Reports of My Demise Have Been Greatly Exaggerated
A Beautiful, Peacful Place where I've been trying to imagine myself lately ( a deserted road near this place ) -- Higashiomi, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 24mm — 1/400 sec, f/6.3, ISO 6400 — map & image datanearby photos
A Beautiful, Peacful Place
where I've been trying to imagine myself lately
( a deserted road near this place )

So, my web site was down for a few days. Sorry about that.

It doesn't happen often, but this time was a doozy. The ISP hosting my server went bankrupt, and by the time I found out, my server was sitting dead on the floor of a warehouse.

How I've Felt Lately another of the wisdom kings at the Ushio Kannon Temple (牛尾観音) -- Ushio Kannon Temple (牛尾観音) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/25 sec, f/2.5, ISO 6400 — map & image datanearby photos
How I've Felt Lately
another of the wisdom kings at the Ushio Kannon Temple (牛尾観音)

I've got to say, though, I'm actually very thankful.

My web hosting has always been free, a kind, ongoing gift from a former coworker at Yahoo!. Even though we haven't talked for a decade, he's let my server sit in his business and occasionally burn up some of his support staff's time. I've never had to pay for bandwidth, or even think about bandwidth. For perhaps 15 years. I'm so very thankful.

I'm thankful that my brother Steve dropped everything to help me set up an empty virtual server at Amazon Web Services, where in this situation help me is used euphemistically to mean did everything. I looked into it as a backup a year ago, and the configuration was just too daunting for me to comprehend.

I'm thankful that I had a backup of my system, and that it was up to date. Crashplan doesn't officially support headless clients like I'd need on a remote server, but they tell how to do it and it works, and works well. I was able to restore 50+GB of stuff in about an hour. It seems that both Crashplan and Amazon have fast pipes.

My Cup Runnith Over ( please ignore that “ my cup tippith over ” is probably a more -appropriate caption for this photo ) -- Daichiji Temple (大池寺) -- Koka, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/400 sec, f/5.6, ISO 5600 — map & image datanearby photos
My Cup Runnith Over
( please ignore that my cup tippith over is probably a more-appropriate caption for this photo )

After setting up my work environment on the new system, and restoring the bulk of things from backup, I then had to set everything up. This is a bit like collecting stuff from a tornado-ravaged house to set up shop at an empty cabin across the street. I had to relearn how to do all the system-administration tasks, moving as I did from Debian to Amazon. Amazon's yum package management system seems easy enough to work with ("YUM" stands for "Yet Uh-nutha' Manager"), and is nicely populated with packages, though it took me a while to figure out yum list installed.

I had to re-figure out how to configure the main pieces of my server solution (Apache, MySQL, wordpress) and get them to work together. After doing that, I had to do it all over when I had to bite the bullet and grade major versions.

After that it was checking things and correcting the bazillion little things that needed to be re-installed from somewhere, reconfigured, or retwiddled. I'm sure as many more wait to be discovered.

Loose Ends I'm sure there will be many ( at the Daichiji Temple (大池寺), Shiga Japan ) -- Daichiji Temple (大池寺) -- Koka, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/400 sec, f/2.5, ISO 1800 — map & image datanearby photos
Loose Ends
I'm sure there will be many
( at the Daichiji Temple (大池寺), Shiga Japan )

The worst part of the whole thing has been having to deal with email via a web page. I've used emacs to read email for over 30 years, and I'm used to it, but with my machine crashed, I had to revert to interfacing via a web page. Ugh.

In the end I think I've got almost everything back to normal, and in hindsight I'm amazed at how smoothly, relatively speaking, it all went.

One casualty of the move is my (now disabled) Online Image Metadata Viwer. It got a fantastic number of accesses each day, but most were scrapers using it, it seems, to try to access other sites anonymously. I went to great lengths to try to shut this kind of use down, but enough gets through that I just can't risk the bandwidth, now that I'm going to have to pay. I have no idea what kind of bandwidth I used to use, nor how much that would cost now. I guess I'll find out soon enough.

Potato Boy because potatos -- Nantan, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
iPhone 6+ — 1/1800 sec, f/2.2, ISO 32 — map & image datanearby photos
Potato Boy
because potatos

Meeting my Match on a Long Iga-Nara-Osaka Cycling Adventure

I had quite the little cycling adventure yesterday, venturing into some areas I'd never been, and facing the most heinously-steep road I'd ever seen. The total distance was 191km (118mi), making it my 7th-longest ride ever. This blog post, mostly as a diary for myself, is almost as long.

The distance was no problem, but as it seems with many of my longer rides, lack of time management does me in and I have to kill myself to get back in time for something (in this case Saturday-evening Mass).

The outline of this ride was simple... head down to Iga City, a place I'd never been, because, well, I'd never been there. Then cut across to Nara (which I'd cycled to once, last month), then from there across to Osaka Castle.

