Saturday, September 29, 2012

An early basket cam

The grandmother of helmet cams.

Helmet cam dead

My helmet cam died. I bought it in May and it died. Fortunately, the manufacturer has offices in Seattle so I was able to swap the dead for the undead. The manufacturer, Contour, has a decent web site, though no sign of a phone number anywhere. I had to do all the correspondence via email. I recognize it's a new era in communications, but as far as I'm concerned, good customer service means a phone number and a live human at the other end.

I felt a little naked without the camera while I pedaled to and from work the past few days. I witnessed some stupid moves by automobile drivers and bicyclists, and was aware that I wasn't capturing it on video.

Last weekend, two friends and I pedaled the Chief Sealth Trail, a short and hilly trail though south Seattle, mostly along the path of power lines. When Link light rail was being constructed, the contractor moved the removed soils to this power line area to build the trail. 

No helmet cam; had to take a still shot. Brutal!

Carol Milne and Joline El-Hai are excellent bicycling companions. We move at about the same speed. This photo was taken in the middle of the P-Patch just north of the Rainier Beach Station.

We're now talking about doing a longer, multi-day bike ride next spring, someplace out of the area.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

It's dark out...

I leave the house around 5:30 in the morning. My husband walks me out, and watches my early morning ablutions:

  1. Pull my cell phone out
  2. Turn on CycleTracks and begin a trip
  3. Put my cell phone in my pocket
  4. Attach the camera to the top of the helmet and turn it on
  5. Turn on the back light
  6. Turn on the BikeGlow
  7. Turn on the head light
  8. Put on gloves
  9. Kiss the spouse
  10. Take off

It's now dark out for most of my ride in, which isn't a bad thing. I like riding through city streets while most other people are still snug in their beds. They're snug in their beds, so they're not out driving and keeping me on hyper-vigilance.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Familial reminders in downtown Seattle

There are lots of places in downtown Seattle that remind me of my family, as I pedal around. My grandfather, an architect, worked on a number of buildings downtown prior to his death during the Great Depression. My mother worked at the original Kress grocery store in the 1930s. My parents met at General Electric in downtown.

But one thing I think about almost every day is the story of my cousin Ernie Schlesinger and the Frye Hotel. When he was 14 in 1940, Ernie and his parents were able to leave Nazi Germany through the one route that remained open for Jews, across Europe, Russia, Asia and finally to Japan, from where they sailed to Seattle. 

Ernie's mother, Kate Munter Schlesinger, had contacted my great aunt, Hulda Munter in Spokane, Washington, and asked for assistance in getting out of the country. Hulda sponsored the Schlesingers, and so when they landed in Seattle, they were met by family.

Seattle Times - August 4, 1940

The Schlesingers spent their first night in the United States at the Frye Hotel. Every day on my bicycle ride into work, I remember this because I pass the Frye, right before I drop down into the International District.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The altar of "Don't hit the bicyclist!"

It's dark in the morning, on my ride in. Fall's quickly approaching. The evening ride home is still light and not too hot.

Tonight on the ride home, I saw two police officers on bikes...

I wonder what they thought of me, a chatty, overweight middle-aged bicyclist with head lights and tail lights flashing all over the place, as if all my lights are little candles burning at the altar of "Don't hit the bicyclist!"

Bicycling does make it easier to talk to strangers. It's kind of like a free pass to engage people I wouldn't normally if I'm in my car or walking. I feel quite comfortable, when I'm on my bike, telling a motorist about their brake lights being out, or talking to other bicyclists on the commute, or chatting up bus drivers when we're both stopped at a signal.