There are many things to recommend never getting on a bicycle. It’s potentially dangerous, especially if you ride on the roads; it’s slower than virtually any other form of transport, and the more you try to speed up the harder it gets; you’re exposed to the whims of the weather; and it’s not exactly the most socially accepted activity (particularly if you’re one of those spandex-wearing types, which I am assuredly not). Most people simply can’t be bothered, and with good reason.
That said, I enjoy cycling. It’s relaxing, at least once you get off the more heavily-traveled roads, it’s good exercise, and you get a different perspective on the world, seeing things that might otherwise go unnoticed or never been seen at all. Sometimes it’s nice just to ride and look around without distractions and interruptions, but sometimes you want to stop from time to time and take a photo or two as a reminder of places you’ve found on your bicycle.
I ride a lot during the warmer months. There are a lot of rail trails around here, which makes it possible to cover decent distances without too much time spent dodging drivers too busy playing with their smart phones to notice you or anything else. My trusty Bianchi, my first road bike (a gift from a buddy who got it as a high school graduation gift), has carried me over lots of miles on these trails. On one particular late-summer excursion it also carried my Rollei 35 loaded with Kodak Ektar 100.
The Rollei is about as good a camera for this purpose as I can imagine; it’s extremely compact with its retractable lens, but still allows great flexibility with fully manual controls. The only complaint I could come up with is that it’s a little heavy, but that’s just the weight-conscious cyclist talking. I’ve also carried my Olympus PEN EES2, which is a similar size and works well, though it is limited by automatic-only exposure. When I feel like shooting digital (yes, I admit it), my Canon G12 is about the same size as the Rollei and quite capable.
There are lots of reminders of the long-gone railroad. As much as I enjoy the trails, there’s something depressing about seeing the old bits of railroad paraphernalia along the way.
There are other derelicts along the trails as well. One sometimes gets the impression that they’re riding through the past. But the past is gone, and the things along the trails never let you forget that.
But not all reminders of the past are reminders of things that have gone. Some of the farms are still working, just as they did when the trains still rolled by.
I should take more pictures when I ride. With snow covering the ground outside my window and temperatures hovering in the 20s, it’s nice to be reminded of warm summer days on a bicycle.