Sunday, 14 October 2018

I want to ride my bicycle

I'm on my own while Matt travels the world for the next two weekends.

To go out or stay in and if I do go out, where to go; are the questions I ask myself in this situation. I nearly always get out on the bike with only a little wavering. Except if it's raining, and cold. So I stayed inside and wrote this blog watching the wind blow the rain nearly horizontally across the garden.

rain on the windowI went out yesterday and it was great weather; I was looking forward to the same today despite the forecast. Hence the title of the post; I wanted to be on my bike.

A quick internet search suggests the lyrics could mean almost anything you want. The world wide web can appear to be just a collection of strongly held opinions on every subject. Most are vehemently supported and vigorously defended. To the point that a discussion can quickly degenerates into pointless personal attacks. I rarely post my opinions, it's just not worth the hassle of justifying them to potentially closed minded people who hide behind their computer's. There are only a few people with whom I would share my thoughts; I know them personally, and we have discussed our views face to face in the past. Most of the time I just move on.

It is a shame that a tool putting most of human knowledge at the fingertips of so many causes so much division. Discussions become polarised faster than face to face exchanges are likely to.

The internet can be a force for good against injustice, it's why some countries either censor or block access to it.

It can also bring people together, in a way not possible before.


“Look after yourself and each other” 

-- Jerry Springer




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Saturday, 13 October 2018

Barriers

I was on my own this morning, it meant my mind wandered as the miles passed under my wheels.
I was headed for the churchyard, the long way. I needed quiet roads, you can't switch off but you can chill out. Nearing the end of the lane I came across a fallen tree, it completely blocked the road.

fallen tree cycling

I had a choice, try to pass through or under it or turn around. It wasn't too difficult to pick my way through and I was quickly on my way

It got me thinking about life and the many barriers we face. They aren't all physical.

Some are for good reason, rules and laws are there to protect us and set limits.

Then there are those set by people to bar entry or achievement of others.

Both of these forms of barrier can be challenged if they are unfair or discriminatory, people can do it on their own or get together in groups. It's not easy but we do live in a country that allows it. I'm thankful for the struggles of others who have ensured this is the case.

The hardest barriers to conqueror may be those we create ourselves. Those voices that say we can't do something, or we don't deserve it, we're not good enough. I have many and each one I struggle with almost daily. It's tough because I don't talk about them, I don't want to be a burden or bother people. There is a worry I will be judged; damn it's that voice again. Everybody is the same, I guess some deal with it better.

I try not to allow myself the choice to turn around or give up when faced with a barrier; I force myself to attack it head on. My photography is proof of that, and a way to remind me what I can do. Meeting a new person isn't easy, a photoshoot is normally just the subject and me, I get more than just pictures from the session. They show me the voice that says don't do it can be silenced, at least for a while. Each time it gets easier to quieten or ignore it. The barrier gets a little smaller.

With the loud one silenced I can hear the other voices that says I can, I deserve it, I am good enough. Why are they so small and quiet most of the time?

With each victory over the louder voices my goals become a little more achievable, it might still be a struggle.

But it is possible.


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Saturday, 6 October 2018

misty morning

cycling mist field

All week rain had been forecast for today, but as is often the case the reports changed and it was dry this morning. As I left the house it was a bit misty, so lights were needed for the first time in many months.

We met as usual at the green, it was a little later than normal and the mist had thickened to dense fog. The extra traffic and poor visibility meant the best option was the slow way to the bus stop. We were passed by a few other cyclists, surprisingly a lot of them had no lights. Worse; a lot of cars either had no lights or just the parking lights illuminated. They loomed out of the fog and disappeared very quickly as they drove away.

We watched them from the bus stop and discussed the apparent dumbing down of the general population. When we were younger, it was rare to see someone without their lights on in poor weather, adult cyclists were mostly road based and always stopped at red lights.

Away from cycling, no-one is to blame for what happens to them, they would much rather abdicate responsibility to others; the government mostly. People are overweight so we get the sugar tax, NHS funded weight loss surgery and all the other schemes that mean people can say, it's not my fault. If you are taking responsibility, and making changes yourself, I salute you. People weren't forced to start smoking. What is the world coming to?

