the studded snow tires) it still felt good being on a bike and out in the elements.   

Urban Simplicity.

Things that can be Carried on a Bike (#557 & #558)

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#557 (above)…Construction debris on its way to a dumpster.

#558 (below)…$110 in groceries, sundries, and dog food.

Urban Simplicity.

A few thoughts about riding a bike in the winter, and the view from my kitchen window…

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The above image is the view from the kitchen window from where I am employed. It was snowing rather heavily and when I looked out the window at one point I thought that it was as pretty as a picture…so I took one.

Anyhow, as mentioned in a previous post, I’ve actually driven a car for the past two days (car share). So today when I go back on a bike it felt good, really good. I really love being out in the elements (ok, rain…not so much); I love the feel of the cold winter wind and flakes falling. I also love the fact that I am both the motor and the cargo. And having new studded snow tires made it even more fun.

Urban Simplicity.

Buffalo Creek on Christmas Day

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Yesterday and the day prior I drove a car (yup, it’s true…Buffalo Car Share). Two of my sisters live about 25 miles from me and this is the best way to get to them on a cold Christmas day. Anyhow, I used the opportunity to snap a few photos along the way. All of the photos are of Buffalo Creek. The two immediately below were taken from the bridge pictured above which crosses the creek on Blossom Road in Elma. When I was a kid (teenager) friends and I would swim in this creek in the summertime and have wild parties there at night (the stories I could tell). And the bottom two photos were taken on the bank of the creek at Charles Burchfield Park in West Seneca.

Urban Simplicity

Things That Can be Carried on a Bike (#552)

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Two boxes of food on their way to a local food pantry.

Urban Simplicity.

The view from my handlebars on a really frigid and snowy night on my short commute home and a few things I saw along the way…

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Urban Simplicity.

Another view from my handlebars…

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This was the view before me on my very short commute to work this morning. Incredible, right? Magnificent. I was so glad and thankful to be on a bike for this. To be in the open and feel the cold air on my face…for my body to be chilled a little; to see this first hand.

Urban Simplicity.

The View from my Handlebars…

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Urban Simplicity.

First Snow…

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Urban Simplicity.

Things That Can be Carried on a Bike (#466)…and a very brief comment

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On the bike…boxes of food (quiche, dinner rolls, muffins, etc.) on it’s way to a local food pantry.

So okay, I generally love the snow, I really do. But (always a but), this is going on a bit too long this year. If you are reading this from the same area of the world in which I reside (the northeastern US) you likely remember last winter were it–for all intense purposes–failed to snow the entire winter. Now this winter just keeps going. Notice the white diagonal streaks in the photo…those are tiny sharp little hail balls (really tough on the face and eyes while riding), which of course was the precursor to a brief lake effect snow. Nonetheless, I did enjoy it (I like the challenge of riding in it; the sense of accomplishment of using my own power to get myself and other stuff from point A to point B). It’ll be summer be for we know it…

Urban Simplicity.

Things That Can be Carried on a Bike (#456), and Two Views from My Handlebars

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On the bike…two bottles of red wine and a gym bag containing wet clothes.

The views…directly below is a view of Allen and Elmwood, an intersection I usually cross multiple times a day. It was/is cold and wet. Not freezing cold, but halfway freezing. The temp is just above freezing and it has been sort of snow-slush-raining for most of the evening. I was glad I didn’t have too far to travel in it. Below is an image I took as I approached my house…just raised the camera skyward and snapped a shot with the flash on to capture the big heavy flakes.

Urban Simplicity

Things That Can be Carried on a Bike (#449) and a couple pictures of snow.

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On the bike…a canvas bag containing two books, a camera, and some papers. A paper bag containing various food leftovers. 

Western New York got hit with heavy snow today, but not nearly as much as our friends on the eastern seaboard. It wasn’t that cold so the snow was heavy–big heavy flakes–and it stuck to everything, including the trees. This type of snow (the heavy, wet stuff) I find is easier to ride a bike in…the tires have more traction than when it is light and really freezing. This is when it’s fun…

Urban Simplicity.

Winter Riding Tip…

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Okay. So if you are an all-weather cyclist you likely already know this. I do have a tendency to state the obvious (or at least the known), and for that I apologize in advance. But I read somewhere years ago, and it’s something that I found out really works, is that if you lower the pressure on your tires (ever so slightly) you will get better traction in the snow. The theory behind this is that more tire will be touching the ground (or snow). You don’t want to deflate them so much that it is difficult to ride or dangerous…just a bit that it’s barely noticeable (air, I’ve also read, naturally compresses when it’s cold, thus the tires lose a little pressure on their own when the temps drop). Anyhow, I just thought I’d pass this on. I’d also be interested in hearing if other winter cyclists have tried this or have other tips.

Urban Simplicity.

Photos of a Mid-Winter’s Dusk…

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Urban Simplicity.

Things That Can be Carried on a Bike (#440)…and a quick note

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On the bike…a cardboard box and plastic soda crate containing a gym bag full of wet clothes and nearly $70 in groceries (is it just me or have groceries become really expensive in the past year?).

