Day one : Half Moon Bay

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Crossing the bridge again, heading south, was easier than the other way round : the game was on. I was also riding close to the road and not close to the 20-floors drop to the ocean 😉

And then, I switched from the SF city map, to the first panel of the first map from the adventure cyclist association. That made the moment even more formal 🙂

The route sent me through Presidio and then the Golden Gate parks. Both are really nice and impressive. I just love American parks, like Central Park in Manhattan. They feel natural, are generally huge, and feature various areas, for sports, picnic, museums…

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I keep on being impressed by how much drivers respect everyone. They wait for a bike at a stop, they don’t honk when you block their way through a right turn on red… And they wait all day long, far behind you, to have enough space to take over, and then do so with twice the distance. It feels like a different planet.

The route goes west through the park up until the Pacific Ocean. I had finished my first panel ! Ok it was a zoom in on small areas for the next panel, but making the switch felt like a first victory. Only 200 more to go ! Plus, the route was now following the ocean due south, and that was a great feeling.

After I left the city environment, the landscape looked more and more like the French Riviera. It even smelt like it, with sand and pine trees. But the slopes also started to appear. And I had to use the highway 1, which looked worrying but was really ok as the shoulder is very wide.

Two other cyclists popped up just before a long slope after Daly City. I passed the first one (who quickly went on foot) and kept behind the other one, who dragged me all the way up ! I would never have done it without him 🙂 At the top of the slope, I went to salute him and strike a conversation – which was the real challenge for me. Although it had been made easier as, one hour before at the Subway, I was approached by a very nice blonde who complimented my beautiful setup (the bike setup, of course). Anyway, he told me about them going south to Mexico, and also about not using the tunnel that was looming ahead, but rather the secondary road that was embracing the ocean. It was the former road, totally refurbished for bikes and pedestrians. The view was breathtaking.

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After a few more kilometers of flat terrain, I reached my objective of a Comfort Inn just before Half Moon Bay city, after a reasonable first day of 60 kms. I treated myself with a bath and pizza 🙂 I also went on the beach to make the traditional picture of the bike in the sea, getting run over by a wave in the process 🙂

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Parks to the west of Paris – video

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This is another video test from a few days ago. I was travelling west through the many parks and woods leading from Paris to Versailles.

It’s telling that large parts of these parks simply cannot be accessed because they’re private. On the east of Paris, you can’t access for the lack of useable paths, on the other hand. It’s a shame as all of these parks of forrests are very well tended to, and when you can find a path through them, it’s a great experience.

Another thing I realized again is that we French love perspective. Very long, straight paths leading up to the horizon, from the Champs-Elysées to the gardens of Versailles, are the common marks of french architecture. We love geometry, and we love Nazca-type plans. That might also have been an effect of the state of french towns, which do not, in general, have long straight streets as in the US. People in power maybe wanted to experiment, just like they did when they redesigned Paris.

 

This time I’ve put the camera on top of my helmet. A bit more difficult to focus at the start, but it keeps my ears from being torn apart by the headset. Disadvantage though, the camera is moving a bit and that creates a lot of noise. I need to glue it somehow to the helmet.

Also, no more acceleration, rather some impressionist bits and pieces to recreate the atmosphere of the place. It’s pretty hard to select which part though and reduce it down to a few minutes only. Also, filming while moving remains a challenge : I crossed the path of a small dear at some point, but it doesn’t even show up on screen. I searched for it picture by picture but it was just a bit too far.

All in all, I think I’m getting somewhere. It still needs a lot of editing for every shot, but the result is better.