By the time I got to Osaka Castle I would have had 140km (87mi) of mountainous riding, but then the return home would be all flat, mostly along nice cycling paths. I've blogged about that 51km (32mi) Osaka-Castle ride a few times, here, here, and here. I thought that even if the ride thus far had tired me out, the flat return taken at my leisure would be no problem. Sigh, if I could only plan better.

Anyway, I knew it would be a long day, so I planned to take it slow and steady.

Hitching a Ride relaxing at 47kph (29mph) on National Route 1 8:00am -- Otsu, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Cycliq Fly12 — map & image datanearby photos
Hitching a Ride
relaxing at 47kph (29mph) on National Route 1
8:00am

I felt a bit cheap as I blew past the cyclist seen in the photo above (a screenshot from my bike's front video camera) as I was drafting the truck. I was far enough back that I could easily react safely to anything the truck did, but close enough that the draft effect was huge. Even at 40~50kph, I kept having to use my brakes to maintain the safety buffer.

The big danger to drafting a truck like this is a danger shared by motorcycles: traffic can't see you behind the truck as you approach them, so someone in a rush wanting to pull across your lane the moment the truck passes could hit you. This wasn't a concern this morning because it was rush hour, and there was an SUV right behind me the whole time. (Maybe it was drafting me! 😉 )

So, despite taking the initial steep descent easy, half of this 6km (3.6mi) segment was drafting, so I set a PR by a minute and a half. (I'd feel bad about the drafting if this were a hotly-contested segment on a different kind of road, but drafting is always inviting on this section of the road, and the segment is not at all hotly contested because it didn't exist until I made it a few minutes ago.)

Soon I was in the mountains. It was cold.

Going for that “ Winter Cold ” Feeling 8:40am - taken while cycling at 22 kph (14 mph) -- Otsu, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/160 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Going for that Winter Cold Feeling
8:40am - taken while cycling at 22 kph (14 mph)

It was about 4℃/39℉ when I left, and only got colder as I went. It was also misty/rainy.

Evidence of Very Recent Rain 8:40am - taken while cycling at 19 kph (12 mph) -- Otsu, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/125 sec, f/2.2, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Evidence of Very Recent Rain
8:40am - taken while cycling at 19 kph (12 mph)

I don't have many photos from the early part of the ride because I didn't want to stop to take them. (What I do have was taken on the fly.) Early in the ride while exiting Kyoto, I realized that I had not had to stop since pulling away from home. Normally in the city you'll get caught by a red light or something, but for whatever reason had gotten lucky so far, so I wondered whether I could make it to the castle in Iga City without stopping.

Getting through Otsu (where I was drafting the truck) required some creative on-the-fly re-routes to avoid red lights, but once I got through that it was mostly rural mountain road the rest of the way.

Last Sun for a While a misty sleet started just after 8:56am - taken while cycling at 20 kph (13 mph) -- Koka, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/1600 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Last Sun for a While
a misty sleet started just after
8:56am - taken while cycling at 20 kph (13 mph)
Tea Fields 8:59am - taken while cycling at 27 kph (17 mph) -- Koka, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/125 sec, f/4.5, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Tea Fields
8:59am - taken while cycling at 27 kph (17 mph)

The first 50km of the ride were more or less a mild uphill, culminating at Otoki Pass (御斎峠), after which the road pitches down into a 7% descent for 3.6km. This looked like the kind of descent that I would love, and in planning the ride I thought I might KOM it (King of the Mountain — register its fastest time), but I abandoned that idea when I lost feeling in my fingers. It was freezing (literally, the temperature was 0℃) and he roads were wet. Not my cup of tea. I went very slowly.

I would love to try the descent again when it's warm and dry. Or at least warm. My fingers were killing me.

From there I had to work my way through the city to the castle:

Iga Ueno Castle 伊賀上野城 10:11am -- Iga, Mie, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/125 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Iga Ueno Castle
伊賀上野城
10:11am
Quiet Saturday Morning -- Iga Ueno Castle (伊賀上野城) -- Iga, Mie, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/125 sec, f/4.5, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Quiet Saturday Morning

There were a few folks walking around, and one stall selling something that looked warm and tasty. But the ambiance was destroyed by a loudspeaker playing some kind of welcome to this super lovely place that you should think is super lovely kind of audio, on a loop. For having a culture with such a deep sense of beauty, Japanese sure know how to destroy it.

Anyway, I was pleased to have made the 62km trip completely nonstop, the wheels of the bike never stopping between when I pulled away from home to when I stopped to take the photos above. I'm geeky that way, to find pleasure in essentially-meaningless achievements rooted mostly in luck. My greatest such achievement was doing ⅔ of a loop around Lake Biwa — 125km (78mi) — nonstop, on this ride.

