September 2012 marked the fifteenth anniversary of Chicago Critical Mass. A celebratory ride began at Daley Plaza as it does the last Friday of every month. A party followed, but I bailed out of the ride toward the end to get home to my dog who needs his antibiotics. Plus my butt hurt.
Thursday, September 27, 2012
Wednesday, September 26, 2012
Monday, September 24, 2012
At lunch I met a couple and their sticker-laden bikes. We chatted a little bit and I took a few photos. They make collages with recycled stickers under the name "Sticker Fusion Project." This apparently began with the bikes and has moved onto wall art. Some of this work is on display at Argo Tea on Armitage Avenue, and coming to a few other Argo locations in Chicago and Evanston.
Sunday, September 23, 2012
It was such a beautiful day that I had to go out and seek photos rather than catch whatever came my way. Once I got to editing, I actually had four or five final contenders. The light kept this one on top, though. I saw the sunlight coming from behind me, countered by its own very bright reflection (note the shadow coming toward the camera), and waited until a bike showed up. Fortunately, Chicago has enough cyclists, even on a Sunday evening, that I typically can choose a spot and know that a bike will be along soon enough. I'll get some of the contenders up on flickr soon.
While eating at the Rocking Horse in Logan Square, I watched a girl careening down the sidewalk. First she was coming toward the window next to me, then arced toward a parked car trying to get her feet on the ground. No, it wasn't a fixie with no brakes. It was a big, fat cruiser which definitely had brakes. A few minutes later I saw one of her friends (possibly the owner) struggling to lock the bike at a bike rack. Eventually she settled on locking the front wheel to the rack. In that location, it might be fine. Then again, they might get wasted, maybe hang out a few doors down at The Owl until 4 am, and decide to take a cab home. If that happens, I almost guarantee that tomorrow there will be nothing but the wheel locked to the bike rack. Walking down the street, I stopped to photograph these bikes. I noticed when editing the photo that one of these bikes is locked up the same way. Maybe that person is in the 7-11 and got away with it. Then again, maybe tomorrow there will be two lone wheels attached to Logan Square bike racks. People who ride bikes in the city and own locks do know better, don't they?
It was a rainy day, and I was riding my bike, but my camera was tucked away in my bag. So, from my massive stockpile of cycling imagery, I bring you something that just wasn't about to happen on a cool, rainy day. Ice Cream! On wheels!
Thursday, September 20, 2012
Wednesday, September 19, 2012
Tuesday, September 18, 2012
Here we have a woman pushing a cargo of two kids - one reading as though he were on the L, and one wearing a Starbucks box. I get the feeling they consider this a normal mode of transport, and I think that's great.
Monday, September 17, 2012
There were other photo options on this Saturday: rows of bikes locked up at a festival, a bike share station that I saw for the first time near Division on the Lakefront Path. But this one, I just want to look at again and again. I think a bike is a great way get somewhere to watch the daylight fade away.
I was actually driving (sitting at a stoplight, anyway) when I took this one. I was on my way to the drum shop to get what I needed to prepare my kit for that night's show. A few hours later and a couple miles north, the same guy crossed my path when I was walking to the taqueria to get what I needed to prepare my body for that night's show.
Tuesday, September 11, 2012
I have a fondness for bicycle safety flags. My first two-wheeler had one from my Grandma Travis with my name painted in black. I seem to recall that being the first instance of being called "Mike." Only so many letters will fit on one of those flags, after all. I guess I grew up to a two-wheeled vehicle and my commonly used adult name at the same time. That bike had solid rubber tires, rather than inner tubes, and it was purple metal flake with white trim. It had training wheels, which were raised up off the street in no time, soon to be removed entirely. I still remember getting accustomed to my Dad holding the seat, then looking back to find he was watching me ride away from several yards back. I've been pedaling ever since.
Sunday, September 9, 2012
Waiting for the bus to go take band photos, I had the good fortune of witnessing a unicyclist running errands on Ashland Avenue. I reacted quickly, and once again have a cycling photo unlike my usual bike photos. I hope my October daily photo theme is as successful. I hope I come up with an October daily photo theme before October 1.
Saturday, September 8, 2012
Of course, I didn't live in a large city, but when I was a kid, it seemed like there were always roving packs of kids on bikes. I do still see biking kids, just not in the numbers that I remember from my youth. Then again, kids have very different lives in general than in my youth. An adult on a bicycle was rare when I was a kid, and I'm really happy that's different. Again, that may be because Austin and Chicago are very different than Matoaca, VA, Columbus, GA and Gelnhausen, Germany. I hope there are more adults on bikes for recreation and transportation in those places, too. And I hope that wherever all the kids are in Chicago that they're flying around on bikes and building (sturdy) ramps and clearing all the little kids they jump over.
Thursday, September 6, 2012
After dinner I rode around seeking photo ops and settled on a shot of one of the bike racks at the Logan Square Blue Line station. This knitted covering should help it stay warm in the fall, which theoretically should be upon us in Chicago. It's still pretty summery right now, and I'm not complaining…much.
Wednesday, September 5, 2012
I visited my local bike shop today to have a spoke replaced and wheel trued. Rapid Transit has been the shop I've used since moving to Chicago four years ago. This tricycle might belong to one of the employees. I know I've been in before when one of their bikes was hanging from these ceiling hooks. Of course it could also be a repair job waiting to be picked up. I'd hate to have to take this thing down to the basement and back up, where they hold a lot of their repairs.
