single frame: New old barn

New old-style barn

New old barn
Canon PowerShot S95

I took a 25-mile bike ride recently. I’m toying with doing a multi-day bike tour late this summer, and I need to both train for it, and also see what it’s like to take long rides on a 35-year-old bike as a 53-year-old man. I discovered that the wide, springy seat on my Schwinn is comfortable on a long ride. I also discovered that my lower back starts to ache at about mile 20. I’m going to see if raising my handlebars helps with that.

My route took me up the Michigan Road for about 4½ miles. Here the road is US 421 and therefore a fairly busy highway. The tour I am considering will be all along a highway, so I want to build familiarity with riding on them.

I slipped my Canon PowerShot S95 into the little bag that hangs off my seat. I have passed this barn a number of times while driving by, but never really studied it before. Doesn’t it look like a new barn built in an old style? I didn’t photograph this barn as part of my 2008 survey of the Michigan Road, but Google did for Street View. Have a look here. It looks like this is an old barn with a new skin. I don’t know anything about barn preservation but this seems like a cool way to go about it to me.

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27 responses to “single frame: New old barn”

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Interesting. My seat is already pretty padded but this might take it to the next level. But I really think the problem is the handlebars are too low.

  1. Khürt Williams Avatar

    Jim, I think you are the second photography blogger to mention bicycles this week. It must be a summer trend.

    I have not ridden a bicycle in decades, not since I was a child. I know that I am out of shape (round in the middle is a shape, though), and I want to get more exercise, but I am just not motivated. Especially as the outdoor temperatures are now between 31-34ºC, it’s hot and humid here in New Jersey.

    But … we have bikes in the basement. Ones we bought for the kids. I really should see what it’s like for a nearly 55-year-old to ride a ten-year-old bike a SHORT distance.

    The style of this barn is similar to the Case-Dvoor Farmstead in Flemington, New Jersey. The property has a cluster of 19th- and early 20th-century barn that I would like to explore more. I think this style of barn is Germanic.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      It isn’t a ton of fun to ride when it’s 90 and above outside. You’re cooled somewhat by cutting through the air, but the minute you stop, the buckets of sweat come.

  2. Roger Meade Avatar
    Roger Meade

    That does look like an old barn. Are board and batten barns a thing in Indiana? I don’t recall ever seeing one in Michigan, and we lived in farm country for more than 30 years. The siding is in real good shape, so you may be right about the reskinning.

    One thing I have noticed is that a certain area will have a predominate style of barn. One area near us had a lot of bow roof barns, but they were unusual in most other places around us. I’m sure some of that is dictated by the type of crop or animal being raised.

    Riding country roads is very pleasant but you still need to keep safe. I highly recommend very bright clothing. We recently drove up on three bikers on a two lane not far from home. Two were easily visible in bright shirts, the third was nearly invisible, wearing black riding gear, riding against dark green trees and shadows as a background.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I know little about barns as a committed city boy. When I did my Michigan Road survey in 2008 I should have documented barns as well as the churches and cemeteries I found, as they are key to the roadscape. But I just didn’t really even notice them, so out of touch was I with the rural landscape.

      Thanks for the reminder about riding safe. I generally wear khaki shorts and t-shirts when I ride; I’m not into the whole bike-gear thing. I’ll make sure my shirts are bright!

    2. Andy Umbo Avatar
      Andy Umbo

      I second Roger here. I used to ride a lot, and been thinking about buying another bike again, but the amount of accidents in the city now, with people just running red lights at will because the cops can’t keep up with the crime, is amazing! One of the things I’ve also noticed in the last ten years, is the amount rural bike/car road accidents! Wisconsin is a big biking state, and people are getting hit and killed on rural roads all the time! I would certainly wear bright clothing, and regardless of laws, I would ride against the traffic on the far edge, so it would be easy to see coming towards you that are too close!

      The proclivity of the rural population to be more likely to drive incapacitated, and to pay little attention to traffic laws and drive substandard vehicles; has resulted in a lot of rural accidents, and bikers can be the target. There’s been stories of half-drunk drivers, in run down pick-up trucks, mowing down half a group of riding club people in broad daylight! Rider beware!

