Sunday, June 28, 2009

A blistering 5mph...

One of the biggest objections to the sharrows on 2nd is that bikes will slow traffic during rush hour or during the weekends. Somehow, the perception is that bikes won't be able to keep up or that the traffic speeds are too great. I decided to film our ride to Trader Joes on a Saturday afternoon.

For the .6 miles through Belmont Shore, we average a brisk 5mph pace. A speed that I'm sure many cyclists can keep up. I think it's plenty obvious that its cars that are slowing cars down and not the bikes.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Official Launch of Sharrows!

The sharrow/stripes have been down for a few days, but the official launch was this morning. Attendance was pretty good and there was lots of excitement in the air. There was some formal speaking from various city folk. Of particular note was Ryan Snyder who is in charge of administering the PLACE grant which funds many of our city's bike projects.

What was striking, for me, about his speech was that he really emphasized that "every street in a sense is a bike lane." This is very important. Not every road will get this sharrow treatment or a bike lane, so it is paramount that the idea that cyclists can use all roads is understood.

I do like the sharrow/stripe treatment very much, but it must be emphasized that they do nothing to change the laws that govern the road. They merely show where it is safe to ride. In essence, EVERY road in the city of Long Beach should be ridden as if you had a sharrow/green stripe.

Another notable moment in the speaking was when Police Chief Anthony Batts acknowledged my ticket as an "evolutionary tool" to help educate police officers. My ticket, if nothing else, has become a teachable moment for the police and cyclists. Of course, I STILL have my ticket and court date to contend with, of which I wish they would just expunge. Simply put, the place where I was riding is now occupied by a big green stripe. It should make any claims that I was somehow breaking the law seem absolutely ridiculous at this point (like 6-foot-wide-green-stripe ridiculous). While, I appreciate the public acknowledgment, I'd really like my ticket nixed. Hint, hint.

Friday, June 26, 2009

More from the Sharrow Cam

After being rudely interrupted at my last attempt at making a Sharrow video, I thought I'd give it another try. I strapped my GoPro Hero Wide cam on the bike and rode up and down several times to get a sense of how they feel. If you haven't tried it, they're wonderful!

I also got some rider reactions about the new sharrows. So watch and enjoy the Sharrow Cam!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Not everyone is Sharrowing the Love

I have to say this morning when Laura and I saw the Sharrows, I felt a strange warm burning sensation in my chest. At first I thought it was cardiac problems, but I just had my physical and checked out OK. It dawned on me that the strange sensation was civic pride. The city did good this morning...but they've just begun.

I happened to have my Flip camera with me and decided to do a little M.O.S. interview with Charlie as they were painting the sharrows. About 30 seconds in, an upset and confused Belmont Shore resident interrupted and vented his frustration at the bold green stripe. The paint isn't even dry yet, mind you.

Not everyone is sharrow-ing the love, but that's to be expected. I wrote a letter to the city on May 15th expressing concern about some backlash from the misinterpretation of the sharrows. Hopefully, the city will make these messages clear to help calm people down.

(Excerpt from letter....)
I've been communicating with DeLong's office re: the Sharrows on 2nd. I really urge that when you guys roll them out and do the press releases you make the following points very clear:

-those lanes were "sharable" by bikes before the sharrows were being put in
-the new sharrows do not take away any rights from motorists NOR do they give bicyclists any special rights, they are just very bold and large visual indicators that bikes can already be legally on the road and they invite cyclists that may not know that right to be on the road.
-the placement of the sharrows (presumably in the middle of the lane) is where the cyclist SHOULD ride, out of the door zone. (Will we have an opportunity to preview their placement to ensure they are indeed out of the door zone?)

Gary has said he has already gotten some blow back from some constituents, most likely because they feel like cyclists are being given special rights or an unfair allocation of road resources. I think to mitigate this response the existing road rights of cyclists should be discussed. This also will start to spread the idea that bikes are allowed on ALL streets in Long Beach (which is important because it will prevent others from getting unfair tickets).

I'm going to defer to Dan and Chris if they have anything to add, but I think we're all in agreement that it's important to note these things, so motorists understand that 1) we're not taking anything away from them 2)bikes are allowed to ride on roads where there isn't the benefit of sharrows as well.


LBC Gets Sharrows and a Big Ass Green Stripe

Today felt like Bizarro World today as Laura and I were riding through Belmont Shore. We were greeted with a big ass green stripe with Sharrows! They were still in the process of painting the sharrow symbols so I didn't get to try it out. I did run into Mr. Gandy, our new mobility coordinator, and talked a little about them.

