Terii’s Cycling Babble

Of Voles and Lenses
September 18, 2014, 5:10 am
Filed under: Day Rides, Misc

Things are rolling on.

I broke my ‘every other day’ streak thanks to a bit of a cold. Jens still really wanted me to go ride, but I was congested enough that a short walk with the dog left me breathless. The idea of cranking up a hill like that… (shudder).

I went for a ride on the 14th. Loke’s been full of energy after most rides of late, so I decided to take him for something a little further. Given how long since we’d done the Ulva/Gamla Uppsala loop, I decided to do that one. Not hugely longer than the 10-12 miles we’ve gotten from time to time, but at least some miles in the middle that we’ve not seen in a while.

It was a perfect day. Flawless blue skies lacking even jet trails to marr the azure dome above. The temperature was ideal for a ride with the fuzzy and I could actually walk faster than the wind it was so calm. I wasn’t the only one out to enjoy the amazing day. There were road cyclists speeding along in their spandex everywhere on the roads.

Then there was an incident that took the shine from the day and the smile from my lips. We were making the approach to Disa Gården when Loke suddenly perked up and tried to pull us into a wild charge. Just 30 yards or so in front of us a small furry creature was skittering across the road. A vole!

Delight became horror as a car suddenly swerved around me to pass from behind. I watched it bearing down on the helpless little critter, sick in the knowledge that if the car had been able to stay on its side of the road it would have been fine.

Somehow, the tire missed by fractions of an inch. If something as big as a car hits something as tiny as a vole, it’s going to be obvious. Still the vole tumbled and laid still.

Sick in the stomach, I rolled to a stop by it and got up. It was kind of curled on its back. I gave it a nudge. It slowly rolled to its feet and sat there. Another nudge. It wobbled in circles. Not a good sign though perhaps it was only stunned rather than truly injured.

Feeling completely helpless and guilty besides, I looked around as cars arrived, backing up in both directions. I didn’t really care. Finally I picked the poor thing up with as great a care as I could, both to avoid getting bitten and hurting it. I went down into the weeds at the ditch to gently tuck it in a sheltered hollow made of the plants there. Still feeling quite bad about the whole thing, I returned to the trike and went on, having done what I could for the creature.

Still, it bothered me for most of the evening. Not knowing if it had survived and gone on its luck blessed day or if it had expired from shock or some internal injuries. Only the second time I’ve seen a vole and I might have been a contributor to its death.

Not a happy thought.

I arrived back at the storage with 13.6 miles and a heavy heart.

Monday was a rest day for Loke and I. It was also a day Jens and I finally broke down to get a replacement camera lens. We’ve been waffling over our choices since the last time the old lens acted out. We wanted it settled since our trip to Bornholm is fast approaching. I would have been an unhappy camper if we arrived at Bornholm with so much for me to see and have the close range lens die.

We went with a slightly higher end lens, one that will be perfectly useable on an camera upgrade once we decide to replace the current Canon. It has a bit longer range on the close end, meaning photos of buildings with little distance will be more difficult, requiring stitching overlapping photos more often.

It wasn’t until we got it home that I realized what a monster it is compared to the old lens. Over twice the size and weight of the original. No way it can fit into my handlebar bag if it’s connected to the camera. No how am I going to ride around with lens and camera in different areas. I would at least like a chance to photograph something like deer or such as I ride around. If I had to fumble around with assembling the lens to the camera, that can’t happen. The critters would be long gone… except for snails.

I pulled out my old camera bag and camera with lens just fits. Snug as a tailor made glove for it to lay in the bottom. That’s a bit disappointing as it’s not as convenient to pull it out from the bag slug over my seat as it is from the handlebar bag, but such is life.

Monday, I was also feeling the first effects of the cold. Sore throat with ear aches. That night I slept poorly, waking up with gritty eyes combined with the previous days discomforts. Needless to say, I didn’t go for a ride though it meant breaking my ‘every other day’ streak. I’ve broken it a couple times before, but by going for rides for two days in a row rather than two rideless days in a row.

Yesterday (another stunning one though with puffy clouds), I decided to go to the American Food store, dragging the trailer along. I added distance to that though, by heading for the City Forest. Loke was pretty sluggish for most of the time. He perked up a bit once we reached the forest. Jens called while we were there, which gave Loke a real boost. I think he believed Jens was somewhere in the woods and he had to find him! He was pulling so hard against his harness in collar, his breath rasped.

Thankfully, he settled down by the time we emerged and started rolling down toward the city center and the river.

We arrived back at the storage with 13.5 miles.

Both of those rides, Loke’s barely given any indication of arthritis. Always great!

I took a few photos with the new lens yesterday as well. Not sure I’m thrilled with it. It could be I just need to get used to the settings.

Lens Test

Lens Test

This is a photo I took of Loke while playing with the lens. There’s a method of taking portraits which blurs the background to make the subject stand out better. This is what I came out with. Loke looks nice and the scenery blurs, but the trees on the upper left have a peculiar look. It’s as if they were badly cropped out of another photo and pasted in. Not pleasing at all.

Really makes me nervous about keeping it.

Supposed to be another nice day. I might go out for another ride because I hope to do laundry tomorrow. Riding so much, I have to do lots of laundry to keep my limited cycle clothes clean! Of course, if I do laundry, I don’t have time to go for rides so if I want to keep riding at least every other day, I need to do a two-day-in-a-row cluster.


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