      1. Jim Grey Avatar

        I was hit on my bike once, when I was about 17. I was riding to work and a car brushed me and sent me flying. I was a little skinned up and sore, and my pants tore — I was fortunate it was not more serious.

        My plan is to ride US 40 across Indiana. Except in Terre Haute, Brazil, Indianapolis, and Richmond, the highway is not busy at all because all of the traffic is on nearby I-70. I’m most worried about riding through Indianapolis, not just because of traffic but because of crime. Those are some terrible neighborhoods I’ll be riding through.

        1. Andy Umbo Avatar
          Andy Umbo

          There are certainly some very dangerous neighborhoods in Indianapolis, worth skirting around, but interesting to note, that Indianapolis is in the list of top ten safest bicycling cities with a low accident count!

        2. Jim Grey Avatar

          For real? All the years I lived there, out in the old suburbs, I hated riding around as it felt so unsafe! No bike lanes, narrow old country roads.

        3. Andy Umbo Avatar
          Andy Umbo

          Safety might be based on fatal bike accidents per 1,000 of population, and if there aren’t many bike riders period, it could be low; but my impression when I lived in Indy was that it was a pretty big biking town!

  3. J P Avatar

    It is good to see at least one old barn refurbished. I wonder how it is used?

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I don’t know, but it does look like it gets used.

  4. Michael Avatar

    It’s definitely a new skin and shingles. I didn’t know you could still get that style of shingle. I wonder why they didn’t paint it since it will wear faster au naturel.

    When I was riding my bike to work, I mounted flashlights that had a blink mode to my helmet (red facing the rear). I may look silly but there was no way someone could say they didn’t see me yet still had a couple times where drivers were oblivious to their surroundings and pulled out in front of me. Also wore an orange vest with reflective tape when it was darker. Of course, if someone is reading their phone or paper while they drive…. :/

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Perhaps it’s sealed? The wood has a sheen that suggests it.

      I’m going to be doing this tour in broad daylight so I should be okay as long as I’m wearing bright enough clothes. Though a reflective orange vest might still be a good idea.

  5. Reinhold Graf Avatar

    Nicely framed :)

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Thanks! I wanted to get it straight on, but the sun washed it out when I did that. I wouldn’t have thought of this angle otherwise!

  6. puneybones Avatar

    This is such a nice, clean shot.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I scrubbed it down fresh just before posting it! ;-)

      1. puneybones Avatar


  7. ronian42 Avatar

    This has got me thinking about digging my bike out again. Last year I put new tyres and tubes on it and used it ………once! But I have been considering it again of late. Scotland is considerably cooler – temps currently around high 60’s low 70’s (great for developing black and white films!). Sadly can also be wet. The road/traffic situation is a real big worry for me. I used to cycle more but I’m largely lacking in confidence now at 55. I drive a car show shouldn’t be lacking in said confidence. Maybe this is the kick in the butt I need to get out and about on 2 wheels again 🙂🙂 🚲 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿📷📸

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I hope you will try it! It is a little daunting to ride in traffic so I do understand your reticence.

  8. brandib1977 Avatar

    It’s funny you should mention bicycles. I interviewed the owner of a bike shop in Chillicothe this week. I’m writing a feature about him for the bank’s blog and learned a ton about the world of bikes. Fun stuff! I hope you get to do your big ride.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Small bike shops are fun. The bigger ones look a little askance at people like me who ride vintage gear. But the small shops usually embrace it.

      1. brandib1977 Avatar

        This is a small shop and the guy that owns it just loves bikes. Period. He’s good with vintage bikes but like all bike shops, he’s not a fan of big box store bikes. Personally, I would love to have a great vintage bike.

  9. Daniel Brinneman Avatar

    Jim, A trike recumbent with suspension might be better for your bad back. And you can carry more. I don’t own one. Too expensive. Look for a used item and get a tall orange flag so people see you.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      My back is actually fine for its age. I just need to raise my handlebars a little, and also use better form, e.g., when I pedal for speed, use only my legs. I don’t plan to buy a new bike for this trip.

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