I probably should have waited one more day for the end-of-the-month update, but the pile of photos was getting out of hand.
So, the official count as of today: 138 days on a bicycle, out of 151 days. Two-hundred and sixteen days remaining. The month of August was a tough one – missed 6 days of riding – between the heat, the trip to Chicago, and schlepping the college-bound boys. But now, everyone is back in school, the weather should be turning cooler, and there are many beautiful riding days ahead.
Spent the past week riding a lot with Mason before he headed back to APSU. It was perfect, and I will miss his company. 😀
So … a few of the images from days past. (The remainder, and more, can always be seen in my #330daysofbiking set on Flickr.)
Rest assured – the bikes were not stolen. Just their image… I will explain.
I have hesitated to even post this, because I mostly feel that it’s not what I’m about, not what I want this blog to be about. But I also feel quite strongly about right and wrong, ownership and theft, lessons learned, and I think there is an important message to be conveyed.
(Not to mention I also owe Casey, Jenn and Stan some beer and pizza over this one. 😉
Imagine my surprise when one of my twitter friends, Casey – a great guy, biochemistry PhD candidate, and fellow Xtracycle owner out in Montana(!) – sent me a note saying he was pretty sure he had seen a photo of my bikes in a local magazine, Outside Bozeman. Yeah – as in Bozeman, MT. And really, what are the odds of that – on every level?!
So I managed to get a copy of the magazine, just to see if he was correct. And sure enough, there they were – my photo of our bikes that I had taken almost three years ago out in our front yard. In Tennessee.
They had apparently pilfered the photo off of either my old blog, or from my Flickr set – both of which expressly state “License: © All Rights Reserved by (me)”. They never asked for permission, they offered no attribution.
So, what to think? Part of me was a bit conflicted. If it encouraged anyone to start riding a bike, or even purchase an Xtracycle, I felt like this was a good thing and served a good purpose – and really, it’s one of the main reasons I like to share my love of bikes and biking through photography and blogging. And yes, it was exciting (to some degree) to see one of my photos in print.
But I also feel very strongly about copyright, ownership, asking for permission to borrow or use or modify, having heard several stories of other peoples’ photos being “stolen” for profit-making endeavors (made into postcards, store flyers, etc.).
Wrong is wrong. And in the end, after discussing with several people in-the-know, I decided it was important to let this magazine know that I didn’t find their actions appropriate or ethical. I wrote a letter, and I sent them a “republication” invoice for the use of my photo. And waited.
Two days ago, I received a small and brief hand-written note of apology along with a check for what they claim was “twice their usual rate” – basically about enough for beer and pizza, but more importantly, evidence that they had gotten the message. And hopefully won’t resort to doing this kind of thing again. (Or so I like to tell myself.)
When all is said and done (and photographed and posted and published), I want to be clear about a couple of things … First, I am more grateful than any of you will ever know for the kind and positive comments I get on my photos that appear on this site, on my Flickr, and on ShutterCal. And while I strongly respect ownership – of all art forms, from photography to music to any other medium – I am typically honored to share, to offer the use of my images to those who are considerate and ask. Please know this, and please feel free to ask. (As long as you don’t intend to print postcards to sell…).
Over the past months it has been an privilege to collaborate and share photos with people like Rick from Xtracycle, Darryl at LovingTheBike, and even recently with an online poetry journal, POOL, put together by another amazing friend and photographer in her own right. A couple of my friends have wanted prints of certain shots, and I am so very flattered to offer them. Every one of them has honored me by asking, been more than generous with attribution, and provided me with a wonderful opportunity to share what I love. Because in the end, photography is meant to be seen; and if the bicycles I love are in the mix, even better.
So – Casey, Jenn and Stan … I will buy the beer and pizza, but I have decided to send the proceeds of this little experience to the Dan Austin and the great people at 88bikes – because it just feels like the right thing to do in the end. Someday, possibly, I will be able to put my camera to work for an endeavor like theirs….
So, you are a college student with not-so-much money, but you want a bicycle. And one day, at the local thrift store, you spot a nearly-mint condition bike for $10 … ok, actually $9.99. It is pink, a step-through frame, and there is no denying it is a girl’s bike. And you are a full-fledged-secure-in-your-maleness kind of guy.
Immediately you know: this is your bike.
A little bit about Matt … He has been a friend of all of the boys for a number of years, and has become like a member of our family. Spending time here, especially this summer, I like to think that our family’s love of bicycles and cycling has rubbed off a little. He’s a brilliant student, studying higher mathematics at Georgia Tech. He’s also an amazing cook (we joke that he should minor in culinary arts), a talented musician, and one of the kindest and most considerate young men we have ever known. He’s incredibly enterprising, conscientious and hard-working, and is definitely a free thinker.
He said that the unconventional, and maybe “slightly bizarre” look of a guy riding a pink vintage-ish girls’ bike was an appropriate reflection of his resourcefulness and even his personality – for $10, how could he possibly complain? Honestly, it’s a beautiful bike – obviously garage-kept and rarely ridden. It’s perfect. And somehow, it is Matt.
This weekend, Matt headed back to college. This semester, with a better (and pinker) way to get around campus and Atlanta. It makes me smile. Ride on, Matt – see you soon!
We arrive at intersections, in our lanes with others heading the same direction. We stop or slow down, some turn right, some turn left. People arrive from other directions and enter our lane, driving in front of us, or behind, but on the same bearing. We stay together for a while. We part. We merge and we move forward.
We’ve arrived at one of those intersections once again – the boys are heading back to school, moving forward, changing lanes. The summer has been kind of non-stop camaraderie between the boys, the band (The Night Shines), friends and family, and the partings can be somewhat bittersweet – a combination of excitement and apprehension. For the band, I think it is been especially so; they’ve shared the same lane for so long, it’s tough to turn off, to part ways for a while.