Now that I could feel free to stop, I next did so at a convenience store for a cup of coffee and some lunch (a chicken breast and a junky sweet bread). Then it was off to the city of Nara.

Keep Left it seems that Nara has some set cycling routes that this was part of 11:22am -- Yamabe-gun -- Yamabe-gun, Nara, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 46mm — 1/125 sec, f/3.2, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Keep Left
it seems that Nara has some set cycling routes that this was part of
11:22am
Time To Make the Doughnuts beginning of one of the day's climbs 11:49am -- Nara, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/125 sec, f/5, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Time To Make the Doughnuts
beginning of one of the day's climbs
11:49am

I was happy to start climbing again, to generate some heat, as my fingers and toes were in the midst of a competition to see who could feel colder. I had thick winter socks, thick neoprene toe covers, then my shoes, and then thick fleece covers over those, but still my toes were killing me. I need heated socks, or something.

New and Old? 11:51am -- Nara, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 26mm — 1/125 sec, f/3.2, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
New and Old?
11:51am

The running-kid signboard is a common sight along roads in Japan, reminding (imploring) drivers to go slow for the safety of children. This one looks to be commercially made, but the home-made ones can be quite quaint.

Behind it is something that looks decidedly from another era...

Slightly Creepy -- Nara, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 75mm — 1/125 sec, f/3.2, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Slightly Creepy

This one shows a police officer and a child with a grotesquely large arm. (Children in Japan are taught to raise one arm above their head when they cross the road, to make themselve more visible.)

Below the people there's a slot... perhaps it's also a trash can? Below that, barely visible, are molded letters saying Look Right, Look Left, and below that is an advertisement for Crazy Motor Works Mikai.

Which Should I Take ? 11:55am -- Nara, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 32mm — 1/125 sec, f/2.5, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Which Should I Take?
11:55am

Between the cities of Iga and Nara are some mountains that I would be crossing at Mima Pass (水間峠). At the pass there's 830m (half a mile) tunnel, or intead one could take the original road up and over that the tunnel bypasses. Along that short stretch of originally road is essentially nothing except one small garage-like building.

The above photo represents a situation I see often, but don't fully understand. Someone clearly intends to block off the road, but two of the three signs say the road farther ahead is closed to traffic. (The third sign is about fire safety.) I can understand putting a sign here to warn of a dead end, but why put the barriers here if the road is not closed here?

Secondly, these are put up by the local neighbored association. Do they have the right to take exclusive control of a public road? This is Nara Prefectural Route 80, not Mima Village Private Drive. And it's not like a small village is trying to prevent through traffic from destroying their ambiance. There is nothing along this stretch of road except for one garage-like building, and at one point access to a farmer's tea field. Why does someone care about blocking traffic on this road?

Finally, what does the sign really mean? The thing being prohibited is 通行, normally translated as passage through or simply traffic. Depending on context, this word can apply to all forms of transportation, including pedestrians. It's used on the sign in the cycling Keep Left photo above, there meaning simply travel/movement. When this word is used on a sign to mark a one-way road, it also applies to bicycles, but not to pedestrians.

In this specific context, I think it refers only to motor vehicles. I don't know why they would want to prohibit motor vehicles on this public road, so I can't really justify why I think they don't mind bicycles and pedestrians, except that they didn't use the completely unambiguous and common No Entry! (立入禁止). Had they used that I would not have taken the road less traveled, but they didn't, so I did.

Up and Over 11:57am -- Nara, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/125 sec, f/5, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Up and Over
11:57am
The Only Building on the entire road (with enough fire wood to last years) -- Nara, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/125 sec, f/2, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
The Only Building
on the entire road
(with enough fire wood to last years)
Mossy, but Passable Mima Pass (水間峠) 12:00pm - taken while cycling at 10 kph (7 mph) -- Mima Pass (水間峠) -- Nara, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/125 sec, f/1.7, ISO 320 — map & image datanearby photos
Mossy, but Passable
Mima Pass (水間峠)
12:00pm - taken while cycling at 10 kph (7 mph)
Mima Pass (水間峠) -- Nara, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/125 sec, f/2.2, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
“ Nara Prefectural Route 80 ” -- Nara, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 32mm — 1/80 sec, f/2.2, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Nara Prefectural Route 80
Nice View -- Nara, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 75mm — 1/200 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Nice View

The bypass road exited the forest and joined to the main road for what would have been a lovely descent except for the screaming headwind on this side of the mountains. It would be with me for much of the rest of the day.

I made my way into Nara, to have lunch at Manma-tei, a curry place run by a cycling family, famous among cyclists. I'd met the owner when we were both extras in a cycling-related movie last month, and visited soon after when Manseki brought me on my first trip to Nara.

