Bike Xing

Bike xing
Canon PowerShot S95

My Canon PowerShot S95 was a gift at Christmas in 2010. I can’t believe it just keeps working. Aren’t digital cameras supposed to be fragile, and fail after just a few years of use?

I’ve certainly used mine heavily. I’ve probably made 10,000 photographs with it.

I was still learning this camera’s ropes when a few co-workers and I took a photo walk Downtown. The city had just installed these bike-path markers in the pavement.


single frame: Bike xing


Schwinn Collegiate

Schwinn Collegiate
Olympus OM-1, 50mm f/1.8 F. Zuiko Auto-S
Fujifilm Fujicolor 200

This is my 1986 Schwinn Collegiate 3-speed bicycle. It’s a Taiwan Schwinn, meaning purists look down their nose a little. But it’s sturdy and of good quality. I bet if I compared it part by part with my 1973 Chicago-made Schwinn Collegiate 5 speed, I wouldn’t detect significant quality differences.

I photographed the bike at Washington Park North Cemetery. I use cemeteries as backdrops a lot. I’ve made many portraits of my sons in them, and I shot a series of my bicycles in Washington Park North. I usually don’t show the cemetery bits in shots like those. But tomorrow I’ll share lots of photos from this cemetery. It’s a favorite subject because it’s within walking distance of my home.

Film Photography

single frame: Schwinn Collegiate

Decorative bicycle

Decorative bicycle
Nikon N2000, 35mm f/2.8 AI Nikkor
Kodak T-Max 400

This iron fence and bicycle are on a side street in the Garfield Park neighborhood in Indianapolis.

Film Photography

My bikes

Vintage Schwinn seats
Minolta SR-T 202, 50mm f/1.4 MD Rokkor-X
Kodak Gold 200

Film Photography
Road Trips

The bicycles of Knightstown, on the National Road in Indiana

Knightstown, pop. 2,182, isn’t what you’d call a big town. But it’s the biggest one Henry County has to offer along the National Road, which cuts across the very bottom of the county. It’s a typical Indiana small town, with most buildings fronting the main drag built within 20 years either way of 1900. What makes Knightstown stand out to the person just passing through is the bicycles.

The bicycle planters of Knightstown

Chained to every pillar and post, a basket or tub or pot sits on each one, filled with flowers. Mums, actually, given that it was autumn when I passed through.

The bicycle planters of Knightstown

Each is painted a bright color — not just the body, but the tires, the chains, the gears, the seat, everything.

Bicycle planter

But it’s a clever idea that makes Knightstown stand out.

The bicycle planters of Knightstown

I’ve driven the National Road from its beginning in Baltimore, MD to its end in Vandaila, IL. To read everything I’ve ever written about it, click here.

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1973 Schwinn Collegiate

During my 1970s kidhood, Schwinn was the ultimate bike. Especially the 20-inch Sting-Ray: banana seat, chopper-style handlebars, chrome fenders, bright colors. All the boys in my neighborhood wanted one, especially if it came with the 5-speed Stik-Shift on the crossbar or the “slik” treadless rear tire. My first bike was an old, battered 20-inch Schwinn with a slik. Since its previous owner had removed its model-identifying chain guard, I never knew whether it was a Sting-Ray. I always imagined it was so I could feel cool.

As we kids outgrew our small bikes, brand loyalty drew us toward the bigger Schwinns. I saved my allowance for years, a five-speed 26-inch Schwinn in my sights. I hadn’t saved enough when my old 20-inch bike in no way fit me anymore. Desperate, I bought what I could afford: a maroon 3-speed made by, horrors, AMF. Yet I rode that bike more than any other I’ve ever owned. I figure I put 10,000 miles on it. I wish I still had it. But childhood dreams can eventually come true: a friend recently gave me the 5-speed Schwinn of his teen years, in Sierra Brown. I had it mechanically restored, and from time to time I take it out for a cruise.

Personal, Photography

Captured: 1973 Schwinn Collegiate