… In the Eye of the Beholder

When I started writing this blog I said that I would be writing about and showing you things I consider to be beautiful. Yesterday when I was riding my bike, I thought about how beautiful the path I was rolling across was to me, then I laughed. You see, yesterday it was blowing snow here in Chicago and there was a lot of snow and ice on the places where I normally ride. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

I want to show you a couple of photos. The first is the lovely Riverwalk along the Chicago River. Tourists come here and enjoy the view every day.

This is the riverwalk where I ride every day. Obviously there is no bike riding across this very pretty landscape.

This is the riverwalk where I ride every day. Obviously there is no bike riding across this very pretty landscape.

For a bike ride, however, this is treacherous terrain and not to be trifled with. Below is a photo of Lower Wacker Drive. It happens to be adjacent to the lovely Riverwalk, but as you can see it appears rather unseemly. It looks dark because it is ‘underground.’ The street lights are necessary during the day, too. Not very appealing compared with the pristine beauty of the Riverwalk. To this bike rider, however, Lower Wacker Drive is a thing of beauty. I can ride my bike there in any kind of weather and feel protected from snow and ice on the ground, falling rain and wind gusts that could blow me off my bike.

This is Lower Wacker Drive, not very pretty, but very protected from the elements

This is Lower Wacker Drive, not very pretty, but very protected from the elements. Absolutely beautiful!

If you use your imagination, you can see how beautiful Lower Wacker Drive is to this bike rider.

This is Lower Wacker adjacent to the Chicago Auto Pound, the fence on the right.

This is Lower Wacker adjacent to the Chicago Auto Pound, the fence on the right.

Tony

Fallen Cloud

I was riding late yesterday afternoon going north on a familiar patch of path just above the Museum Campus when I saw this. It was just starting to hail and I was hurrying back home because I wasn’t sure how bad it would be getting. But, when I saw this I had to stop and take a picture to show you.

I have passed this sculpture hundreds of times and never thought much about it. Yesterday, though, with the clouds behind it from that particular angle, it just hit me that it looked like one of the clouds had fallen.

cloud

 

Here is the nameplate. The actual title is Expanding Universe.

This is the nameplate for the sculpture.

This is the nameplate for the sculpture.

It certainly left me with a cushiony impression that mimicked the clouds behind it.

Tony

Rare Chicago Skyline Photo

You are looking at a view of the Chicago skyline that very few people who live in Chicago have ever seen. I shot it on a bike ride this morning from behind the Adler Planetarium. Most folks who live here don’t even know you can get behind the Planetarium let alone see the skyline from it.

Behind the Adler Planetarium.

 
This shot also shows the path that circles the Planetarium. I ride my bike on it regularly.

Tony

Sweet Cycling Surprise

I am a member of The Chainlink, Chicago’s Online Cycling Community. They had a Halloween contest about creative uses of a bicycle. I entered a picture of my bike with the basket on the front and the pet carrier in it. My little poodle was sitting in the basket. As it turns out I won the contest. I have a small amount of guilt about winning as I think the photo of my bike with little Gabi sitting in the basket won on the basis of being so darn cute.

Here is the photo that won of my bike (and cute dog).

First prize was a tin of bicycle cookies with one a replica of my bicycle.

I think Rocky, the baker, did a great job on the cookies and they taste delicious, too. (Thanks, Julie, for bringing them down.)

Tony

Lakefront Leaf Mosaic

This is really funny. Most days I stretch out my quads after riding 10 to 15 miles. One of my favorite places to stretch is at the Doane Observatory behind the Adler Planetarium. There are some nice fence bars there to hold on to while I stretch. The funny part is that I never noticed till this morning that the leaf coloring was magnificent. I was so busy stretching the concentrating on breathing deeply that I couldn’t see the woods for the trees. Or, in this case I guess I couldn’t see the leaves for the eaves.

I park the bike here and support myself on the fence to the left while stretching.

Here are the leaves which are right in front of my face while I stretch.

Amazing array of colors, no?