Photographing Despair at a closed “ Manma-tei ” (まんま亭) -- Nara, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/200 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Photographing Despair
at a closed Manma-tei (まんま亭)

It's apparently normally a mad house on a Saturday, but today they were closed for unknown reasons. Not long after I arrived, this couple showed up having ridden from Kobe and seemed to be positively shocked to find it closed. The first thing out of the guy's mouth would be literally translated as lie!, but with his tone of voice, the more culturally-realistic translation is closer to no $&@#ing way!. They spent several minutes just exchanging such comments between themselves as they tried to come to grip with the reality that they'd have to make different plans.

In the short time before I left, three other cyclists showed up. I guess I'm not the only one to have not checked the web site. Oh well. I had plenty with me. I gave the couple above some tasty sweet-potato bean-paste energy gunk snacks, ate some myself, and headed off to Osaka by way of Nara Park...

Arrogant Deer can't even be bothered to use the crosswalk Nara Park (奈良公園) 12:46pm - taken while cycling at 17 kph (11 mph) -- Nara Park (奈良公園) -- Nara, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 46mm — 1/500 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Arrogant Deer
can't even be bothered to use the crosswalk
Nara Park (奈良公園)
12:46pm - taken while cycling at 17 kph (11 mph)
Crowded much more so than this time I visited -- Nara Park (奈良公園) -- Nara, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 75mm — 1/160 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Crowded
much more so than this time I visited
Kindly Posing with the selfie-taking girl -- Nara Park (奈良公園) -- Nara, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 70mm — 1/125 sec, f/4.5, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Kindly Posing
with the selfie-taking girl

I wanted to get some deer poop (chocolate-covered peanuts labeled as deer poop) for Anthony, but forgot. )-:

Passing by Nara Station, I paused for a bit to watch a drum/dance performance.

Performance to the famous Shima Uta ( listen ) -- JR奈良駅 -- Nara, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 65mm — 1/500 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Performance
to the famous Shima Uta (listen)
Waiting Their Turn -- JR奈良駅 -- Nara, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 41mm — 1/125 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Waiting Their Turn

I knew the road from Nara to Osaka would bring me over a really really steep climb, and I was both looking forward to adding that notch to my belt, and also somewhat scared of it.

It was very tough and very steep, but at one point I thought it wasn't so bad, until I finished and realized that I hadn't even reached that climb yet... I was on a nameless different climb with an average grade of only 14%, and for only 600m.

I wasn't sure what to expect for the real climb until I descended out of the forest and saw this across the valley:

Abandon Hope All Ye Who Enter Here -- Ikoma, Nara, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/1000 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Abandon Hope All Ye Who Enter Here

I didn't shield the lens well from the sun, so the photos are all washed out, but across the little valley was another mountain with roads that looked like they went more or less straight up:

Washed Out -- Ikoma, Nara, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 75mm — 1/200 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Washed Out

As I said, the photos perhaps don't show it well, but this scene struck terror in me. I posted a blurry iPhone version of this photo to the Cycling Kyoto! group on Facebook, with a caption Shit's About to Get Real. It's an impressive, imposing sight.

The road through the rice fields right of center is the one that stands out the most at first glance, but that's not The Climb, that's a shorter climb that I would not do this time, but that's now on my list to do sometime.

The climb I would do is more than twice as long, tracing the fold in the mountain that runs up the center of the photo. It's the eastern ascent to Kuragari Pass. I had somehow heard of this place and its ridiculous climb, so it had been on my list to visit.

Before starting that climb I had to finish the descent from the little bump I had done. This part of town had a lot of doughnut streets...

Super Steep -- Ikoma, Nara, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/200 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Super Steep

New streets beyond a certain grade have to have some kind of anti-slip feature, such as grooves or, commonly, these ring-shaped indentations. Lots of streets in this area had them.

I didn't know the details at the time, but The Climb I was apprehensive about turns out to be 2.9 km (1.8 miles) at an average grade of only 11%. This is a very steep average over such a long distance, but comparable to some climbs closer to home, such as this. Had I known the details I wouldn't have been so apprehensive, and it turns out that I had no trouble with it. I took it easy and slow.

Plodding Up source of the smoke seen in the “ Washed Out ” photo above 2:11pm - taken while cycling at 7 kph (5 mph) -- Ikoma, Nara, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 25mm — 1/200 sec, f/7.1, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Plodding Up
source of the smoke seen in the Washed Out photo above
2:11pm - taken while cycling at 7 kph (5 mph)
Looking Back with an over-the-shoulder shot 2:13pm - taken while cycling at 6 kph (4 mph) -- Ikoma, Nara, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/1600 sec, f/7.1, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Looking Back
with an over-the-shoulder shot
2:13pm - taken while cycling at 6 kph (4 mph)
Again a few minutes later 2:19pm - taken while cycling at 7 kph (5 mph) -- Ikoma, Nara, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/800 sec, f/7.1, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Again
a few minutes later
2:19pm - taken while cycling at 7 kph (5 mph)
At the Top Kuragari Pass (暗峠) -- Kuragari Pass (暗峠) -- Ikoma, Nara, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 35mm — 1/125 sec, f/2.5, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
At the Top
Kuragari Pass (暗峠)

The rock has the name of the pass engraved on it. I've seen photo of cyclists posing in front of it, so I know I've heard about this area before. The climb wasn't nearly as bad as I had expected.