Tuesday, September 4, 2012
Knowing how similar my biking photos can be, I feel the need to capture anything I can that's out of the ordinary, or at least take the more ordinary shots in different neighborhoods throughout Chicago. Two girls sharing a Schwinn is not an everyday occurence, so I actually did a U-turn and charged a block and a half ahead of them to catch them coming down the street. I don't regularly shoot in Lakeview, so that's a geographical bonus, too. I'm glad I ran across them since I didn't catch anything in Andersonville earlier. I also didn't get any shots in Edgewater Sunday night, so I may have to head that way again sometime this month.
Since this was Labor Day, I thought I might find some holiday biking at the beaches and on the lakefront, so I headed over after I got off work (didn't I just say "holiday?"). I did get a few good shots, but this one really stood out to me, especially in contrast to the number of people riding I photograph. Sometimes the best thing about riding to the lake is getting off the bike and chilling. Other times, the best thing about riding to the lake is flying up and down the lake front path for miles.
Beginning last summer (or spring, maybe) Milwaukee Avenue has had a bike corral just south of the intersection with North and Damen. A couple of street parking spots for cars have been converted to bike parking, increasing the number of bike spots a good amount over the sidewalk bike racks and less safe sign posts on the street. As winter approaches, the bike corral is removed for the sake of snow plows. As you might imagine, far fewer people ride bikes in Chicago's winter anyway. There is a solid population of hearty winter cyclists here, though.
Since Rahm Emmanuel has been mayor, there's been some improvement in city cycling infrastructure. This is Elston Avenue, with one of our separated bike lanes. Yes, salt fiends, there are tons of the stuff right in front of me.
Monday, September 3, 2012
Project 365 The Third
There's an entire leap year of photos on one page. Of course you can see them here one entry at a time with slightly more in-depth writing. As mentioned with the Spider-Man photo, 2013 will be a portrait each week. Until then, I'm going to maintain a theme for each of the remaining months of 2012. September, no great surprise, will be all about cycling. Hopefully, I'll keep details of my bike and helmet to a minimum and actually capture something on the street every single day. Three days are down so far, and I'm doing just fine. They'll be posted shortly. I am open to suggestions for themes for October, November, and December. You can leave them in comments or emails. You can use facebook, phone calls and text messages if I'm available to you that way. I have twenty-seven days to choose a theme for October, and I'll be sniping cyclists like crazy til then.
August 31, 2012. Third time's a charm. I began doing the same photo-a-day project two previous times. I got really close both times, but fizzled out both times. The first one was busted up by moving to Chicago. I shot a bunch of it on film, which required me filling those slots later than some of the days that followed, and didn't have a computer of internet for about a week and a half surrounding the move. The difficulty of organizing those days, especially with all the film I needed to develop without knowing where to go, was enough to throw me off. A year ago, I figured I'd be celebrating on August 31 with Stacy, Hannah, and Tara, who all began with me. Only Hannah made it to the end, and she's been gone a few days already. I did get together with Stacy and Tara anyway at an Atlas Moth show. Girl Talk was playing on the next block, and Spider-Man is apparently into that. While we were standing outside of Ultra Lounge, here he came from the Congress Theatre. It's not the celebratory shot of the four of us (see Day 358 for that), but Spidey's a pretty good closer, I think.
Except it's not really closed! The remainder of 2012 will have months where I maintain a theme in daily photographs. 2013 will be a new project that coincides with the calendar year for a change. It will be 52 faces - a portrait per week for the year. Step right up volunteers, just not all at once.
August 29, 2012. After grabbing a bite to eat this night, I was headed home when I saw my wife Shereen sitting in the open window of a restaurant down the street. Of course I stuck my head in the flower box next to her and started talking, which scared her a little bit, then went in and joined her and our friend for dessert. This is the hostess holding down her hostess stand at The Savoy where this dessert eating took place.
August 28, 2012. I've hardly slept all summer. I make it up a little bit when I have a day off and no other plans. I slept til 3 in the afternoon Sunday, but most nights I'm up until 3 to 5 am and awake at 8 or 9 in the morning to go to work. Here I am somewhere in that 4 to 5 am time, probably half asleep in my head.
August 27, 2012. This and the following two days were really missing photographs that I wanted to post, but I keep clicking anyway, usually, and I have stuff to post that I would normally totally ignore. This girl was riding in a pair of jeans that I can't imagine even trying to sit down in. All of my jeans feel restrictive to me, and they do not fit like this. And she's wearing boots, which I can do, I just really prefer not to. Now that I've professed these things, I'm afraid I'm going to get a road bike and wear spandex and cycling jerseys every time I ride. If you see that happen, lead me to a store with shorts and t-shirts or something, please. Jeans and Doc Martens will do in a pinch.
August 26, 2012. Sunday means band practice for Tijuana Jai Alai. It was raining, so I asked Paloma for a ride. She was taking the bus! So I rode my bike and got a little bit wet. Riding home was a different story. There was quite a deluge. I found out just which portions of my almost-completely-waterproof backpack are not waterproof. My biking shoes smell like a mildew factory, and I was spitting out mouthfuls of water all the way home. Really. The first half of our practice was watched by Gary, the guitar player's sister and her boyfriend. Here they are on the steps during our break talking about lovey stuff or burgers or video games. I don't know.
August 25, 2012. Hannah left for Ohio before moving to Angle-land. Before she did, though, there was a going-away party! There were burgers, drinks, watermelon, and s’mores. There were also a bunch of Hannah’s friends and the hugs that go with them.
August 24, 2012. Exiting the train at Clark and Lake, I spotted a group of unusually dressed guys and girls, so I had to take their photo. As I could tell, they were on their way to a show (Dayglow, the world's largest paint party!), and the group grew as more people came down the escalator. At 3 am when I was in the station to return home, several people that had been there were on the platform, covered in fluorescent paint.