My Nishiki Landau as courier bike

by Raymond Parker on November 3, 2015

in Cycling, Events, Photography

My Nishiki Landau, a friend for 36-years, has been collecting dust in a corner of the studio for a couple of years.

As described in my last belated post, I’ve mostly been riding my old Rocky Mountain Blizzard, sometimes to support photo shoots; recently, to distribute posters advertising a photo exhibition, which began yesterday (see details above) in Victoria’s James Bay. I asked old blue if she’d like to be dusted off and be my courier bike for a day.

Postering in James Bay

Postering in James Bay

A little air in the tires and and a pannier for the posters — one of the originals bought for a 1981 bike trip across British Columbia — and we were off across town. From James Bay to Chinatown, we went, stopping at poster poles (if that’s what they’re called), camera shops and notice boards to spread the word.

Camera shop promo

Camera shop promo

As per the poster, the official opening of the “Transitions” show is this coming Sunday, November 8, from 3-5pm. If you’re around, stop by the Heron Rock Bistro (#4-435 Simcoe St. Victoria, BC (entrance on Croft St.), for music and snacks … and a look at my photos.

The images are drawn from my vintage Vancouver archive, up to some recent photos made on forays around Victoria and along the west coast. If you can make it (on opening day or otherwise — the show runs into the new year) and if you carry a smartphone, make sure you have a QR code reader. Title cards include a code that will link you to stories behind some images.

China town posters

Chinatown posters

Speaking of smartphones, the one pictured below was smashed by a not-so-smart owner who in haste put it on the roof of the car while loading camera gear for a shoot. A sickening crunch accompanied the slamming of the trunk. The phone had slipped into the space between the hatch and car body. Amazingly, it still functioned, but the glass casing, front and back, made it almost impossible to use. Consequently, the photos accompanying this post were some of the last made with that device. I sprang for new iPhone 6s, with 12mp iSight camera.

More haste, less speed

More haste, less speed

If you wish to RSVP, you can do so via the Facebook event page. That way we can make sure there’s enough munchies to go ’round! :)


Confessions of a lapsed bike blogger

by Raymond Parker on January 14, 2015

in Autobiography, Blog, Photography


shoot by bike, 2015

It’s been nearly two years since I wrote a blog post for VeloWeb, or updated other content.

Here are some of the reasons for my absence:

  • Diminishing returns. From a high of 10,000 unique visits a month, a Google algorithm tweak in 2012 cut traffic to VeloWeb by a third. Just like that. I guess Google’s bots decided this site sucked. In turn, this meant ad revenue also took a hit. Returns on ads are modest, but they paid for hosting. Thank goodness this site wasn’t the source of my income, or employment of others, as was the case for many sites hit by the update. After 2 years of neglect, VeloWeb traffic now hovers around 3,000 visits per month.
  • Diminishing interest. There are a good many excellent bike blogs on the Interwebs that examine the minutia of the latest bicycles and accoutrements — review sites, really. As I’ve mentioned here before, I’m not a gear freak. I like quality machinery that gets the job done. Though I worked for years in the bicycle trade — and perhaps that explains my aversion — talking bike tech actually bores me to tears.
  • Diminished cycling. The disaster that cut short my long-distance cycling hobby required a response that would assuage the need to see scenery passing by. I bought a new car. The horror! The first month of my fall from grace included a trip to the Yukon, traversing part of a route travelled years before by bicycle. I carried my old trekking bike on a roof rack as campsite transportation.
  • Personal issues. Without turning this into a confessional (there are also plenty of sites in the blogosphere that trade in confessional writing), I lost my father in 2013, which precipitated a long period (ongoing, really) of internal examination — Who am I? What am I doing here? What are my priorities?

The answer to the last part of that existential query didn’t include churning out regular blog posts for VeloWeb. I’d burned out. In fact, my days didn’t include any kind of writing or creative output for a long time. The muse had disowned me.

Shoot by bike, 1984

Where I’m going

Recently, I’ve focussed, so to speak, most of my attention on my other passion and long-time career: photography. I’ve launched a new website,, where I now agonize over the poor quality of my photographs and avoid writing about camera gear! :)

I have found, by way of some of my “vintage” photographs made under much more difficult financial constraints than I face today, inspiration to tell the stories behind my work, as well as to pursue some new images. I’ve already redirected some posts, formerly gathered here under the tag “pictures and stories.”

It is this last fact that has helped me return to the bike, if only occasionally, to make short trips carrying my camera gear to locations, a practice I used three-decades-ago to discover the subjects for my Eighties Vancouver portfolio. As we know, the bicycle is still the best way, next to walking, to appreciate one’s surroundings.

The photograph that heads this post was made on one such recent foray, with an old film camera, inherited from my grandfather.

I hope those who have enjoyed my photographs here will join me in my new home on the Web. It’s possible I’ll also update some of the content on VeloWeb, in 2015. Happy New Year, by the way!

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In my haste and diversion, I almost forgot today is Earth Day. How easily we are distracted, by our troubles and our fancies, from our duty to tend our garden. Perhaps that is the best place to start, close to home. This morning—a glorious blast of spring—I noticed the riot of colour outside my city […]

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Handling bad weather with winter cycling gloves

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Even as we transit spring, towards summer, it’s not too late to discuss winter cycling wear. Local weather over the last few weeks has prompted the question Do I carry sunblock, or sou’wester? The “Wet Coast” climate is arguably harder to dress for than colder, drier areas, doubly for exposed extremities, especially hands. Dry cold, […]

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Thoughts on the bike

March 25, 2013

The sky was dark at noon, hidden by roiling charcoal clouds. Thunder rumbled, it seemed, from the depths of the shadowy forest. I battled an angry headwind, laced with stinging rain.

Nineteen years ago now, on a solo 2-month tour, I found myself, or rather had ridden myself onto, a winding, unpaved section of the Alaska Highway, between Teslin and Swift Current. […]

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