Tony

Really Cool Billboard Truck

I saw this billboard truck yesterday morning. It was parked by Buckingham Fountain. I rode past it three different times. It isn’t beautiful in the same sense as fall color, but I think it was particularly effective. I went home and fired up my panini maker to make lunch.

Tasty Billboard Truck

Tony

Foggy Morning on Chicago Lakefront

Yesterday’s storms were followed by fog this morning. As a cyclist I like fog because there is never a wind with a fog, so riding is always comfortable. It also made for same fascinating photos. Click on any photo to see full size.

This is DuSable Harbor facing south.

I shot the second photo a bit farther down the bike path. The lights in the distance are Monroe Harbor.

Monroe Harbor from the bike path.

Next is a short bike ride down to actually be in Monroe Harbor.

Monroe Harbor up close.

The final shot is farther south still of the Shedd Aquarium ringed by lights.

Shedd Aquarium ringed by lights.

These were all shot in the first light of day. I absolutely love the appearance of electric lights at this time.

Tony

Einstein on His Bicycle

I have this poster three feet high framed in my living room. I absolutely love it. Einstein looks like he is having the kind of enjoyment that a child gets out of riding a bike. I feel good every time I look at it. That is also exactly how I feel when riding my bicycle.

Joy in motion

I found the following quotes on the Argonauts website.

I thought of that while riding my bicycle – Albert Einstein on The Theory of Relativity

Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving ~ Albert Einstein

Whenever I see an adult on a bicycle, I have hope for the human race. ~ H.G. Wells

Cycle tracks will abound in Utopia. ~ H.G. Wells

When the spirits are low, when the day appears dark, when work becomes monotonous, when hope hardly seems worth having, just mount a bicycle and go out for a spin down the road, without thought on anything but the ride you are taking. ~ Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Let me tell you what I think of bicycling. I think it has done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world. It gives women a feeling of freedom and self-reliance. I stand and rejoice every time I see a woman ride by on a wheel…the picture of free, untrammelled womanhood. ~ Susan B. Anthony 1896

Poochie and me on Northerly Island in Chicago

And, of course, Mark Twain’s “Get a bicycle. You will certainly not regret it, if you live.” 1884

Tony

My Favorite Commercial – “My Dad’s an Alien”

To a large extent I just speed through those miniature pieces of theater we call TV commercials, but every once in a while they create a real winner. The early E Trade Baby ones come to mind. The latest really fun one is Audi’s – My Dad’s an Alien.

LIttle Miss Deadpan


I just love this TV commercial for the Audi A6. I don’t know if it’s the kid’s deadpan delivery, the very concise dialog, the fact that her dad in one shot is decked out in a biking outfit or the combination of all these things, but it is absolutely my current favorite.

Tony

I Love My New MINI Countryman

I was one of the thousands of folks who got a car crush on the MINI Cooper about ten years ago after The Italian Job movie came out and blew everybody away. The car’s popularity was so great at that time that there was a six month wait for delivery if you ordered one new.

This is from the 2003 release of The Italian Job starring Charlize Theron and Mark Walberg

As I wrote in The MINI Kayaker, I didn’t own a car from 1977 to 2004. I live in downtown Chicago and can walk most places. There is also public transportation. I could ride my bike sometimes, take cabs or rent a car. One of the reasons I was able to retire at 60 is that I had not spent all that money on cars for so many years.

This movie poster was so much fun that PlayStation2 used it for their Italian Job game.

Getting back to my car crush, the first one I bought was a used 2003 Cooper. It was dark blue, like one of the Italian Job cars. Over the next seven years, I would own one of each, a red and a white also, the other colors in the film.

In 2009 MINI extended its line with a convertible. There was also a little extension of its length with the Clubman model in 2008. And, last year, 2011 the Countryman came out. It is the MINI version of an SUV. It stretches 15 inches longer and 3 inches wider than the Cooper model. Despite this ‘stretch’ it is still 14 inches shorter than a Prius.

I shot this at the dealer. The car on the left is my new Countryman while the car on the right is the Cooper I traded in. I call the new black Countryman my Badmobile.

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