Monday, 19 February 2018

Pass too close

Perhaps the most disappointing near miss. A fellow cyclist.
Perhaps the most disappointing near miss. A fellow cyclist.

I’m not normally a militant person, but the last few months have changed that.

Whilst cycling I have noticed an increasing issue with motor vehicles leaving me little room as they pass me. It should be at least a meter, but is often much less. I’ll even get overtaken when there is on coming traffic. So it’s my safety and that of the other drivers at risk.   I use to just shout and gesture, but I don’t think it’s very effective. I now record my rides. And then report the offenders to the police. In Surrey this can be done online. At first I used stills, but it seams video is the only way to get the police to act.  This weekend was my first foray into motion pictures.

What was most disappointing about the first one was that there was a bike on the roof rack. A fellow cyclist driving with such little regard for my safety and well-being.

Friends say that they wouldn’t go out cycling because it’s too dangerous. But if they did it would only be on the pavement. I have said in the past that as long as stay aware of your surroundings it’s fine.

But it’s not. All cyclists should record their rides, and report bad drivers. It might not be a top priority for the police, but if enough people report it. Something might be done. I’m going to contact my MP and local councillor. I have seen operations in other areas where plain clothes police cycle along problem roads to catch bad drivers. This needs to come to Surrey and Kent.

Now I know people are angered by cyclists. Jumping red lights, riding on pavements, etc. Cyclists have to take responsibility for their actions and safety. And definitely not break the law.

Another example of poor driving was how cars drove in the fog this morning, it was pretty thick in places. Most cars didn’t have their headlights on.

People are getting more selfish, less considerate and it has to be said; more stupid.

More pass too close, they just don't care.

More pass too close, they just don't care.
More pass too close, they just don't care.


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Saturday, 3 February 2018

three nil to me

cycle grey morning
A grey overcast cycle
I'll start by saying I don't make new year's resolutions. I have this year planned to cycle more, whatever the weather. It has been normal in the past to abort if it's raining as Matt and I leave our respective houses. This can mean many non cycling days, especially at this time of year. I wanted to make a change and today was the first real challenge to my plan. It was drizzling a little as I walked down to the garage. Even when the rain became heavier, beating loudly on the corrugated roof, I hadn't seen Matt's text, so I pushed the bike out of the door, the rain had stopped. A win for me then.

Five minutes later the rain was back, but I carried on. Another win for me as it didn't last long enough to contemplate turning back.

A few minutes from our meeting point I noticed a few texts, and a call from Matt. I was half way up a hill so I didn't stop. When I arrived at the green I could give my phone the attention needed.

Matt had aborted, eventually. He hadn't wanted to, but the rain was much heavier over his way. The first text was to say it was raining, but he was on his way. The voicemail and final text was the dreaded abort.

It wasn't raining where I was, and I was already out, so I carried on. Maybe for no other reason than to get a picture for the blog. I got lucky with the ride,

I'm home and warm now, and by my reckoning it's three nil to me.

Let's hope tomorrow the weather doesn't improve it's score.

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Saturday, 27 January 2018

In the studio again

studio model photography dance
My favourite picture, simple elegance.

It’s been a while, nearly seven months in fact, since I worked with a professional model in a studio. I  have completed a number of very successful shoots with Janayah. Looking back as I did last month. I can see we have gotten better with each one. And I am looking forward to the next one in February. An evening shoot along the Thames.

This shoot was to enable me to experiment with lighting. The studio had a number of sets, and four lights. Each with numerous modifiers. So plenty to play with.

It was also an opportunity to work with Anna. Something I had wanted to do for a while.

But first we had to wait for the studio to warm up. Why do some studios not invest in good heating? One small fan heater was never going to do it. So for the whole shoot the heater followed Anna around. And I kept the cups of tea coming.

We kept moving from set to set, with me changing the lighting regularly. Big soft boxes, strip boxes, a beauty dish and reflectors. Using two, three or all four lights.

studio model photography seated

studio model photography seated boots

studio model photographystudio model photography



After about three hours I ran out of ideas. That’s when Anna came to the rescue. She said a lot of her shoots included dance.

studio model photography dancestudio model photography dance

























So a new challenge for me, capturing dance movement. Anna suggested lighting, and I continued to experiment.

studio model photography dancestudio model photography dance


I really like the results of the whole shoot. It was a difficult task to reduce the number of shots to process down to a reasonable number. There were so many good ones. It's a sign of a successful session when I have so many to choose from.

Here are two more, cause I just can't help myself.

studio model photography smilestudio model photography seated boots



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Saturday, 13 January 2018

130118

cycling woods bollards moss
My bike lent against some moss covered tank traps, or maybe they are just bollards to stop vehicles driving in the woods.
I'd like first to apologise for the lack of a creative title for this blog. When you cycle every weekend, you will be presented with two problems as I am. Where to cycle, and what to write about. Having to think of a creative title as well, it's all too much.

So here dear reader is a post, titled with today's date.

Matt has been away this week so for today it was just me. I choose a route we hadn't cycled for years. We use to cycle to a cafe, have breakfast and then ride home. But it is a longish route and the food stop means a late return home. So we have avoided it. There is also a steep, long climb, which might also have something to do with it.

The Enterdent near Godstone is the hill in question. It was a lot longer than I remember. But a worthy challenge. Bested with only a little heavy breathing. I didn't make it to the cafe though. I ran out of time due to a late start. When my meandering journey came close to home I gave up on the cafe and headed towards my house.

This meant I had to travel along Whitehill Lane. It's one of my nemesis hills. It comprises three climbs. Each one a little steeper than its predecessor. The last 20 yards of the third one is very steep. It's the last climb when I cycle to Brighton and back. So it always causes a sense of dread when I know it's close.

Below is the cyclemeter readout. Not sure how I managed to climb more than I descended and still end up back home.

cycling hills climbing
A route with some big climbs

Cycling with Matt tomorrow, wonder where we will go.



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Sunday, 7 January 2018

Another cold, and this time muddy ride


A muddy, and icy lane. Morning cycle.
A muddy, and icy lane.


Second ride of the year. Less foggy and slightly warmer. The wind was less bitter and not as strong.
I'm was on my own, so where to go?

There is a route near me that can either be completely on road or include a little off road. This time I chose the the mixed route.

As you can see above it was muddy, with plenty of ice covered puddles to ride through. The only trouble with the mud is that when I get home and want to get into a warm shower ASAP. I have to clean the bike first.

The pictures in the post are all from my GoPro clamped to the handlebars. I have it on time lapse mode so it can record the whole ride. For this reason the quality isn't as good as I like for my blog. It's normally okay, but the light was fairly low and was bounced around a lot. Using the GoPro means I don't have to stop to get my camera out. A good thing when it's cold.

It records evidence of close passes by other road users.

I get pictures I wouldn't normally be able to.

riding through icy puddle
Another ice covered puddle. Thanks to GoPro.

And occasionally it reveals something I missed. 

I was reviewing the photo stream and realised I had twice cycled past someone's aircraft collection, and not noticed.

aircraft at the side of a lane

aircraft at the side of a lane

And one more use for the GoPro. Selfies; or is that the bike taking my picture?

selfie bike taking my picture

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