Riding Clipped In: Baptism By Fire, But Feeling Well Satisfied
Raging Stream Small stream runs bit more vigorously after the storms -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 75mm — 1/50 sec, f/7.1, ISO 1600 — map & image datanearby photos
Raging Stream
Small stream runs bit more vigorously after the storms

Having done a short excursion riding while clipped to the pedals, yesterday I set off on a longer mountain ride to really give them a workout.

昨日のサイクリングは、特別靴使って、靴とペダルは繋がったままに乗りました。

I didn't have any trouble at the beginning, except at the very beginning when it took me about 10 seconds of trying to clip in before I realized that I hadn't taken the cleat covers (to make walking down to the bike easier) off. Doh!

The ride ended up being 54km (33mi) with 1,190m (3,900') of elevation gain. This is pretty mild for me, but it was my first real ride in more than a month, so I was happy to take it easy to shake off the cobwebs.

Once I got into the steeper climbs, I could definitely feel an advantage to the shoes... energy that I had apparently been using to keep my feet squarely on the pedals was now available on the upstroke to help propel me forward. I wasn't trying to do this... I could just feel it happen naturally.

We had some pretty intense storms blow through recently, so the mountains were pregnant with water. All the rivers were raging and so they were beautiful and they made a nice cool breeze, but the water flowing from the mountain at all sides made the roads wet and slippery.

Swimming Upstream cascades of water flow down the street -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 49mm — 1/400 sec, f/2.7, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Swimming Upstream
cascades of water flow down the street

For normal roads, this wet and slippery was an issue only when going down a steep grade, and didn't really matter otherwise except for getting me wet. I mention this to foreshadow that I eventually moved to roads so abnormally-steep that my wheels were slipping even when going up slowly. But that's later.

Anyway, the first climb of the day was 350m to Kyomi Pass, then down through the mountains and up another 150m to Mochikoshi Pass. Just over that pass comes a nice place to rest and see a little village down in the valley below...

The View Yesterday without my polarizer filer )-: 昨日の景色、偏光フィルターなしで。きれいではない。 -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 75mm — 1/160 sec, f/7.1, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
The View Yesterday
without my polarizer filer )-:
昨日の景色、偏光フィルターなしで。きれいではない。

This photos just screams HEY, YOU FORGOT YOUR POLARIZER FILTER MORON!, because I did. I've posted many examples of how a polarizer filter can help bring out the true color of something, such as this post last year, so I should know better.

So to make amends, I'll dip into my photo archives from the only other time I rode this route, when I did have the polarizer...

View With a Polarizer from last June 偏光フィルター有り(6月の写真) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 75mm — 1/125 sec, f/5, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
View With a Polarizer
from last June
偏光フィルター有り(6月の写真)
Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/320 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos

That ride on June 4th was with Gorm and Kumiko.

Because Gorm has returned to Norway it's been too long since we've seen his smile, so here it is from that trip...

We Miss You Gorm -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 75mm — 1/200 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
We Miss You Gorm

The short ride down the eastern side from Mochikoshi Pass is really steep (upwards of 14% at times), so I took it very slowly, using only my rear brake. Being clipped into the pedals was on my mind, as I wouldn't be able to quickly compensate for any kind of slip. It was iffy once or twice, but I made it down in one piece.

Going back to the June ride, here's a shot of Gorm on a bridge at the bottom...

From June 6月から -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 28mm — 1/320 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
From June
6月から

The original plan for yesterday was to do half of a Heart Loop ride, and if so we would now head back toward Kyoto, but Sakura-san was in the mood to do more climbing and to explore new roads, so we headed farther up into the mountains, on a road that I'd also taken last June.

It was a particularly pretty road last June, I thought...

June / 6月 -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 65mm — 1/125 sec, f/5, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
June / 6月

It started nice enough yesterday...

Yesterday / 昨日 -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 38mm — 1/80 sec, f/7.1, ISO 400 — map & image datanearby photos
Yesterday / 昨日
Abandoned Building I wonder what it was -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 25mm — 1/80 sec, f/7.1, ISO 3200 — map & image datanearby photos
Abandoned Building
I wonder what it was

However, the deeper into the mountain, the worse the road got...