Not much much else was said, the rest of the day had to start. Just the picture to take for the blog. Always a creative challenge when we are at one of our regular locations.

As we prepared to leave a cyclist arrived and sat down beside us. This doesn't happen very often, a guy on a recumbent once stopped for a chat, and Dawes Galaxy as we called him was a semi regular visitor. Most Saturdays he cycles from Biggin Hill to his mum's in Walligham, often stopping at our bus stop. It's weird to think, just after we leave, someone else is there. An new member of NVL?

He left and shortly after so did we. Hopefully tomorrow will be clearer, maybe we can cycle further.

Misty morning, a less well known Bob Marley song. Why do radio stations only play two or three of his records, over and over again?

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Saturday, 22 September 2018

The big buzz


cycling big buzz funfair
I get a buzz from cycling, overcoming the challenges of steep hills is part of it.
Unfortunately it was a solo ride this morning, and as is usual when this happens, I couldn't decide if I wanted to go. Much easier to stay in bed a little longer. But get up I did; so now I had to think where to go, and on which bike. Yes dear reader, I have a road and mountain bike. I knew I didn't fancy off road but that didn't rule out the MTB, the poor state of local roads means it more comfortable than the light but stiff road bike. Oxted was to be my destination; along a route Matt and I have, I think only done once. The reason is a steep hill. I didn't remember it exactly but I knew it was one of the steepest we had climbed. As I descended it became clear that it was steeper and longer than I remembered. No stopping now though, Oxted was beckoning. I kept the speed down, it was narrow and twisting. I'm no adrenaline junky, it hurts too much if I fall off.

cycling speed dodgems funfair
I rarely attain super speed
The pics on this post are of a funfair I passed on Oxted green. They look a little like they are sleeping without the lights and the noise, resting before the next night of excitement.

The problem with going down a hill is that you have to come go back up. As I left the green on my way home the sign at the bottom of the hill said 20%. This is definitely the steepest I have climbed. This is where the extra gears of the MTB make the climb easier. I think I may have struggled on the road bike.

What I do find weird about the steepness signs is that they don't always seem right. I am sure other hills are similar to this one, but their percentages aren't as high. Maybe they should rate the climb and use a face that gets redder the worse the hill is. This would not only take into account how steep, but how long the climb is. Also if there were flatter bits where you could get your breath back the rating would be less severe.

Here is the cyclemeter log of the ride.

Not the longest ride, but a hilly one.



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Saturday, 15 September 2018

graffiti

leeke street graffiti

The outfit chosen for the first location emphasised Xandria's stature with big heels and tall hair. The fluorescent top looked good against the busy graffiti background of Leeke St. It was a challenge to photograph in this dimly lit area. There were spotlights in the roof to pick out areas of the wall, which although not bright helped. I was glad to see them as I planned where we would shoot.

leeke street graffiti model

leeke street graffiti model

leeke street graffiti model


The second outfit, a colourful jumper, needed a clearer background so we went outside to a park. The tunnel had required the use of a flash with a 24-70mm f2.8 zoom lens. With more room I changed to an 80-200mm f2.8. This is a great portrait lens if you can step back a bit. I know in a previous post I mentioned the 85mm f1.8; the consensus being that this and the 50mm are default portrait lenses. But the way the telephoto zoom gives separation from the background is brilliant. It helped to make Xandria standout. I use it as much as I can.

model bright jumper

model bright jumper standing

This meant I was some way from Xandria, which can mean you lose connection. Pausing to show Xandria the pictures and discuss the next shot more often than normal ensured we stayed connected. It was a busy area but no-one walked into shot, everyone saw what we were doing and paused before walking between us.

We were near the river so I suggested we use that as a backdrop. To get there we passed a carousel, I couldn't resist using it.

model bright jumper standing carousel


model bright jumper standing thames

model bright jumper standing thames


As with the previous shoot, Xandria's mum set the style and Xandia and I worked well together to deliver her ideas. It is a joy to work as part of a good team.

Now that the weather is becoming colder and less predictable further shoots may have to wait until the spring. Which is a shame.


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