Friday, June 26, 2015

The Bicycle Project

My first bicycle photo was taken on a sunny fall day purely by accident.  We were spending a girl's day together. My mother, sisters, daughters, nieces and I had traveled up Highway 31 in search of gift shops, farmers markets and antique stores.  We had stopped at a quaint little shop in what may have been Lapaz or Lakeville or another of the small towns along that way.  I was drawn to the back of the store where an open door led out to a garden full of outdoor statues, ironwork and yard ornaments scattered among autumn's leaves and vegetation.  Leaning against the back fence was this wonderful old bike, half buried in grasses with an old metal watering can hanging from one of its handle bars, faded white seat covered in leaves and rusty carrying rack over the rear wheel.  I imagined someone riding into the garden from errands, having hopped off to lean the bike against the fence for a momentary rest never to return.

Six years later and everywhere I travel, I notice bicycles.  My Bicycle Project was born.   I am intrigued by them and the places where I find them. I have photographed them on the sandy beach of Lake Michigan, in a bar in Seattle and on a cobblestoned street in a tiny Black Forest town in Germany. I have photographed them being used for decoration, for the necessity of travel and for the joy of the ride.  A bicycle leaning against a wall signifies life, a person has been here, is nearby and will probably return.  For many of us our childhood includes bicycle adventures and we pass the ability to ride down to our children.  Bicycles never go out of style.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Sunrise over Chicago

When the alarm clock went off at 3:30 in the morning to rouse us out of bed in the dark, the temptation to roll over and curl back under the covers was very enticing.   The plan was to be downtown Chicago in Grant Park by 5:30 am to participate in the annual Bike The Drive event where they close down famous Lake Shore Drive to automobiles and open it instead to 20,000 people on bicycles.

We pedaled onto Lake Shore Drive at about 5:40 am - ten minutes late of our goal - but in plenty of time to witness the sun rising over Navy Pier and that fantastic lake which fills me with awe time and time again.  This particular morning was certainly no exception.    On any other day of the week, we would be, along with countless others, speeding past this sight in our car - maybe we'd catch a glimpse of the sight and say, "Oh, the sun is coming up" but more important attention would be paid to the traffic and to the maneuvering of our own vehicle along that shoreline strip of pavement.   This time, however, we could stop, wonder, photograph and enjoy the sight.

The old saying, "Red sky at morning, sailor take warning" held true and this was our only view of the sun that day.  By the time we made our ride up to the northern-most stop of the trip, the sky had clouded over and by the time we returned back south to Grant Park, we were damp from the rain.   In spite of the turn in the weather, or maybe because of it, we felt fortunate and blessed for the experience of that sunrise.