As usual, I woke up early the next morning. I assumed, no one had pressed the red button, or if they had, Nova Scotia had been spared. I got dressed and grabbed my camera to go out and do some shooting. I knew I’d have a few hours before Lori and Chris were up and ready to go out for breakfast.

Despite gray skies and heavy fog, I set off on my bicycle back toward town. On the way to the motel, the night before, I had noticed a side road that looked liked it would lead to the coast where I would surely find some photographic fodder. I was not disappointed. The road led to a harbor of weather beaten buildings and derelict boats. For these subjects, the less than ideal weather, worked in my favor, adding a sense of foreboding and mystery.

As the sun rose in the sky, the fog began to lift. Satisfied with the images I had made, I was ready to head back to the motel. The great thing about touring on a bicycle is that you can stop the moment something catches your eye, like orange fisherman’s gloves hanging from a clothes line. As I was taking the shot from the side of the road, a woman appeared at the screen door, looking a little puzzled. I lowered my camera and pointed to the gloves. She stuck her head out the door, looked at the clothesline, nodded in acknowledgment and went back inside.

I stopped once more to photograph two men laying fish out to dry and two other men talking next to a forklift. While the people I meet were gracious they all seemed a bit melancholy.

Later, while having breakfast at a restaurant we learned that four teenagers, two boys and two girls, had been swept out to sea the night before. The couples had climbed out onto the rocks at Forchu lighthouse to watch the waves during the height of the storm. All four were from Yarmouth and had just graduated from high school.

Being a small town, the tragedy struck Yarmouth hard. Much of the population was related in some way to one of victims or had known at least one of them. Suddenly, we felt out of place, vacationing in a town in mourning. We decided to return to Bar Harbor on the next ferry. From there we would head North to Acadia National Park.


King of the Hill, Philadelphia International Bike Race

King of the Hill, Philadelphia International Bike Race in the Manayunk section of Philadelphia.

Let me start off with errors and omissions concerning my last post. Seems like there was a major bank sponsor for The Philadelphia International Bike Race. Since I do not bank there and they did not hire me to shoot it , let’s just say it was a big bank. Secondly, the photo in my previous post was from the woman’s Liberty Classic, run concurrently with the men’s race but a few laps shorter. Now, with a clear conscience, I will continue.

At 9:00 am, my wife, son and I, walked the five block to “The Wall” and staked out our usual shady spot, on a bend, that allowed us a good view of the riders as they began their ascent.

We caught the men riders on their first lap and about 10 minutes later the women, as their race started after the men. My wife and son stayed for two laps then headed down to Main Street to do some shopping between laps. I stayed where I was, knowing that if I moved chances were someone would take my spot. I shot several laps until the sun moved and all my shade was gone. The temperature was over 90 degrees with humidity to match. I was getting uncomfortable, I can’t even imagine how the riders felt.

I walked two blocks to my friend Neil’s house to join the party and meet up with my wife and son. I took photos of his friends and their kids for Neil’s photo album that chronicles 15 years of his bike race party. My way of thanking Neil for inviting us yet again.

After 156 miles in 6 hours, 14 minutes, Matti Breschel of Denmark, won the sprint across the finish line in the closest race ever for this event.

Philadelphia International Bike Race

Philadelphia International Bike Race. Riders attack” The Wall” in the Manayunk section of Philadelphia.

There are two days a year I’d would be rather be in Philadelphia than anywhere else. The first is New Year’s Day. While many people watch football on television while nursing hangovers, we Philadelphians make our way downtown to watch the Mummer’s Parade. The Mummer’s Parade is a day long procession of String Bands in elaborate costumes and magnificent floats, kind of like a one day Mardi-Gras.

The other day I look forward to, is the first Sunday in June (tomorrow) when Philadelphia hosts the top cycling teams from around the world.

The race, now in its 24th year, was always named after a big bank but mergers and losses in the mortage sector, have left this years race without a major sponsor. The race is now simply called The Philadelphia International Bike Race.

In the early years I photographed the race for the original local sponsor. I had a press pass, transportation around the course and I was paid well. That bank is long gone. Now it’s a family outing with my wife and son. I take a camera but without access to the course it’s hard to get good shots of the racers. The constant changes in helmets and cycling attire emblazed with ever changing corporate logos date the images, giving them a short life span for a stock file. I’ve let go of the angst, shoot what I can and just try to have fun.

Our friend Neil lives in Manayunk, only one block from the infamous Wall. Each year he opens up his house and patio for a bike race party. We use to live on the same street so it’s good to see some of our old neighbors again, some we only see once a year at Neil’s party.

We socialize, drink beer and eat burgers from the grill until we hear the helicopters overheard, telling us it’s time to stroll over to The Wall to watch the riders’ arduous accent. Then back for another beer or another burger and watch the race on T.V. until we hear the helicopters again.

If you plan on visiting Philadelphia to watch the race get here the day before or take public transportation. Septa’s R6 Norristown train will drop you off right at foot of the Wall. It will get crowded, very crowded, especially after Noon. If you have a car, park it! Do not even try to drive anywhere near the race course! Take public or better yet ride a bike!