Selfie of Success -- Kuragari Pass (暗峠) -- Ikoma, Nara, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
iPhone 6+ + front camera — 1/120 sec, f/2.2, ISO 50 — map & image datanearby photos
Selfie of Success
Looking Down on the Pass from a scenic toll road that passes by with the road I took emerging from a tunnel at the bottom -- Kuragari Pass (暗峠) -- Ikoma, Nara, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/125 sec, f/5, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Looking Down on the Pass
from a scenic toll road that passes by
with the road I took emerging from a tunnel at the bottom
Looking Back Toward Nara -- Kuragari Pass (暗峠) -- Ikoma, Nara, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 75mm — 1/125 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Looking Back Toward Nara

I had crossed over all the mountains seen in the photo above, since Iga City is beyond it all. The strip of mountains in the center of the photo is where the false climb was. Toward the right, at the foot of that strip of mountains, is a big water tower with two electric towers behind it. The Washed Out photo was taken from just in front of those towers.

Very Unfriendly Road a short (60m) section at the top was almost unridable -- Kuragari Pass (暗峠) -- Ikoma, Nara, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/125 sec, f/3.5, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Very Unfriendly Road
a short (60m) section at the top was almost unridable

So, it was time to head down toward Osaka and home, but I thought since I was in the area, I may as well turn around at the bottom and do the climb from the other side as well, just to get them both checked off my list.

Now, before I go on, I have to stress that I like to test myself on steep roads. Really really steep. It perhaps started with the short 21% Nasty, and the 32% section here. I often go out looking for new, disgustingly-steep roads, such as I did the other day, or here, and many other rides. I look for the steepest I can find, and ride it. Maybe slowly, but I ride it.

All that being said, nothing prepared me for the horror of this descent. After leaving the pass the road slopes down briskly for a short while, then pitches down like a death drop slide at a water park, and just keeps plummeting down. This descent is unrelenting, averaging 18% over 2.1km (1.4mi).

First Hint of a View as the road plunges back into darkness in the far background -- Higashiosaka, Osaka, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 65mm — 1/125 sec, f/3.5, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
First Hint of a View
as the road plunges back into darkness in the far background
Near the Bottom -- Higashiosaka, Osaka, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 75mm — 1/320 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Near the Bottom

What horrified me about this descent was not the descent, but thinking of it as an ascent. Had the road been wet the descent certainly would have been horrifying (like the one described here), but as a climb this road felt unreal.

There were multiple sections where the grade exceeded 30% for more than 50m. Any one such section buried in a mild section of road somewhere would turn that climb into a local monster, but these were tied together by 20% and 25% sections. The middle 1.1km of this climb averages 21%, bookmarked by milder sections that themselves would be considered beyond extreme to many cyclists.

I'd never seen such unrelenting steepness before, and the thought of climbing it scared the hell out of me. The unrelenting steepness over such a distance made it feel an order of magnitude worse than anything I had ever attempted. 10 times worse.

I felt mentally scarred and paralyzed by the thought of it, but forced myself to turn around at the bottom and head back up.

It was worse than I thought. I simply couldn't do it. I had to stop and rest, and did so for a couple of minutes. But then the problem was how to get started again... it's not easy to clip the shoes back into the pedals on such a steep grade, but with trouble after a few tries I could do it and continue up.

But it didn't last long. It was just too much for me. For the first time ever in my cycling life, a climb was too difficult for me to even finish. I gave up.

It turns out that I got almost half way before failure engulfed me.

Feeling utterly defeated, I headed back down and then plodded across the vast urban expanse of Eastern Osaka.

Finally Arriving Osaka Castle (大阪城) 3:53pm -- Osaka Castle (大阪城) -- Osaka, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 75mm — 1/125 sec, f/5, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Finally Arriving
Osaka Castle (大阪城)
3:53pm
Obligatory Selfie -- Osaka Castle (大阪城) -- Osaka, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
iPhone 6+ + front camera — 1/800 sec, f/2.2, ISO 32 — map & image datanearby photos
Obligatory Selfie
Again With the Nicer Camera sans self -- Osaka Castle (大阪城) -- Osaka, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 41mm — 1/125 sec, f/4, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Again With the Nicer Camera
sans self

The headwinds and the extra attempt to climb the mountain had put me an hour behind schedule, and I had two hours to make what I had planned to be a relaxing three-hour ride home.

