Meditation on Selfies

I’ve never been good at selfies. I get the angle wrong, you can’t see the background, the final photo is often one of me looking startled, and well, not my best. And these days, as I get older, I’m rarely satisfied with pictures of myself. I’m fine with the aging thing (well, mostly – rather be less stiff in the morning) but photos, and selfies especially seem to highlight that process. Pro tip: sunglasses and a smile always help.

Selfie culture is interesting. I recently watched one young person take a series of selfies as he was walking along the street, apparently randomly. I guess one of those ended up on SnapChat, the latest in a series of pics that show his best side to his friends and followers. But I don’t want to sound like I’m 100 years old.  I’ve heard those over 50’s (and some younger ones) moaning that no one asks anyone to take pictures anymore. So what? I like selfies. I think they’re fun. They make me laugh, and I love to laugh!

Lisa Neale is a brilliant selfie taker. You can see a lot of them on her Instagram account and she’s even taken some good ones of me! I’ve tried to emulate her, but I got so frustrated with my apparent lack of ability with selfies that I looked up some tips. Most of it seemed to be directed at bloggers or people who want to be Insta-famous. Uh, that’s not me. But I do want friends and family to have fun scrolling through my feed.

On a recent vacation, my partner and I had great fun taking selfies and trying to get them right. I stopped being self conscious in front of other tourists and we took tons until they looked OK.  Me holding the phone, her pressing the button.

We may have finally got it! Teamwork really is better.

Riding Around Town

img_2518I unlocked the Sobi bike, threw my work bag in the basket and set off. Last week, I used our Hamilton Bike Share network (aka Sobi) to get from school to school for some visits. It was amazing! I love riding my bike, but I didn’t imagine that it would be so fun. The combination of a beautiful day, riding around a city I love, and seeing staff hard at work for our students made for a great experience.

I have a wonderful job. It’s hard sometimes – some days I really need to go home and cocoon on the couch. But mostly it’s exciting and interesting. Oh, and did I mention that the schools I work with are in downtown Hamilton, a very bikeable city, so getting around is quite easy?

Last Wednesday was also International Walk (or Roll) to School Day and I wanted to participate. Any little way I can reduce air pollution and be active seems like a good idea.  But I had school visits. Earlier in the week, I had seen Principal Mary Finstad biking to and from and meeting, skirt, helmet and all. So, why not ride?  I am a regular user of Hamilton Bike Share, although usually on weekends. It was fun to plan to use it on a work day. I parked at the first school, got permission to leave my car there for most of the day and headed out after my first visit. No athletic clothes necessary – I was riding Amsterdam style in my work outfit. The Sobi bikes are modelled after Dutch bikes, so you’re not competing in the Tour de France, you’re just bopping around town. I stopped for a coffee then on to the next school. Visits over, I biked back to the hub near my car and then off to my office for a meeting. Pretty great.

What about you – have you ever considered walking or riding to school or work?

That Metre Can Save My Life

I was one happy cyclist this past September 1.  Ontario passed a series of amendments to traffic laws that are intended to make the roads safer for cyclists:

Photo Credit: kohlmann.sascha via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: kohlmann.sascha via Compfight cc

  • All drivers of motor vehicles are required to maintain a minimum distance of one-metre, where practical, when passing cyclists on highways;
  • Persons who improperly open or leave opened the doors of motor vehicles on highways face increased penalties (commonly known as “dooring”).
  • The fine for non-compliance with bicycle light, reflector and reflective requirements will increase; and
  • Cyclists are permitted to use lamps that produce intermittent flashes of red light.

I know that these rules depend on cyclists following the rules themselves. This summer I rode with a couple of people who made me super nervous. They wove in and out of traffic, didn’t signal turns and didn’t stop for lights or signs. That’s the way to make motorists angry and, more importantly, get seriously injured or worse. I’m a driver too, so I understand how hard it can be to see cyclists.

When I head out on the road with cars and trucks, I am entering dangerous territory. I can’t count the number of times I have been squeezed against the curb by a vehicle who thinks I only need a little room. It is terrifying to be buzzed by a two ton car when you’re exposed on a little 10 kg bike with some lycra between you and the road. I really appreciate it when drivers give me the metre.

I hope that we can all share the road. And if you drive and don’t cycle, maybe you should get out there and give it a try!

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