So far, I have to say that I'm impressed. They were put in the middle of the lane so they are visible. The big ass green stripe helps too :) Now, it's time to watch the chaos unfold as Belmont shore residents, business owners and cyclists try to figure out what the heck is going on.

And just to be a nag, I'd like to say that I was given my ticket EXACTLY where the big ass green stripe is. There you go Officer Wharton, that's what I meant by sharrow and it's there because it's the SAFEST place to be on the road. And like I mentioned during our roadside discussion, cyclists can occupy the center of the lane when they feel it is dangerous (like in Belmont Shore with substandard lanes and the threat of opening car doors).

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Summer Solstice @ Long Beach Organics

I brought the LX3 out to a small Summer Solstice fair at a community garden around Loma and 10th. Laura had a booth and was selling jewelry, bringing everything by bike and trailer. There was music, food and a cake walk! The space was pretty amazing with lots of greenery and sunflowers. It didn't feel like we were in the middle of Long Beach at all.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Lumix LX3 in Pano and BW

I sold my G10 this weekend to a blog reader and budding bike tourist. To replace the PnS gap, I ordered a Lumix LX3 a few days ago and it came in on Friday. I had the opportunity to test a review sample a few weeks ago and was pretty impressed with it. It doesn't do everything I'd like it to do, but it does several things well. Namely, give a nice wide angle and a 2.0 lens. I did a little walkabout with Laura this evening and took some snaps playing with the 16:9 aspect ratio and shooting it in BW mode. Nothing too spectacular but a good test of the low light capabilities. It does a pretty nice job.

These shots were done in ISO 400, Manual mode with the settings around f2 at 1/4th leaning against a tree or a railing. Grainy/noisy but acceptable. I've shot these exact shots with a Leica M2, Tri-X and Rodinal and printed on Ilford fiber paper. Hard to tell how well the digital matches up until I see a print, but off the screen it looks rather promising!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Architects of Long Beach

Shot some portraits of some local architects in LB today. It was a pretty neat assignment meeting the people behind some of the buildings and public spaces in the city. It also made for an interesting visual puzzle to include them in the spaces they designed.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Some thoughts on photography...

I got an email today from someone that was asking for some photography tips. I'm by no means an expert, but I thought I'd share a few things I learned over the years:

hey, everyone starts somewhere...i didn't take any classes (majored in literature in college)...the best thing you can do to learn is look at LOTS of good the masters..i was heavily influenced by photojournalist...for me, I spent hours and hours looking at every photo on and bought up a ton of photo books...

all the technical stuff is easy, it's the seeing thats difficult. that said, any entry level DSLR is pretty good these days. I like Nikon, so I'd lean towards something like the D40x or D5000. A basic kit lens is plenty to learn on.

Heck, I'm back to using point and shoot cameras for somethings! This gallery was all from a Lumix LX3 PS camera.

the fastest way to learn is to look at a lot of good photos and shoot a lot of bad ones. just accept your first 5000 photos aren't going to be that great. what you're training is the muscle memory of your eye/brain. if you shoot digital, you don't have to be so precious with film and can shoot tons. that said, think before you shoot.

as a photog, you're never a completely passive fly on the wall. you're not just "capturing the moment" like someone running around with a butterfly net. a photo is just as composed as a painting or sculpture just happens to take place in an instant.

granted, it helps when something interesting is happening. however, i've done jobs where NOTHING is happening and i still have to make a photo if I want to get paid.

anyway, I hope that helps!

Best of luck,

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

LX3 vs G10

The ultimate point and shoot showdown : ) I wrote a review of the two cameras on Epicurean Cyclist. Read it and find out which is once and for all the ultimate point and shoot.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Long Beach's New Hope

Today I did a portrait session with Charles Gandy, Long Beach's new mobility coordinator.

Could this mean brighter days for bicycling in Long Beach? I hope so. Many know I've tried to be involved with the city in several ways that haven't come out to much. I hope Charlie can be the agent of change the city needs. I've met with him a few times and he seems to "get it." When I visited him at his cubicle he had his bike parked inside and it wasn't there just for show or to trot out at the occasional bit of political theater.

He rides. He commutes. And for once, in a long while, I have hope. Let's see if he can pull it off.

(For the strobists out there, I shot it with two Nikon SB-28s on two separate lightstands, one slightly lower than the other so I could get full body coverage. Strobes were dialed to about 1/8th power, D300 was at its lowest ISO setting, shutter was around 250-400 to overpower the sun. I positioned him with the sun to his back to add as a rim light.)

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Carter's 2nd...

Finished the post, yay! Lots of great images to choose from (doesn't help that Carter is pretty cute to begin with!).