While I can never adequately describe or define their personalities, the silliness, the connections between them – I think the picture above caught a very brief spark.
For now, I have a few more days of riding with a couple of them before they, too, make the turn and head back to school. The story of the pink Caliente is still coming – hopefully later this week – when I can get some photos with the new owner.
The official #330daysofbiking count: have ridden 126 of the past 138 days (today will be day 127), with 229 (228) days remaining. Meanwhile … a couple of the photos.
I am behind in posting … and I have been reminded of this fact. Sorry. We just returned from a trip to Chicago – nine of us (including boys’ friends) headed up for Lollapalooza 2010. Just. Amazing.
The bicycle culture has always been vibrant in Chicago, even from back in the day when I was growing up there. And now, especially in summer, the city is saturated with cyclists of all kinds. Women in heels on beautiful Dutch bikes, messenger-types on fixies, all variety of commuters on all types of bikes. Fast bikes, fancy bikes, hip bikes, beater bikes. I think my favorite (and one I am tempted to duplicate in my own manner) was the fur-covered bike we spotted on Michigan Ave. Good grief, how I loved that one! 🙂
The truth is, we actually hauled two of our own bikes up there with us – but never ended up riding, I am very sad to say. Our group decided to just stay together, enjoying the music and each other’s company, walking everywhere. And I mean everywhere. At first I wasn’t sure I’d be willing to stick it out for 10-11 hours a day in the massive Lollacrowds (estimated at 68,000 each day, I believe), and thought some biking would be my alternate plan if I needed to escape. However, the whole festival scene, the truly amazing music, the energy of the experience kept me – kept all of us – in the park the entire time. It was wonderful and unforgettable.
Every night when the festival ended, the mass exodus of concert-goers would take over the surrounding streets of the city, all heading home. It may look chaotic or even scary – but it was exhilerating, happy, filled with energy and excitement. On the last night, the entire crowd – probably a few thousand people – broke out into spontaneous singing of the chorus to “Wake Up” by Arcade Fire (who were the last to play on Sunday); you’ve probably heard the song from the movie soundtrack “Where The Wild Things Are”. It was just …. spine tingling, and a moment I will never forget.
I think I almost managed to break my camera taking photos, but decided to leave the music and city shots (as I am slowly uploading them) for Flickr, and only put a few of the bike shots up here. I also may have put myself behind schedule on #330daysofbiking; but the truth is, as much as I would’ve liked to have ridden, I just don’t regret it.
Chicago – I miss you. It was a magical reunion – from bikes to music to your breathtaking skyline at night. The enchantment of Grant Park on a summer night, and Lake Michigan in the moonlight. Not to mention some of the best food in the world, which I have dearly, dearly craved. Thanks for welcoming me home. Rock on; bike on!
Not such exciting rides over the past few days – but I expect that to be changing. Soon.
It’s been a couple of days of errand riding, swimming, a few thunderstorms, quick spins in the evening. On Monday, while I was out riding – to the post office, the vet, the shopping center – I was thinking about the slower pace at which I travel. While I know that cyclists in congested cities and urban area can often travel more quickly by bike than other means, when it comes to my covering distances out here in “the sticks” … well, I am considerably slower. It takes me longer. Sometimes a lot longer. And for that – I feel incredibly grateful.
I like “deliberate”. I like that I miss that “rat race” feeling when I’m out taking care of business. I have learned to plan, and I’m conscious about choosing an efficient path – because the energy I am spending comes from my heart, lungs and legs, rather than from the gas pump with the swipe of a credit card. I like paying the price – because, like food, slow and intentional is infinitely more satisfying than fast and cheap.
Last night on my evening spin, I stopped to play with my Lensbaby in an old cemetery (what can I say? I find these places fascinating). Looking at some of the very old markers – dating back into the 1800’s – always makes me contemplate “progress”, and the change of pace our modern lives have adopted. They travelled by horse, wagon – slowly and deliberately. We fly around the globe in the course of day. We are more efficient, we are faster. Yet … I can’t help but think: all I want to do is go a little more slowly.
And so I do.
The days follow a pattern – a pleasant pattern. Cycling, paddling, taking pictures, conversations, laughter, rest. Watching the sun go down. And come up again. The summer is passing so quickly, sometimes I feel like I can’t quite get it all in.
Riding into town on Thursday, a trip on the Greenway. It’s always heartening, inspiring, to see others on bikes – and their willingness and enthusiasm to stop and strike up a conversation. (And yes – their agreeing to let me take their photos :). When we’re not boxed up in cars, I believe we’re much more inclined to interact, to converse. It makes us more approachable, more a part of the community. Stopping to talk with two other cyclists (and one of the Greenway police officers) and talking about the merits of the Greenway for getting across town, observing the increase in ride-share around town, and just enjoying the simple pleasure of having a “commons” – a place to walk, to ride, to just stop and sit.
The heat continues, and the evening continues to be one of the nicest times to get out. A time to stow the camera in the Xtracycle and just take a leisurely spin on roads close to home. Enjoying the “golden hour”, the hum of the cicadas.
Lazy Saturday mornings spent exploring the river by kayak. Flat grey skies, calm still water – like glass. Different than cycling, yet oddly similar, moving through the landscape. A lesson in patience this morning – spending close to an hour slowly approaching a Little Green Heron, who graciously let me get incredibly close.
Ending the weekend riding with “my boys”. Another summer day, another ride. The sun comes up and goes down. It passes so quickly. I feel like I can’t quite get it all in.