Tag Archives: raising

Paris on a Bike

22.jpgWhen we still lived in the UK, I took part in a charity bike ride. The ride was from London to Paris and was in aid of the Royal British Legion. Spread over 4 days, the first leg was from London to Dover and over on the ferry to Calais, the second leg was from Calais to Abbeville, the third was Abbeville to Beauvais and the last was Beauvais to Paris. The first leg was not a lot of fun. Eighty miles through the south east on some busy roads when you were pretty much left to your own devices was not too relaxing. The trip through France was a totally different story.

12.jpgFor our whole ride through France we were escorted by motor cyclists. It was like being in the Tour de France. As we approached, the traffic pulled aside and the motor bikes cleared our path. Red lights and stop signs meant nothing. In each town at which we stopped, the town would turn out to provide us with food and wine (not a good idea when there is a big climb straight after lunch) and entertainment. Everyone was unbelievably welcoming and we were constantly being cheered along by anyone we passed.

03.jpgEach town we stopped overnight in would have a parade. The remembrance ceremony each time would be a really well supported event and I felt like I knew the Marseillaise by heart by the end of the trip. The first two days were eighty miles each, the third was a slightly easier seventy miles and the last day was under sixty. I had always thought of northern France as quite flat. I will never make that mistake again.

28.jpgThe final day was pretty impressive. We rode through the outskirts of Paris coming through areas I had heard of before but never visited. Then we were running in to the center of the city itself. The run up to l’arc de Triomphe with all of the traffic was an amazing feeling. The whole group together with our police escort stopped Paris traffic. We rode around the monument before parking our bikes and then walking up the Champs Elysée before holding a final remembrance ceremony under the arch itself. Quite an impressive event and one that really meant something after the effort to get there.

19.jpgI only had a small film camera with me so there aren’t too many shots and they were taken while on the move.   Hopefully they will convey something of what was a really cool trip.


I Thought These Bridges Were Moving

Spring in Chicago does not always arrive promptly but this year the absence of a real winter has meant that it has.  With nice weather comes the possibility of boating and that means the annual migration of the boats from their winter storage to the marinas for the summer.  For anyone with some height to their boat, i.e. sailing boats, this requires you to make use of the bi-weekly bridge opening schedule.

A look online told me that the first opening of the season was coming up on Saturday so I decided to take a look.  The weather was great and so some good shooting opportunities should have been available.  I wandered along the river inland since no bridges along the main stretch were open yet so I had time to get to Wolf Point where the river splits.  Along the way I grabbed a few shots of things that appealed to me.

At Wolf Point, I had two disappointments.  First, the water birds were very active right in front of me but I only had a wide angle and a fish-eye with me so no good opportunity to get any shots.  Second, looking all the way down the south branch, I couldn’t see any sign of activity.  Since I had a limited amount of time before Nancy and I were planning on heading out, this looked like it was going to be a bust.

So it turned out, I wandered back towards home and we went out.  When we returned in the middle of the afternoon, the bridges by us were just going down.  That many hours would have been a disappointingly long time to wait.  Maybe next week.