Typical Scene Yesterday / 昨日 -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 49mm — 1/125 sec, f/7.1, ISO 2500 — map & image datanearby photos
Typical Scene
Yesterday / 昨日
Scarred Guardrail scarred along the way from towering trees falling across it time and again -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/125 sec, f/7.1, ISO 1600 — map & image datanearby photos
Scarred Guardrail
scarred along the way from towering trees falling across it time and again
Runoff gravel/dirt left on the road by recent massive rains -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/125 sec, f/7.1, ISO 2000 — map & image datanearby photos
Runoff
gravel/dirt left on the road by recent massive rains
Very Rock-Strewn Area -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/200 sec, f/7.1, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Very Rock-Strewn Area
Steep Climb Last June きつい坂登り -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 50mm — 1/320 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Steep Climb Last June
きつい坂登り

The last 1.7km (1 mile) of the climb averages a 10.5% grade, but at times it's steeper, and with the wetness and general slippery-mossyness of the road, it was quite precarious going up. For long stretches the drive wheel would slip a bit with each downstroke of the pedal, before catching and moving me a bit forward.

The ability of the wheel to grab the road was at the border between good grip and no grip. If I were to hit a spot where the wheel fully spun under the bike as I put my weight into pedaling down, my forward movement would immediately stop and I'd have only a split second to put my foot down to stop myself from toppling unceremoniously over.

I didn't necessarily have confidence that I could unclip my shoe from the pedal as quickly as I might need, but I never found out... I made it to the top.

Nearing the Top the road is a river 昨日、終点の手前 -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/320 sec, f/7.1, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Nearing the Top
the road is a river
昨日、終点の手前
End of the Line pavement stops here / 車道の終わり picture from June / 6月の写真 -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 30mm — 1/125 sec, f/2.8, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
End of the Line
pavement stops here / 車道の終わり
picture from June / 6月の写真

Where Gorm is standing in the photo above from last June is where I'm standing in this photo from yesterday:

Standing In a River 昨日、道の終点は川みたい -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 44mm — 1/80 sec, f/7.1, ISO 3200 — map & image datanearby photos
Standing In a River
昨日、道の終点は川みたい
Sakura-san Swims Upstream to join me at the top -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 29mm — 1/80 sec, f/7.1, ISO 250 — map & image datanearby photos
Sakura-san Swims Upstream
to join me at the top
Instagram Moment -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 29mm — 1/125 sec, f/7.1, ISO 640 — map & image datanearby photos
Instagram Moment

We headed back down.

Chestnuts Littering the Road 栗いっぱい -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/160 sec, f/8, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Chestnuts Littering the Road
栗いっぱい
“ Artsy ” -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/125 sec, f/8, ISO 400 — map & image datanearby photos
Artsy
Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 31mm — 1/125 sec, f/8, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos

Not quite the same caliber of artsy as on the June ride. For example:

Gorm June / 6月 -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 67mm — 1/125 sec, f/2.8, ISO 250 — map & image datanearby photos
Gorm
June / 6月
Kumiko June / 6月 -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 75mm — 1/125 sec, f/2.8, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Kumiko
June / 6月

Did I mention that the area can be really steep?

Here's a picture of Paul Barr in this area on a visit in 2011 that produced Deep In The Mountains Above Kyoto’s Kumogahata Village among others...

in the area in four years ago / この 周辺、 4 年前 -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24mm f/1.4 — 1/200 sec, f/1.8, ISO 640 — map & image datanearby photos
in the area in four years ago / この周辺、年前

This is one of the few pictures where I think I captured a sense of the steepness. I'm not very good at that, as I noted in another blog post from that day's outing, A Photographic Challenge of Monumental Scale.

In this next picture from about the same location looking down the road, you can see a side road leading off to the left....

Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24mm f/1.4 — 1/80 sec, f/4, ISO 1600 — map & image datanearby photos

I'd been wanting to explore what was on that road, so yesterday we did.

The road that leads off the main road starts over a bridge of suspect quality....