Just a quick note…I’ll be away from my computer for the next 4 or 5 days so I’ll likely not be posting until next week sometime (unless I find the time and a wireless hotspot). Anyhow, thanks as always for sticking with me; be back soon…

Urban Simplicity.

Things That Can be Carried on My Bike (#439), a Brief Comment, and the View From My Handlebars

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On the bike…a canvas bag containing two books, and a journal. A plastic dough rising bucket. A camera bag containing an extra camera. two loaves of freshly baked whole wheat bread.

So last week we received our “big snow,” the most snow we’ve had in a couple years. And what’s keeping it hanging around for so long are the temperatures…it has been frigid. And when you’re an all-weather cyclist this means not only staying warm but more importantly being fully aware of the riding conditions. The main roads are in pretty good shape, but the side streets are still a mess…inches of loose or packed snow with divots, gullies, or small mounds; unexpected ice patches and other hazards. Today when I came home from work as I pulled in front of my house and onto the sidewalk there was the thinnest coating of ice; so thin I couldn’t see it. When I tapped the brakes the bike slipped out from under me before I knew what was happening. It was a warning, I thought, for me not to take the road (or sidewalk/pavement) conditions for granted. Not withstanding, it still felt really good to be out on a bike in the crisp air (I really enjoy the clean feel it offers). But still I couldn’t help but think of the road conditions as I pedaled into tonight’s dusk. And that was what I was contemplating as I snapped the below photo.

Urban Simplicity.

Things That Can be Carried on a Bike (#438), the View From My Handlebars, and a Brief Comment

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On the bike…a gym bag full of wet clothes, a canvas bag containing–among other things–two books, an extra camera, and four batteries. And also, approximately $20 in groceries and a new neti pot.

A brief comment…The below photo is of Bidwell Park here in Buffalo. And today was cold, really cold. It has been colder, but with the mild weather we’ve had last year and the first half of this winter I’ve become a wimp. As I type these words my computer tells me that it is 11F/-11C outside (and I think it’s interesting that 11F equals -11C). It was cold on the bike today, that’s all I’m saying….

Urban Simplicity.

Things That Can be Carried on a Bike (#437)…and a brief comment

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About $30 in groceries, a gym bag full of wet clothes, and two bottles of red wine.

It is difficult to tell but the bike is locked to a city-installed bicycle rack which were installed on hundreds of parking meters (and also free-standing) around the city in the past few years. This is awesome…excellent! I always have somewhere to lock my bike. Well, most of the time. Do you see all the loose snow around the bike; that is because in order for me to get to the bike rack I had to kick snow away from it…it was all but buried in snow. This, I suppose would not be frustrating if this were a rare occurrence, but it’s not. Businesses plow their lots and shovel and salt their sidewalks (pavements) but entirely neglect the areas for bikes. I stopped at a chain store yesterday (doesn’t matter which one, they’re all the same) to see the parking lot and walkway around the store wiped clean, but the bike parking area…yup, you guessed it, 12 inches of snow. As I pulled my bike through the snow up to the rack I could see an armed guard (yes, and armed guard!) who looked to be much younger than I and in much better shape, standing outside talking on a cellphone watching me. When he hung up the phone I asked him if there were a shovel in the store I could use to shovel out the bicycle parking area. Everywhere else is clean down to pavement, why should I have to stand in snow nearly up to my knees to lock my bike, I also said. After a long and bewildered pause/stare (and a look that said he thought I was a bit crazy), he told me that I’d have to speak to the management. So while inside the store I stopped a young clerk and also asked for a shovel. He apologized and said that no need, he would go shovel it, and that he understood because he himself rode a bike. Today I passed the same store and it was still not shoveled. You can see that this obviously annoys/upsets me…and it did for a while. But rather than letting it upset me I’ve decided to carry a small shovel on my bike (which would be really easy to do) and if needed shovel the bike racks/parking areas as needed. It would take a maximum of two minutes. Hopefully an armed guard won’t draw his gun…

Urban Simplicity.

Playing with Light (in the cold)

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A few weeks ago I finally purchased my first dslr camera. It’s used but still in great shape and takes really good photos (the evidence is in front of you). When I was younger I was really into 35mm cameras (specifically this one). I would take road trips specifically to take photos. Then, as I got a bit older and accumulated responsibilities and started to take things a bit too seriously, photography was one of my hobbies (art forms) that gradually got pushed aside. Though in recent years–with the advent of the digital camera, but more importantly when I decided to start taking care of myself again–I’ve rekindled my love of viewing the world through a camera lens. But until recently I’ve only used point-and-shoot cameras, which I still use and love. Then recently I purchased the used dslr–which is the digital equivalent of a 35mm, I believe–and a whole world has opened up to me. Anyhow, and to cut to the chase, I went out for a cold walk with my camera and tripod to take some night shots and play with the light/shutter settings…the result are these photos. It’s interesting, I think, how warm the colors are but how cold it is outside (25F/3.8C)…sort of like looking through night vision goggles. Anyhow, I thought I’d share a few of them.

Urban Simplicity.

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