Start of the Bicycling Path Kyoto is 50km ahead, with what looks like rain -- Osaka, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 44mm — 1/500 sec, f/2.8, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Start of the Bicycling Path
Kyoto is 50km ahead, with what looks like rain
Chasing My Shadow 4:20pm - taken while cycling at 23 kph (14 mph) -- Osaka, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 26mm — 1/125 sec, f/3.5, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Chasing My Shadow
4:20pm - taken while cycling at 23 kph (14 mph)

The wind was strong from my 10 o'clock, but at least not gusty. I should have been able to average 30kph (19mph), but it kept me down to about 25kph (15mph), further putting me behind schedule. The need to rush made this the worst, most-punishing part of the ride.

Still More than an Hour Until Home 5:19pm -- Hirakata, Osaka, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/100 sec, f/2.8, ISO 3200 — map & image datanearby photos
Still More than an Hour Until Home
5:19pm

I got home just before 6:30, threw on some clean clothes that I hoped would mask the smell my body had been cultivating all day, and made it to Mass not all too late. I tried not to sit close to anyone.


A Deeply-Red “Wisdom King” at the Ushio Kannon Temple
“ Ragaraja ” Ushio Kannon Temple (牛尾観音), Kyoto Japan -- Ushio Kannon Temple (牛尾観音) -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/200 sec, f/2.5, ISO 6400 — map & image datanearby photos
Ragaraja
Ushio Kannon Temple (牛尾観音), Kyoto Japan

I made another visit to the hard-to-reach Ushio Kannon Temple, which I wrote about a couple of months ago, but this time I went by car and took my nice camera. The beautiful, rich matte red of this dimly-lit statue caught my eye...

愛染明王 -- Ushio Kannon Temple (牛尾観音) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24mm f/1.4 — 1/100 sec, f/2, ISO 3200 — map & image datanearby photos
愛染明王

I don't know anything about Buddhism, but this statue is apparently of a Wisdom King named Ragaraja, a dharmapala deity that is known to transform worldly lust into spiritual awakening, according to Wikipedia.

Visually it's quite interesting, and was one of many in a small, dimly-lit hall.

To be continued...


Benefits of Cycling #27: Freeing Yourself from the Coffin of Electronics Our Modern Lives Have Become
The Wide Open Road Awaits near Onyu Pass (おにゅう峠)north of Kyoto, Japan -- Takashima, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 70mm — 1/320 sec, f/6.3, ISO 320 — map & image datanearby photos
The Wide Open Road Awaits
near Onyu Pass (おにゅう峠)north of Kyoto, Japan

Ah, the wide open road, one of the great benefits of cycling, getting away from the stress of the city and immersing oneself in nature, freeing oneself, at least temporarily, from the coffin of electronics that our modern lives have become.

Cycling lets you leave the electronic shackles behind, and connect with nature and friends.

Whether Cycling Alone... at Mt. Norikura (乗鞍岳) (Japan's highest paved road) -- Mt. Norikura (乗鞍岳) -- Takayama, Gifu, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 24mm — 1/250 sec, f/6.3, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
Whether Cycling Alone...
at Mt. Norikura (乗鞍岳)
(Japan's highest paved road)
.. Or with a Friend... -- Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 41mm — 1/200 sec, f/3.5, ISO 640 — map & image datanearby photos
.. Or with a Friend...
... or Two -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/125 sec, f/5.6, ISO 250 — map & image datanearby photos
... or Two
... or Three -- Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
iPhone 6+ — 1/125 sec, f/2.2, ISO 32 — map & image datanearby photos
... or Three
... or 100 -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
iPhone 6+ + front camera — 1/120 sec, f/2.2, ISO 40 — map & image datanearby photos
... or 100

Don't get me wrong.... hiking can be great, as can motorcycling. Both get you away from the rat race, but cycling seems to hit the sweet spot. You can see a larger variety of different scenery than you can on foot, yet you're still raw with nature, unlike when on a motorcycle.

But the biggest benefit may be in freeing your mind from all the modern hassles, leaving all the electronics behind.

Well, except a light... you should have an electronic light.

One Bit of Electronics Not to Ditch for safety, to be seen -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/125 sec, f/2.5, ISO 6400 — image data
One Bit of Electronics Not to Ditch
for safety, to be seen
Okay, One More arguably more important than the first -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/320 sec, f/4, ISO 5000 — image data
Okay, One More
arguably more important than the first

I'm pretty anal about safety, so I run with lights on the front and back at all times, even during the middle of the day. So, I do have to make sure that their internal batteries are charged before every ride.

Actually, in my case, my bike's shifters are electronics, so I need to make sure they're charged as well.

