Bicycles

Christmas Card Time

It’s that time of the year. I said I wasn’t going to do it (forcefully too) and then I went and did it. Yep, Christmas cards, and made I them myself too, with a bit of help from Stormpress that is.

Well, the story was Mark asked me to pop in and take some photos of when the Velo Vinatge crew hit Barnfield Crescent couple of weeks back. The light had all but gone so unusually (for me) one of the Nikon SB 910s came to the rescue and then Emily, a visitor to these parts, ‘created the moment’. Once I saw the image I had to eat my words (well I’d already had a pie) and do the card.

The difficult part was finding out who the subject was, it seemed rude not to ask permission, but Emily seemed happy enough and even asked me to send her a few.

The process was all Creative Cloud based – Lightroom > Photoshop > InDesign > PDF and a quick email to Stormpress, I reckon it took Tristan 2 hours to have them printed, packed and supplied with envelopes too.

It turn’s out they would have printed the mailing labels as well but no, we love spending the weekend delving into the intricacies of Filemaker templates. Lifelong learning folks.

Ho, Ho, Ho.

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2014 Calendar Time

Some time ago I posted about the exeter civil engineering photography of the Exe cycle bridge, well now the work gets an outing in the form of the D&B 2014 calendar.

The layout and outputting was done by the great team at Stormpress a huge thanks in particular to Hayleigh for doing such a good job. It was nice to be able to recommend a local supplier and pleasing that the result was of such a high standard.

I must admit when mention was initially made that the photography was going to be used to populate a calendar I wasn’t certain that we had a baker’s dozen in a similar aspect ratio. Pleasing also to see the work appearing on the Exeter Maritime Services websites.

So what would Andrew Butler like for 2014? Well, more of this photography would be nice.

The Bicycle City Film: Vimeo

What happens to an impoverished developing nation town when you flood it with 20,000 bicycles? You lift three times that number of people out of poverty. Pedals for Progress and founder David Schweidenback have been shipping used American bicycles to Rivas, Nicaragua for the last two decades and the transformation has been incredible. More

This one is here via Caleb Butler and is posted for a number of reasons. I saw the post a couple of weeks ago and thought it was a great example how a simple initiative can really affect people’s lives. I love bikes, I love the mechanical efficiency of them, the design, the variety of uses that they can be put to. I have far, far too many of them in my garage.

But I am going to have a minor rant now. I recently tried to ride the local cycle path that goes from Topsham to Lympstone. Now, I have worked as a cycle courier in London, at that time we travelled the whole of London, Croydon, Ealing, Enfield, and some strange ferry. I have never felt so endangered as when I tried to ride the cyclepath. I have put the details in a Boo Rantley, but in essence I find it hard not to believe that far from being welcomed and embraced as a valid means of transport cycling runs the risk of being marginalised by cyclepaths.

So to return to the video, a taster for a larger work, this filumn shows how the bicycle can be used to restore people’s livelihoods.

Berlin, Everyday’s Like a Sunday Here

bauhaus posters

One of the reasons I ride a motorbike is that I don’t like sitting in traffic, and when sat in traffic in Exeter I may well rant,

“if I am sat in traffic at least it could be because everyone’s going somewhere interesting!”

No such problem in Berlin, the argument falls over on both sides. It is difficult not to find somewhere interesting but if you are in traffic you are unlikely to get stuck: these roads are wide, really w-i-d-e. As a pedestrian it is wise to plan your journey across one well, there’s not a huge amount of traffic but you will need to cover ground at pace.

But these wide empty roads are one reason why it feels like everyday’s a Sunday here.

I like Cycling – but

Now I like cycling but I’m not sure about the Berlin cycling scene. I did go into a seriously cool little bike shop but, if I may refer briefly to the exhibit to the left, WTF?

There is an overland gas pipeline in Berlin, a rather jaunty pink affair, it travels throughout parts of the city, up and over roads, along the central reservation. What we are looking at here would seem to be a fairly close relation, indeed the lovechild of the gas line. This ‘bike’ is not so much a ‘step-through’, more a ‘trip-over.’

Part bike - part gas pipeline

Part bike - part pipeline

The cyclists here are seriously militant too. Once you have acclimatised to the semiotics of the cycleways (basically a tone or two darker than the host footpath) things aren’t too bad, but stray onto the dark grey stuff as a pedestrian at your own risk and when the bicycles are made out of gas pipeline they will hurt.

However these upright cyclists are well dressed, not in lycra and are another reason why every day feels like a Sunday in Berlin.
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London: Cycling’s Steel City


There is a boom in cycling and there is no finer expression this than in London at the moment. A couple of hours free with the old Canon Ixus 70 and time for a bit of bike spotting.

These bikes come in all shapes and sizes: delivery bikes, tricycles maybe the odd bit of carbon fibre. By and large though this isn’t about hi-tec machinery it is about steel and old steel at that. It is about the bikes that people like me wanted as a child, bikes that were superseded by better, lighter and stronger stuff, but bikes that have now found a new lease of life.

These bikes have been stripped down, many turned into London Fixies: no gears, little in the way of brakes, some almost devoid of handlebars. For the most part they have become vivd expressions of their current keeper. Some are off the peg: made to look like bikes used to but of course never actually did. Of course there are also Boris’s bikes bringing a bit of Barcelona to London, well not really but you get the idea.

A friend recently told me that she sold her motorbike when she returned to London, there is apparently little space to park one. Unlike Exeter where I can put my motorbike pretty much where I want London is no longer motorbike-freindly.

So the trusty old peddle-iron is the functional expression, taken to work then left to sulk all day tied up to a lamppost occasionally throwing a sulk by lying down on the pavement and sometimes totally disappearing (well almost anyway).

Cinelli – Just because

This is ‘just because’ really, follow the link to see the bike. About £5k will get you one, I suspect I would look a tad overdressed on it though.