Bridge To Places Unknown -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/125 sec, f/7.1, ISO 3200 — map & image datanearby photos
Bridge To Places Unknown

Then it goes up and up and up. Not only is it steeper than anything I'd yet done today, at times the road was more or less washed out, leaving deep rocky haphazard ruts where the road should be.

As I'm slowly trying to power myself up this lunar landscape, I remind myself that if it gets too difficult I can't just stop and stand up... I have to either keep going at all costs, or plan for the few moments needed to unclip my foot from the pedal....

... or, I could just hit a deep rut that makes the bike go a different way than momentum carries my body, and fall over into the mud. Yeah, that sounds like the best option.

Oops やっぱり倒れた。 -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/40 sec, f/8, ISO 3200 — map & image datanearby photos
Oops
やっぱり倒れた。

Well, I wasn't planning on that.

I really wish I could capture just how steep this is. It looks like it's flat in the photo above. Even in this next photo taken later, looking back down after Sakura-san had walked her bike up and was now walking it back down, it looks mostly flat...

Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/30 sec, f/10, ISO 3200 — map & image datanearby photos

I didn't want to give up so I got right back on and continued on up. I was a bit surprised that I could clip in on the extreme slope. Perhaps it was more luck than not.

I continued for another 100m of vertical rise until the steepness/slipperiness factor was just too much, and I gave up.

Like a Frozen Slide viewed from the bottom -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 40mm — 1/60 sec, f/8, ISO 1600 — map & image datanearby photos
Like a Frozen Slide
viewed from the bottom
Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/60 sec, f/8, ISO 3200 — map & image datanearby photos

Crazy steep, but again, I just can't capture it.

I returned to where Sakura-san was waiting, and she snapped a photo for me...

Evidence of Fall #1 photo by Mone Sakura -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/50 sec, f/8, ISO 1600 — map & image datanearby photos
Evidence of Fall #1
photo by Mone Sakura

We headed back toward Kyoto, but popped back up to Mochikoshi Pass. I didn't want to push too much (more) on my first ride in a month, so I headed home while she continued on.

Back in the city I seemed to have hit just about every red light. It made for good practice clipping in and out. Even though most times when the light turned green I was able to clip in immediately on the first try, I was surprised every time I did it. I have the feeling that it'll be one of those things that has good days and bad, and that yesterday was a good day.

I wish I hadn't fallen, of course, but at the same time I feel a strange sense of relief having fallen and not really hurt myself beyond a scratch. Stress from the unknown has been taken away, a bit. As a bonus, no one was around when I fell (it would be a minute or so before Sakura-san came pushing her bike up), so it remains my dark little secret.

Continued here...


All 4 comments so far, oldest first...

Sorry that you had the fall but did you find yourself unclipped when it happened? When I first started using clipless pedals, I had the same concern. However, whenever I had I bad moment, I found that I had unclipped without realizing it. My problems were usually when coming to a gentle halt without thinking about unclipping prior to getting enough experience to be ready.

I don’t recall how I became unclipped, so I suppose whatever it was didn’t eclipse my attention from having fallen onto the rocky path. So far the gentle-halt thing hasn’t bitten me, but I won’t be surprised if it does because already I’ve been surprised how easily I forget about being clipped in. —Jeffrey

— comment by Rob Edgcumbe on September 4th, 2015 at 2:43am JST (1 year, 11 months ago) comment permalink

偏光フィルターさすがです。

— comment by Gentu Uozumi on September 4th, 2015 at 5:27pm JST (1 year, 11 months ago) comment permalink

Maybe she’ll read your blog: not so secret. 🙂

— comment by Anne on September 7th, 2015 at 1:26pm JST (1 year, 11 months ago) comment permalink

This was superb! I like your colograding and bokeh 🙂 Can you tell what lenses did you use for this baptism photography set? Thank you, best regards.

The camera info is under each photo… in this case, they’re all taken with a Panasonic LX100, which I bought specifically for cycling. —Jeffrey

— comment by Fotograf nunta brasov on April 10th, 2016 at 2:39am JST (1 year, 3 months ago) comment permalink
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