Shimano Di2 Front Derailleur -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/320 sec, f/2.5, ISO 5600 — image data
Shimano Di2 Front Derailleur
Shimano Di2 Rear Derailleur -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/320 sec, f/2.5, ISO 5000 — image data
Shimano Di2 Rear Derailleur

It's not fun when the derailleurs run out of battery, as I found out on a 225km ride last month. The entire Di2 system is charged via a control box under the handlebar stem:

Shimano Di2 Control Box and the SM-EWW01 wireless unit piggybacking below -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/320 sec, f/2.5, ISO 2200 — image data
Shimano Di2 Control Box
and the SM-EWW01 wireless unit piggybacking below

The problem when the battery ran out, I realize now, was that the wireless unit takes a lot more battery than the unit itself. Without the wireless unit, the battery lasts for months, but with it, weeks. I'd added it just prior to that long ride, and hadn't yet realized just what an electronic toll it takes. So now I make sure to charge its battery much more often.

The wireless unit transmits the current status of the derailleurs to my cycling computer, which I guess is another bit of electronics I rely on...

Garmin Edge 820 cycling computer -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/320 sec, f/2.5, ISO 2800 — image data
Garmin Edge 820
cycling computer

Now that I think about it, I do need to bring my phone with me just in case...

Pretty Much Required for communication and mapping in case of troubles -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/320 sec, f/2.5, ISO 2800 — image data
Pretty Much Required
for communication and mapping in case of troubles

... and going along with that, so I can be alerted to messages and such...

Apple Watch vibrates on the wrist so I can be alerted even if I can't hear -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/320 sec, f/2.5, ISO 800 — image data
Apple Watch
vibrates on the wrist so I can be alerted even if I can't hear
Sunglasses Need a Good Charge or they wouldn't be very good as sunglasses, would they? -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/320 sec, f/2.5, ISO 800 — image data
Sunglasses Need a Good Charge
or they wouldn't be very good as sunglasses, would they?

I need to write up a post on these sunglasses (CTRL One), which can instantly convert between tinted and mostly-clear, at the touch of a button. I find them very useful because I can maintain eye protection (from bugs, raindrops, etc.) even when plummeting down a mountain in dark forest shade.

I Usually Bring a Camera either this Panasonic LX100 or a Nikon D4 -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/320 sec, f/2.5, ISO 900 — image data
I Usually Bring a Camera
either this Panasonic LX100 or a Nikon D4

And while we're on the subject of cameras, as both a kind of insurance and just to have the cool footage, I like to have cycling cameras on both the front and back...

Rear Camera Cycliq Fly6 -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/320 sec, f/2.5, ISO 1800 — image data
Rear Camera
Cycliq Fly6
Front Camera Cycliq Fly12 -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/320 sec, f/2.5, ISO 1800 — image data
Front Camera
Cycliq Fly12

These Cycliq products are poorly thought out, poorly designed, and poorly supported, but they more or less work and don't have any competition in this product space, so I guess it's the best I can do.

In the photo above the camera and cycling computer are attached to the bike with a K-Edge mount that I wrote about recently, about how it broke under stress and how K-Edge came through. Since writing that post, another copy of the same mount failed in the same way. I wrote back to the company, but haven't heard anything for more than a week. Sadly, I guess the trust the mount had regained is lost. I'm no longer using it.

And to continue with speaking of disappointing products, I currently use two products by Wahoo, but they're both pretty bad.

Wahoo Speed-and-Cadence Sensor horribly designed; already broken -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/250 sec, f/4, ISO 6400 — image data
Wahoo Speed-and-Cadence Sensor
horribly designed; already broken

The Wahoo Blue SC speed and cadence sensor seems like a great product at first. It's both ANT+ and Bluetooth, which is super convenient. It's the only one I know of that can talk to both my iPhone and my cycling computer at the same time. But it's got the most moronic design.

It attaches to the bike with a big rubber band. The band hooks to one side of the unit more or less permanently, is stretched around part of the bike (the non-drive-side chainstay), then hooks back onto the unit on the other side. This is a common way of attaching stuff to a bike, but the way Wahoo implemented it is fantastically bad because they put the hook side facing in, so you really can't get at it without taking the wheel off, and even then it helps to have small hands. Then, to make matters worse — much worse — the more or less permanently attach point is anything but... the band barely fits into the tiny shallow notch, and immediately pops out the moment you put any strain on the band (such as when trying to attach it to the bike), unless the planets are aligned just so.

If you are able to get it to stay as you stretch the band, you've then got to figure out how to get the band to the rear of the unit, something that would perhaps be easy in the best of conditions (inside a workshop with the bike mounted and the wheel off), but it's the mother of all frustration out on the road. I would never try to work with this unit within earshot of my parents or child.

Luckily my parents and child don't often ride with me, because one needs to deal with this piece of crap out on the road from time to time because the band has a habit of just popping off for no apparent reason. I ended up adding twist ties as backup attachment, just to keep it from getting lost, and this has saved it a number of times. But even with the band and the twist ties, it's still a hot mess... it has to be positioned within fairly tight tolerances, but the poor mount deign makes it easy for it to slip out of alignment. I even used some Dycem (amaaaazing stuff) to keep it from slipping, and it helps, but Wahoo's bad design trumps all.

