“Look what I found,” commented my Most Frequent Riding Partner as he stepped across my threshold recently. “In a free box on Fourth Street in Berkeley.” Held out for my appraisal was a black digital Olympus camera. TOUGH, it read on the side. Hm! A new camera for bike rides! Maybe that would get me out on my bike, I thought… Since the rainy December 200k, somehow I hadn’t found the motivation to ride too much. I had planned to ride my Mount Tam to Moscow 300k route in late December, but that was before alltherain came. During and even after alltherain, MFRP and I delighted in clinking our glasses full of craft brews while watching other people ride bikes–namely, Fem Van Empel, Puck Pieterse, Shirin Van Androoij, Ceylin Del Carmen Alvarado, and so many others, on northern Europe’s cyclocross courses. Puck Pieterse has been posting fun videos on her youtube channel of herself pre-riding the various courses with her friends. The amazing thing to me has been that so many of the races have been up for grabs! They are all excellent riders, so the races are exciting to watch. I loved seeing Fem Van Empel pause at the finish line of the first race she won with her new kit, as a newly-signed member of the Jumbo Visma team. I hope she goes on to ride the Tour De France Femme this year for Jumbo Visma, next to veteran teammate Marianne Vos!
Okay, well, back on Planet Rando… January days off started to run low when I finally got myself out of bed on the 25th to ride one of my favorite routes and my first perm of my own: Mount Tam to Marshall. One might suggest that I could start looking for new routes to ride, since I had already ridden it twice last year, but this route is a nice reset for me. And a reset was exactly what I needed after doing such a hard ride in December. Another small problem was that most of my favorite routes were unavailable due to washed-out roads from all the storms. Redwood Road’s epic landslide negates a few, and Mines Road’s closure negates a few more. Strangely enough, although Bo-Fax is usually prone to major washouts, that road is open this year, probably due to all the work done on it last year. MTTM200k is also a great route to try out a new or different camera! It’s naturally photogenic, given that you’re on Old Railroad Grade at dawn, Ridgecrest Boulevard in the early morning hours before anyone else is out, Marin County farm roads in the early afternoon, and Tomales Bay later in the day. Bringing any camera sometimes slows me down on a ride, and bringing a film camera slows me down even more, but I don’t usually have to worry about the time limit on this route. So, why not lean into the symbiotic nature of my two favorite pursuits? I rode this route back in September of last year, and brought along fellow rando Mike G’s Minolta CL film camera outfitted with lovely 7 Artisans lens. Here are some of the pictures I shot on that day, all on Ilford FP4+, and home developed and scanned. Following are the pictures I shot in January on the Olympus TOUGH camera. Enjoy!
This rando activity seems interesting. Do you have to wear a helmet? I mean the riders aren’t racing are they?
Yes Janos, we wear helmets to make sure drivers can always drive as carelessly as they please.