I truly can't believe that they actually tested this design in the field, using real human cyclists. It's an unfathomably-bad design. It's a gratuitously-, wantonly-bad design.

But that's okay, I won't be using it much longer. The speed sensor has recently stopped working for no apparent reason. I can hear the leaf switch close when I bring the magnet near, but the data never makes it out of the unit. It's a piece of crap.

And along the same lines, the Wahoo heart-rate sensor is also poorly designed.

Wahoo TICKR X heart-rate sensor -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/320 sec, f/2.5, ISO 3200 — image data
Wahoo TICKR X
heart-rate sensor

Plastic has broken off both ends of the strap, in a way that seems to be inevitable given its stupid design. So far it's still working as a heart-rate sensor, but given that Wahoo apparently has no problem selling stuff whose basic design is so very bad, I don't think I'll ever buy one of their products again.

At least I don't have to recharge these two Wahoo products before each ride... they work off small batteries that last about a year.

I'm an ultra data geek, so I don't want to lose the data for my ride if my cycling computer has issues. So, I also record my rides on my phone using the most-excellent Galileo Offline Maps app. (The app is great, though Apple dorks activity tracking on their phones.)

As a further backup, I also record my rides with a separate stand-alone GPS/GLONASS unit:

Bad Elf GPS PRO+ it's not very accurate , but better than no backup -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/125 sec, f/8, ISO 6400 — image data
Bad Elf GPS PRO+
it's not very accurate, but better than no backup

And finally, with all these things with batteries that can run down, on long rides they can need a boost, so I often bring along a spare battery:

Extra Battery to top off my phone, cycling computer, lights, cameras, etc. -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/320 sec, f/8, ISO 4000 — image data
Extra Battery
to top off my phone, cycling computer, lights, cameras, etc.

I used to have a power meter, which also needed to be recharged, but it was so inaccurate that I returned it, so at least I have that going for me.

Okay, so other than all that stuff, cycling frees you.

Of course, you have to be able to recharge it all, so you also need a basket full of chargers and cables. Here's the floor of my hotel room during my Norikura trip earlier in the year...

Home Sweet Home for an electronic rat -- Pension Norikura (ペンソンのりくら) -- Matsumoto, Nagano, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 24mm — 1/30 sec, f/2.8, ISO 6400 — map & image datanearby photos
Home Sweet Home
for an electronic rat
Cycling at its Best nature... friends... I guess you don't even need a bike! -- Funai-gun -- Funai-gun, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 33mm — 1/200 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Cycling at its Best
nature... friends... I guess you don't even need a bike!
(from Grueling “Rooftop of Kyoto” Ridge Road Gravel Grind)
The Wide Open Road Calls just be sure your battery is charged, or it'll go to voicemail -- Nantan, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
iPhone 6+ — 1/750 sec, f/2.2, ISO 32 — map & image datanearby photos
The Wide Open Road Calls
just be sure your battery is charged, or it'll go to voicemail
(from Some Solo Exploration Beyond Mt. Atago)

Rear Courtyard at the Eigenji Temple
desktop background image of a thached roof at the Eigenji Temple (永源寺) in Shiga Japan -- Roof Detail -- Eigenji Temple (永源寺) -- Higashiomi, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/400 sec, f/2.5, ISO 125 — map & image datanearby photos
Roof Detail
Desktop-Background Versions
1280×800  ·  1680×1050  ·  1920×1200  ·  2560×1600  ·  2880×1800

Continuing on from The Back Entrance to Shiga’s Eigenji Temple the other day, about a trip last week to the Eigenji Temple (永源寺) about an hour's drive from Kyoto, after entering via the rear gate, you find a closed-off courtyard to one side...

Rearmost Courtyard Eigenji Temple (永源寺), Shiga Japan -- Eigenji Temple (永源寺) -- Higashiomi, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 24mm — 1/400 sec, f/7.1, ISO 500 — map & image datanearby photos
Rearmost Courtyard
Eigenji Temple (永源寺), Shiga Japan

You're not allowed inside, but it's still pretty from the gate.

Eigenji Temple (永源寺) -- Higashiomi, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24mm f/1.4 — 1/400 sec, f/9, ISO 1000 — map & image datanearby photos

To give a better sense of the space, here's a wigglegram:

Animatable Wigglegram (15 frames) — slowly sweep mouse from side to side to view 3D effect
写真の上をマウスで左右にゆっくり動かすと「3D」な感じが出ます。
More Roof Detail -- Eigenji Temple (永源寺) -- Higashiomi, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/400 sec, f/4, ISO 180 — map & image datanearby photos
More Roof Detail

To be continued...